Oxfam recently reported that 85 individuals control as much wealth as the poorer half of the world’s population, or 3.5 billion people. These startling figures come in the wake of rising inequalities of wealth and income in both developed and developing countries.
Inequality is a hot button issue, but we also know that perfect equality implies a distribution of resources without regard to individual effort or need, which creates its own problems of fairness and efficiency. A more nuanced view of inequality seems needed, as something to be managed rather than abolished, while bearing in mind wider goals like social equity, as well as competitiveness and sustainability. We have therefore framed the special focus of this issue of URBAN SOLUTIONS in terms of “social equity” – including, but not limited to, the topic of inequality.