Income, education, health, gender, climate … The Covid-19 pandemic has further exacerbated global inequalities

This is undoubtedly the biggest challenge of the decades to come: how to reconcile ecological transition and social justice? The French movement of “yellow vests”, triggered in November 2018 by an increase in the carbon tax, underlined the extreme sensitivity of our societies on the subject. Because these are weakened by multiple inequalities, monetary, educational or in access to care, as the Covid-19 pandemic brutally reminded us.

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The new report, published Tuesday, December 7 by the World Inequality Lab (WIL), led by economists Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, sheds new light on these questions, further revealing that the Covid-19 crisis has further exacerbated the capture of global wealth by the wealthy.

“Their degree is not determined by geography or levels of development. It is fundamentally the result of political choices ”, explain the authors of the report.

The result of the work of a hundred economists from all continents, it presents the most in-depth study to date in more than one hundred countries, built from multiple sources, including data from national accounts and tax data. . It complements the first report published in 2017, in the wake of Thomas Piketty’s bestseller, Capital in the XXIe century, published in 2013.

Despite the difficulty in collecting statistics, especially in emerging countries, WIL researchers have built up a solid database on global inequalities (WID.world) in order to compare the heterogeneous situations of different continents. Their new report provides a historical x-ray that captures the disparities in terms of income and wealth since 1820, as well as unprecedented measures of gender inequalities and those linked to carbon emissions.

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If the excesses of financial globalization partly explain the widening of the gaps observed in recent decades, the authors insist on one point: inequalities are not inevitable. “Their degree is not determined by geography or levels of development”, they explain. “It is fundamentally the result of political choices. “ That is to say, the trade-offs made in terms of taxation and public policies, which the ecological transition now requires to be reviewed.

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