Engines of Inequality? Elites, Power and Politics

Engines of Inequality? Elites, Power and Politics



Oh Oh welcome everybody thank you for coming this evening my name is Paul Ladd and I'm the director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development or unrest for those of you that don't know us unrest is an independent research institute in the UN that focuses on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues our topic tonight for this roundtable and for the conference that unrest will host over the next two days is inequality or rather inequalities including the dynamics around elites power we have a fantastic set of presenters and papers at the conference and this roundtable will serve to kick us off I'm not going to make a long speech now about different types and patterns of inequalities how they intersect and reinforced or about the consequences for our societies politics and our environment I'll leave that to our distinguished experts this evening and for our conference but let me just say something briefly about inequalities and the United Nations inequalities have long been a concern of the UN itself the UN system being the agency's funds programs research entities and that has been for many reasons because of the break the income and wealth inequality places on poverty reduction because of unequal relationships between countries for example on trade or finance or the consequences of climate change and most fundamentally because of our mandate on the realization and protection of human rights now generally speaking governments have been less vocal about inequality especially for therm were inequalities in income and wealth have challenged capitalism itself but the consequences of inequalities in this present day emphasized by globalization have become too large to ignore three years ago governments at the UN committed to what they call the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and within that a set of targets called the sustainable development goals this is an agenda for every country and all their populations and it calls remove to sustainable development in its different dimensions environmental social and economic now there is a goal on inequality comprising a mix of national and international actions on incomes of the bottom 40% on equal opportunity and inclusion on trade and migration but perhaps of more significance is the commitment of governments in implementing that agenda to leave no one behind and indeed to reach the furthest away first but to put it simply if there are persistently high levels of inequality or indeed if inequalities are growing the commitment to leaving no one behind rings hollow unrest research is intended to support UN member states their national stakeholders to make progress on their national development processes cognizing that the commitments they've also made together like the 2030 agenda and so this focus on inequalities unrests work on inequalities which has a lengthy tradition is very much in that spirit of helping countries to recognize and address inequalities in whichever form they manifest themselves so before I join you in the audience let me just thank Imogen Fuchs BBC's correspondent in Geneva and our panelists this evening the Unruh steam who put in all the hard work behind the Rhine table and the conference unrests institutional donors Switzerland Sweden and Finland who support allows us to pursue activities like this and the University of Geneva and Professor Ponte them for being our partners and kind hosts tonight and with that let me hand over to the professor thank you very much [Applause] thank you all for being here my name is Jonas Ponte son and I'm professor of comparative politics in this at the University of Geneva this is my building or our building so it's a pleasure to welcome you all here I recently started a five-year research program called unequal democracies and this program explores the political consequences of economic rising economic inequality in liberal democracies so the topics to be explored tonight at this panel are very close to my heart and I'm very excited to be here and I won't take up precious time telling you about myself in my research instead I'm simply going to read well some welcoming remarks that have been prepared by director of our University if flicker gap who unfortunately could not be here tonight due to prior commitments as some of you may know professor flicker is a labor economist and has written a lot on issues about inequality in Switzerland and elsewhere so the topics discussed here tonight and at the unrested conference are also very dear to his hearts so this to his heart so this is what even writes dear colleagues dear students ladies and gentlemen on behalf of the University of Geneva I would like first of all to extend the very warm welcome to all participants to this roundtable in the context of the International Conference overcoming inequalities in a fractured world organized by the UN Research Institute for Social Development as we know today the richest 1% of the population holds half of the world's wealth this situation is doubly problematic from the point of view of equity first of all but also from the point of view of economic efficiency indeed the growth of inequalities observe both at the international level between countries but also within national borders contributes to a developing sense of injustice that encourages the rise of populism undermine social cohesion and can lead to strikes resistance or even violence in so doing these inequalities have an adverse effect on economic growth which is further exacerbated by a decline in overall consumption linked to an increasingly unequal distribution of national income for all these reasons it is now essential to understand the causes of this growth in inequality in order to provide concrete solutions and above all to adopt effective public policies to reduce the social divide how did we arrive at this alarming state of affairs what kinds of fractures has this extreme concentration of wealth brought be the economic political cultural social spatial or environmental and what space is there for progressive change in a context where those in power act to preserve the systems from which they benefit this roundtable organized jointly by the University of Geneva and unrested offers a timely and invaluable opportunity for all relevant stakeholders to share their views on these crucial questions by analyzing the roots of this inequality increase it will also help set priorities for future policy recommendations and priorities our university is very proud to host this roundtable and I really wish to thank you very much for finding a time to come to Geneva to share with us your thoughts and help us understand the reasons for this for the increase in inequalities I strongly believe that we the University of Geneva have an important role to play in this domain as a comprehensive University with humanistic values and proven excellence in a variety of fields of science and also as part of a city that has come to occupy a unique place on our planet for international dialogue and negotiations indeed our university takes pride in the fact that it gives itself and all its researchers who regularly make exciting advances in a variety of scientific fields the means to share this knowledge with society finally I would like to thank Paul lad and capture who – of unrest and youngness pontus and I really didn't do much at all for bringing this putting this panel discussion together and for bringing thought-leaders influence influence shellacked advocates for change to this discussion here I wish you a very fruitful roundtable and an enjoyable stay in Geneva I'm very much looking forward to the results of your discussion thank you good evening ladies and gentlemen I think you think you can all hear me microphone is working first of all thanks I don't see an empty seat this is brilliant a kind of bit of a dark rainy night in Geneva and we've got so many people here it's a fantastic um bit of housekeeping first we're going to debate up until about 8 o'clock maybe time for questions for all of you once we've heard get this out to the litoris I when when we turn to questions we will be looking for questions and points and not long speeches because otherwise kind of eats into other people's time but again welcome to this debate we heard in the introduction there 1% of the world's population controls 50% of the wealth it's a staggering figure and if you look at the wealth gap it married many areas in case it's actually getting bigger which is a pretty damning indictment of the the situation our planet is in today I was reminded of it quite ironically this afternoon because I was wearing my BBC hat this afternoon on assignment a fairly frivolous one which was to go to Sotheby's and look at Marie Antoinette's jewels which they're going to sell for auction next week but it reminded me the inequality can cause some problems we will be looking for solutions this evening that may not be as dramatic as the ones the French see 2-iron chose two centuries ago but we might keep in mind or the 1% perhaps ought to also perhaps go and have a look at two mary antoinette pearls because they survived approved to be more long-lived right I'm going to pipe down now and introduce we have a fantastic panel here for you and I know that they are going to guarantee it's a very lively debate indeed first of all Jomo Kwame Sundaram from Malaysia Malaysian government's group of elders I hear and apparently you are known for your unorthodox approaches to economics it would be very interested here what they are unorthodox unconventional approach let me have Saskia Sassen from Columbia University she's a specialist in global migration issues you've written some very interesting articles on the concept of expulsion which I think we might address at some point during this debate on inequality and finally nyla Kabir London's School of Economics and she is a specialist in poverty and gender politics and again something read very relevant to our discussion this evening so without further ado I have an opening question for all our panelists and I should say that they agreed collectively that Joma would be the first one to answer so no preferential treatment going on here and that is how on earth did we get here we are in the 21st century to this situation we're still we have this enormous gap between the very wealthy haves and the very many have not I think the major changes which have taken place over the last half century or more specifically since the 1980s are often described as bringing about greater market power and I think it's very important to recognize that there has been a concentration of power which has been enabled particularly by changes in laws in regulations in rules in how we live and this has been very very crucial in particular I think the strengthening of what I call intellectual property rights has been crucial to the recent accumulation and concentration of power by the by the most recently rich people so if you think back about the 1980s in the 1980s the richest men because most of these people were men in the world were rich because of oil or because they controlled banks okay but the world has changed today if you look at the people who control who control much who who are the richest people today they have virtual monopolies if not real monopolies all they have a tremendous amount of market power those of you who are old enough will remember the early days of Amazon when Amazon didn't have much of a return to your investment but today of course mr. Bezos is the richest man in the world by far and his strength the strength of his position comes precisely because the kind of business is engaged in does not prohibit his kind of of his practices I'll give you another example which many of you might remember from a couple of years ago a young man entrepreneur named Martin shkreli had made money in finance he bought the patent to a drug the drug was retailing for $13.50 in the US he pushed up the price to $750 Loretta Lynch newly the new Attorney General of the United States tried to prosecute him for price gouging and she couldn't there was no law against browser price gouging the holder of a patent the holder of an intellectual property right could set any price I'll give you another example related to the same issue hepatitis C my country is 32 million people half a million people have appetite is see the current medication would cost somewhere in the region of about 80,000 us for a full treatment 12-week treatment there's a generic equivalent available from the Egyptians for 1000 sorry for for 300 US dollars there's a similar of generic equivalent available from Indians for various reasons the malaysian government chose to go with the egyptian generic equivalent the point I'm trying to make is that what enables many of these people to become rich is completely legal completely legitimate we cannot think about this as something which is illegitimate and this is precisely why the ability of President Trump to appoint two new Supreme Court justices it's probably the far the most important thing which his current tenure his tenure as president of the United States is going to to have not only on for the present generation but for time to come one should not forget of course hard power hard power will continue to be important and this is why you have fleets and President Trump has succeeded in persuading some of the other ruling classes of the world to pay for their protection okay this is an innovation on his part but so one should not underestimate the significance of military and police power but more importantly than that more important than that is soft power soft power in the form of law soft power in the form of ideas soft power in the form of popular culture and how we accept this as perfectly legitimate here do you like to a microphone there I mean I'm just thinking about Jemma said you know have we every missed a trick in terms of not seeing how the world developed I think it's just on actually has it have we missed a trick in not in not anticipating how the world might develop as we see we've had very new businesses operating unfettered because them last century and it really was at the end of a period when we saw crisis perhaps in the north in terms of trade union power wages organized labor and the capacity of technology and globalization and the really to allow capital to you know invest wherever want it and therefore to start innocent weakening the regulations that we could but it has been a very very self-interested and you say very legal um I'd like to talk a little bit about the gender aspect of this and that is when we are being told about the billionaires of the world it's very interesting I think ox fans last figures from 2017 was I think eight the richest people are six of them are in the United States one is from Spain one is from Mexico and they're all men and I don't think you know I think in that we capture inequalities of nationality to some extent ethnicity and race I don't know how the Mexican is counted but they're all white and of course in absence of gender and of course if we reverse our gaze and look at the bottom of the pyramid the color changes a great deal and the gender change is a great deal so we have many many more people at the bottom of the pyramid and they're drawn from these marginalized identities in each country they are drawn from indigenous lower caste black and so on so in a sense the inequalities that we're seeing today are building on old inequalities as well so even as the rich get very much richer middle income groups do enjoy a little bit of increase in their incomes but those at the very bottom have not seen much change so some of those inequalities are happening through concentration at the top and the concentration of poverty at the bottom so I think there's a reason why we should you know kind of be troubled about this because as we know when people feel that there is no stake for them in a society when they feel that there's no you know future violence that's when we get violence and we know from the work on this that the sense of injustice and grievance has been closely linked to violent uprisings and in the past it used to be these indigenous groups you know in India the Naxalite movement has been going for many years and it is the indigenous peoples that are the main you know protagonists in it but now we're also seeing a sense of grievance from a different kind of identity politics and that is the white working-class and white men who feel that somehow some of their privileges are being taken away so one of the very worrying things about ignoring these the importance of people's identities is that you end up pitting people at the bottom against each other so for instance in the riots in India in all communal violence in India it is poorest sections of the poor who are inflicting violence on other sections of the poor and I see in the UK and in u.s. it is the white working-class that are most hostile and most threatened by incoming you know by newly arrived immigrants and so on so all of that is very interesting and worrying and it's part of the dark side of inequalities or the violent side of inequalities but I think gender is very interesting because although there are not that many women in that top 1% of owners they're there you know they're there as wives as mothers as mistresses as ex-wives and so on as daughters and they're there all the way along the class distribution but it's when you get to the bottom of that distribution when gender intersects with these other kinds of identities that you see the most intense forms of exploitation and that you see you know it's the very poorest women who are having to balance trying to earn a living and look after their own children or having to go long distances to look off with other people's children in order that their own children will have a better future so you know the gender angle of it plays out very differently I think you know there may they may be much more violence from marginalized men but far more depression and you know lack of self-confidence the inability to to mobilize amongst women who feel trapped in their kind of roles so I guess one interesting thing that I'm finding is so how do women with any kind of agency how do they react and what I find is because you know the labor market continues to be very segmented very biased against women the only kinds of jobs that they can get you know part-time you know so they can reconcile it with their caring responsibilities is as long as these workplaces are so hostile to women's unpaid responsibilities that we are seeing women voting in a very different kind of way and that is voting with their feet you know there's something called a flight from marriage in many parts of Southeast Asia and so on a bird strike you know people refusing to have more babies and I think you know in Japan I think the facing of a problem of population getting older and older because you know women will not have babies they're trying to persuade them in South Korea with incentives and in Italy so I think there's a very interesting form of a protest going on at the refusal of labor markets to accommodate unpaid work and the refusal of employers to accommodate unpaid work and of course the refusal of men within the families to take a fair share so I think some interesting factors going on thank you neither could be recessed assasin Magna talk there about flight from marriage either one will do we have used Aryan side of marriage flight from from marriage and I know you you must avoid my subject no but you fly I can talk about it I'm not about to do that though I'm thinking specifically of people flight people leaving because their situation is bad trying something elsewhere but often nowadays it actually seems to contribute to the inequality and rather than solving it if I may I was ready to talk in a more sort of thing that and then I'll come to your question about people in flight so on this question of inequality we have always had inequality and so the question is other inequalities that somehow work better than others second point if there is something that marks the current epoch its specificity what is different today because today we have very distinctive forms of producing inequality because inequality doesn't fall from the sky inequality is made right so it's made in a variety of ways and so one issue for me that that I do that I cover a bit in my explosions book is that what we have seen and I would I would mark sort of in most of the west and by that I include Latin America and you know it's not just Europe and the United States let's say it's a broader area it also includes parts of Asia and parts of Africa but I would say that that one thing that that has struck me as a very significant emergent condition is the rise of extractive logics so traditional banking sells money for a price its commerce and we all sort of need a bit of Commerce you know it sort of facilitates life etc high finance which is of course the dominant form today is an extractive sector it does not sell something it has I'd like to say me is a bit of an exaggeration it sells something it does not have and in that sense it's getting it out of somewhere so just to give you an example student debt in the end since we are in university I thought some of you might be interested but I don't think you have that condition here so student debt in the United States has reached a trillion dollars it's over a trillion now the traditional bank would know what to do with it debt high finance a trillion I can work with that me this is terrifying you understand they can ever any negative can be manipulated in such a way that it generates something so for instance the high financial system has decided to to ask Congress our rather problematic Congress you know the in the United States to to to please never excuse that debt that student debt they passed a law that is a debt that can never be cancelled so if the student dies god forbid the parents or somebody else is going to be responsible and you stand back and you say why why did the financial system want that I mean what lies behind that and this is just an extreme example of sort of this notion of an extractive logic well it turns out that they can they can work with that they can actually as long as it is a massive concentration it fits a little bit doesn't work so that is just one indication for me that brings me back to this notion that what marks the current period which for me I repeat sort of really takes off in the 1980s in many parts of the world is the rise of extractive logics we tend to think that the extractive is only like mining etc well the Coca Cola's and the Nestle's and the other twenty-eight bottlers bought water bottlers not okay and and so so they go around the world getting land and it's an invisible operation to the eyes of our Savior in a plane and they keep extracting water and when they're done extracting it they move on so as a consequence we have a lot of dead land left behind this is happening in the United States in California where we have a drought several of the big bottles lessly are extracting water so you have to stand back and say that the kind of inequalities if we come back to that term that we have today are marked by a brutality of extractive notions that takes us beyond some earlier epochs like I would say in the United States for instance after you know before the 1980s and after World War Two there was a kind of an era of course we had inequality but one big difference with today's inequality was that the key actors the corporations the banks all wanted the sons and daughters of their clients to do better because they depended on them and today that need for masses of people who are pure consumers where your clients has really declined it exists for certain sectors but not for the dominant sectors so that dumi marks a real difference I know I should there be more chance well I mean now that we're all suitably depressed I let's look again at the title here of our debate engines of equality Alysse politics and power and I think my question partly because this is a an event organized by a UN body by the United Nations is where is that multilateral soft power where nowadays is our power because we see the elites and although it's become a strange word in fact nowadays but we see power being concentrated or actually more centrally in many cases and also more undemocratically that it's with business rather than with elected politicians so where is the power of the Millennium Development Goals the sustainable development goals the UN's business in human rights jomo are these useful instruments can we can we use them at all they are suddenly very very important and very useful but I'm not sure that that multilateral arrangements have survived very well in recent times multilateralism is at great risk and even in multilateral organization which is not strictly speaking within the UN system the WTO is in serious trouble the leader of the most important country in the world insists that the future lies with bilateral trade arrangements and plurilateral shape and if he can win them and if they serve the reserved creating the impression that he is making you know America great again I think that's all very you know you don't want the trade war where you're going to lose or even or trade war where you don't come out on top and people realise it in fact in most trade was both sides loose and this is likely to happen so but as long as people believe that their people are better off and what we have seen and part of the reason why the the Republicans have done reasonably well in the Senate races is precisely because you have close to full employment in the u.s. you have the stock market continuing to rise and the general impression because there is a whole generation which equates economic well-being stock market performance which equates economic well-being with full employment and the even if their own personal conditions are difficult they have the impression that this is that things are better off right now one can't say the same thing about Europe one can't say the same thing about Japan and and this is part of the reasons reasons why they are what might be called legitimacy crisis for those in power in all these countries I mean look at how various political parties their fortunes have have changed so dramatically between one election in the next and and you know it I think so one has to begin to understand that there are many different strands in contemporary politics and but at the end of the day what is crucial is his power maintenance and the projection of power being able to anticipate where future sources of power are going to come from and this is why initially when when people started using terms like social capital and cultural capital and all the rest of it I was very uneasy with it but now I've sort of reconcile myself to it because if you see capital all they did use of the word capital as expressions of power then it makes more sense but political capital so you know called cultural etc etc and so I think what we have at the level of multilateralism you know multilateralism was never never meant to be taken very seriously when the League of Nations was created for instance it was a league of imperial powers okay I mean you know the rest of us were not there now the United Nations was different and part of the part of the difference was because of FDR's Roosevelts recognition that the old imperial order could not hold the center could not hold and there was a need to move beyond that and to try to develop new arrangements and so there was always this tension this tension in in terms of trying to create an a new world order the economic order Bretton Woods conference they politically the the trade order etc etc and this has always been attention but what we now see as especially in the last 30 years since the end of the Cold War the end of the Cold War basically meant the it basically gave way to the rise of of what some Americans called sovereignty z'm u.s. solvent ISM you know America is number one remember in the 80s some of you might be old enough to remember people would write books like Japan is number one nobody writes books like that anymore at the end of history so so we have a situation now where clearly we are in in transition but transition is not a very helpful concept because we are always in transition in retrospect we realize that every period is it's all it's always a period of transition but what I see being fundamentally threatened in the last three decades and especially in the current period is the the the the multilateral order and so how this is going to be put together again now that Humpty Dumpty is is really fallen is going to be extremely difficult and we are going to find all kinds of attempts to create quasi multilateral arrangements where the rules are bent and you have two-tier rules and various other arrangements so what you have in the UN system with the UN Security Council permanent members and so on and so forth you will find that increasingly replicated in more formal terms not just informally as is often the case nyeh I want to ask you maybe also from a gender point of view I mean Jomo mentioned many many multilateral organizations Bretton Woods World Trade Organization the United Nations now the very people and millions of women who might actually benefit from global rules and standards don't trust them anymore so I mean is there can we address that trust or have these these big organizations betrayed the real needs of the poor and particularly women organizations that I'd be interested in in terms of intervening around equity issues obviously the UN is one of them you know the ILO and all of these organizations and like what if I'm quite troubling is that part of this triumphalism of post Cold War period has meant the under resourcing of many of these organizations and therefore an increasing turn to the private sector and in increasing partnerships with business which up to a point may work but when we're trying to talk about you know justice and redistribution when the private sector is not really well placed to be arguing for it and I see that very much with UN women you know you set up an institution which is supposed to pull together all the different bits of the UN's work on gender and it remains deeply under-resourced and so it is having to do its work in partnership which whatever philanthropist or private sector partner is willing to pay for projects so at one hand you've had you know deregulation at the global system you've had the race to the welfare bottom and so very many people who did enjoy some degree of welfare provision are losing it and from women black is a double whammy because it means not only cuts in pay and poorer working conditions but also cuts in welfare provision but for those are already at the welfare bottom it means there is no hope of coming up you know the capacity of governments the capacity of the UN agencies to fund provisioning at that level has been deeply curtailed so you know you've seen the race of bottom and you're also seeing a failure of movement first assassin no hope oh god that that is that's not my subject no hope is not my subject hope okay well I know but but can I again be a bit subversive yes that's what we're all here because hope is not really I don't you know it's a term that I rarely use so I don't know exactly what to do I don't mean to be difficult here but I just wanted to go back to some of the issues that we've been talking about and one of them coming back to your first question to me that I changed this question on immigration and and the given what I described before about land grabs water grabs you know what is happening when we look at an image say of much of Africa parts of Asia and much of Latin America we see still a lot of land etc well a lot of that land is dying a lot of that land is being subjected to extractive modes etcetera etcetera so coming to the migrant what I see in our current modernity and this probably holds more than the West broadly understood is the emergence of a third type of migrant subject and this is a subject when she appears at our borders she has no claim that she can make she doesn't exist so we have two regimes right the traditional image raishin regime and the refugee this third migrant subject is a victim of modes of economic development that our systems our measures register as a positive GDP per capita growth a very problematic measure that people like Joe Stiglitz and Amartya Sen have been fighting against for 10 years saying this is a distorted measure it doesn't help us understand but anyhow you have a lot of people that are being expelled from their land because a mine is coming because plantations are coming because there are 35 governments that are actually installing vast plantations in especially in Africa but also in Latin America and in parts of Asia right and so so what what is the effect of that it's to expel small holders the term small holder is that familiar you know small farmers rural people to expel them from their land when they appear at our borders so to say this third migrating subject ah what they the way they are seen is oh my god but you come from a country that is doing very very well GDP per capita is growing you have all these plantations and these mines and building new cities etc what is left out of that of course is that all that building all that land grabbing expels a lot of people so this third migrant subject not recognized in law for me is a very significant indicator of two things one so many things that are wrong and there are marked by explosions of one kind or another of people especially modest people clearly from their land and secondly what we don't see you know our categories of analyses our our the terms that we use are keeping us from recognizing the emergence of new types of subjects of new types of conditions and I would say that really starting for me in the nineteen in many parts of the world we have entered a new mode of economics now complex systems mode of economics nowadays are complex systems in many ways they are not necessarily highly visible it's difficult sometimes to understand what is happening so that is another difficulty the main point that I want to make is this notion this image of this third migrant subject not recognized in law imperfect as the other two laws are had but this is a third there is nothing no law and the fact that when she appears at our borders she stole hey your country is doing very very well GDP per capita is growing so the silo that produces yes knowledge and also ignorant about all the other things okay thank you very much I think I will actually go to unless okay yes sure yes yes this thing about GDP is very interesting because I remember one fine day last year we woke up and we were told that Bangladesh had been classified as a middle-income country I mean yesterday we were a low-income country today we're a middle-income country nothing closer to home apparently there is it's the end of austerity quite now I would like to open to the floor because we do have to finish at 8 o'clock we want to have some summing ZUP I am looking for not for long speeches as I said I'll take a couple of points then we get the audience to respond I think you sir had your hand up first picking up on what was just discussed it seems relevant to ask the question if you could speak briefly to this direct connection between say extractive practices and the fact that when the extraction is finished they usually leave behind of course as you say toxic waste and other things so there's no going back in fact for these people so now in Lausanne a couple of nights ago I saw a couple of these double lung city buses filled with Seth I'm guessing sub-saharan African people in the middle of the night going somewhere by police escort I'm not sure what who was happening but it was just vividly reminding me that this isn't the fact these people are here because of course these extractivist can you speak a little bit because this seems to be lost a lot in the complexity the direct line between extractive industries the destruction of water soil resources and now as I understand also for example in India now they're among the first programs that's effectively pursuing interjurisdictional regulation of air quality because of pollution effects and so forth that's my question thank you you take a question from the lady here at the front we'll take a couple of questions and then go back to our panel I yeah I see the hand please don't be angry with me if we get to the end and I haven't come to you I will do my absolute best hi thank you this is team L from the ILO I was thinking as you were talking about this coat I think it's attributed to Graham she the old world is dying the new world struggles to be born and it's the time of monsters so you know we talked about monsters but I was wondering if you could share some thoughts about resistance strategies response strategies so perhaps the hope question you didn't answer Saskia and this could be the traditional forms like you know what could trade unions do differently what could social movements do differently but then also new forms like the social and solidarity economy as emerging among the indigenous among unemployed youth in the context of for instance taxi drivers resisting uber by cooperatives using platforms but with the support of municipalities but then the you know driver alerts cars are coming too so what do you do then yeah resistant strategies okay question on extractive practices and then do more and Nayla resistance tactics well I think that that one of the issues that is happening and and I think we're all vaguely or not so vaguely aware of is the grow you know it's called the growth of cities that everybody wants to come to cities etc you know that's only partly true that everybody wants to come to city the problem is that so many people are being expelled from their small rural plots because those rural plots you know and again I mentioned before there are 30 governments that are big big buyers of land for instance the Saudis just bought up all the fields in Bosnia told the Bosnian farmers who are poor and they were very happy said okay here is money for you to take a vacation for the rest of your life and they were delighted and but you cannot come back we are going to send you to a beautiful can you believe this maybe see some believable stuff now in this case I will say that those Bosnian farmers were very happy ok because it was going to be a rare life but it just gives you an idea of what's happening and that is the preciousness of land you know it's like we're going back to an older era where we were fully aware of the pressure you know French the second or third generation of French farmers about five years ago we're trying to get back to the old farmlands they were all bought up by big corporations both French and foreign so there is something turning around the question of land which also means habitat that is very serious now coming back to what we call in Spanish I grew up in Latin America lapa de Faria with the periphery which are these big dense settlements sometimes reasonable sometimes not so reasonable around big cities a lot of those people it's not that they want to be in cities they are just they've been expelled that is the last place they have this is very interesting and so the city I I argue for instance that the city is the city contains within it today's frontier if we think of the frontier as a space where actors from different worlds have an encounter for which there are no established rules of engagement that is no longer happening in rural areas now it used to be in our Imperial mode right now it's happening inside cities so in that sense for me it's extremely important that the city be a city which means that you have incredible mixes of people etc etc now I know I was meant to answer but I'm a bit I'm an anarchist it's my head but was there something else you wanted me to address I've sort of done let's actually ask Jomo and 9th at first we were asked about resistance tactic and ask if you have any then we'd be in to hear from them but German first of the networks well I think on the question of of multilateralism which was the second subject race I think it's extremely important to defend the multilateralism it it is one of the few I wouldn't say necessarily very democratic but one of the few spaces available to developing countries and to poor countries one has to remember that if you think about overall inequality in the world two-thirds of that inequality is geography it's not class its geography okay so so this this basically means that this has tremendous implications and and so the as long as you as the South the global South remains in conditions where people want to move out you're going to have constant pressure to move out not necessarily to urban areas but still there will be now I think realistically speaking one has to one has to remember that the Gilded Age the age of high or gross inequality the age of the Great Gatsby in the United States ended with the depression and following the depression you had two tendencies the rise of the left and the rise of the right okay in Europe we know where that it was the right which was ascendant now this time around that the left is almost gone there is nothing there is no significant left presence in the world today and this I think is extremely important for us to remember that capitalism is the only game in town okay people are debating about the rules of capitalism they're not debating about whether or not to have capitalism and this I think is fundamentally a fundamentally different situation and it constrains the range of possibilities so I would say that some of the newer property rights which are the basis for elite entitlements have to be fundamentally challenge including and especially I would say two things intellectual property rights which have been the basis for new monopolies because the intellectual property right confers a monopoly right and the second is there is a power of Finance finance has to be Risa Borden ated to the needs of the people that we subordinated to the real economy and the last point I would like to make is to begin to think about how one can reorganize society in ways where where you would be able to redistribute power if you will through the very mechanisms so for example if care work were to be monetized that would empower all care workers the majority of whom are women if for example there is a recognition that the decisions about food at home and and and and empowering people to make better nutrition decisions through the food choices and so on all this can fundamentally improve the quality of life and this I think is extremely important so one has to think of course about how the tax system can be changed how begin to think not only about taxing income but also about taxing property inheritance etc etc and if insofar as we are now have resigned ourselves in many of our societies to consumption taxes whether they are value-added or not then we need to begin to think about how we tweak the system of consumption taxes in ways which are less regressive by the covere resistance tactics I think what is most antithetical to resistance is the lack of optimism you know I think hope is a driver a sense of injustice is also a driver for me I think there is no single blueprint for resistance it has to be local and it has to address whatever it is the sense of injustice that is driving and the other thing is that it has to be collective the issue is what are the localized issues of injustice that will help to build a collective some of it will be a trade union but you cannot and this is my despair that you cannot build a trade union out of nothing and we are facing that problem in Bangladesh we have a history of very politicized trade unions very partisan trade unions for whom workers interests come second to party interests so we're getting a lot of people coming in from all over the world trying to pay for a new trade union movement but that takes a long time for that culture to take root so I think we should look beyond trade unions and there are so many other different forms of collectives including if you like the self-help group movements you know informal workers organizations all of them contained within them I think seeds of building up a broader and more unified collective movement and we mustn't forget the power of the media and what has been very interesting about the me2 movement I have to come to that denied what has been very interesting about it is first of all how it has galvanized awareness of a problem that I myself did not know the depth of and the extensiveness of we knew about harassment in the workplace but I had not realized how far what I think is very interesting is how it's taking off in India and why that's interesting is because it means that the women who are speaking out are not afraid to speak it's not taking off in a ditch or taking off in Bangladesh Pakistan etc and that says something I mean I have problems with the Indian regime at the moment but it does say something that these women are able to stand up and accuse very powerful and that has happened to the media so I think technology goes with it also a power to build a kind of global something on the technology so I have a project going which has to do I did a quite a bit of research on on what sort of very to put it very simply applicant apps you know that we can deploy exists for low-income workers at their workplace and in their poor neighborhoods and men and women and and young people and there is very little they're invited to buy whatever you know is a consumption but not and so we have been working with a whole bunch of doctoral students so it's not commercial to develop and I will be very happy to send open society I wrote a very long piece about this work for open society and a whole bunch of apps that are very simple that allow a worker who at the workplace cannot simply pull up the telephone and start calling if there is a crisis back at home just clicking on a little app poof but there is a long list of them for different purposes and then it mobilizes people in the neighborhood or whatever so that there is a delegation and that's also beginning to build up a bit of community sense huh so this you mentioned it in passing or you did this there's also this notion of real localizing what we can relocate you know giving value again to the to the locality and so if I need a computer I've got to get a franchise right I mean I'm not going to go to the factory but do I really need a multinational to have a cup of coffee in my neighborhood no right so those are sort of the two extremes so that what we can begin to again do locally you know in in small settings so I think that there are multiple little strategies I mean this is not going to bring in justice in a very big way but these are first steps that mobilize people that create no a lion and new solidarities in a way great the gentleman there I'm going to take three together and that might be the answer gentlemen there general there and the ladies of dark hair behind him thank you Miss Mary O'Donnell I'm going back to the question of intellectual property and inequality I visited some more comments on the privatization of science and academic knowledge being sucked up by multinational publishers and available only to the rich and therefore science gains by being shared you can or said particularly its no log can be localized people should accept the local level they cannot when you have to pay thirty seven dollars to read a scientific paper so some comments on this issue in an academic audience out the week quite relevant to our subject thank you gentlemen speaking French a position of demography – Jewish of multimatic against or to the consumption of are soon like a second you up at the place for to mood opening negativities to de Nieva Nakhimov pass a suppression a laugh a demographic on the hotel in the summer you necessarily travailler and pass a visa a possibly develop more auto market or a prank on em it s all about the new episode maxi the translate once we've addressed this next question the lady there a tango hi my name is verdiana I work at the United Nations I want you to ask about social policies jomo touched upon redistribution policies but how do we see the role of social policies social protection education in tackling inequalities are these completely useless with current trends or is there something we can do okay so we had a question about intellectual property again and the and the the value of scientific development scientific research who owns it we had a question from the gentleman there about the the the the pressure on demographics or the perception I think if I understood you correctly that there isn't enough space for all of us and that this creates tensions between communities and how that can be addressed and then finally question from the lady there about social protection and that's interesting I was at a conference about that very thing the ILO last week where I learned a lot that already we are coming close to the answer if you don't mind I think it's going to be the last questions from the floor I would ask our panelists to address these particular issues and then we'll we'll move to summing up where we find some solutions which we hope are not of the mary antoinette right i think the the question raised about the corporate control of knowledge is a very real problem but i think the example is only one of many many examples we shall be given I remember an article a few years ago about how the sugar foundation finance habits nutrition department research and basically gave it a clean bill of health in the 1960s and at each stage the head of the department another man who later became who wrote the US dietary guidelines and a third researcher sent drafts because in those days there was no email you sent drafts to the sugar foundation for approval and this was the degree of of of accountability if you will you know in a very perverse way which was happening and there are many many other examples but the problem with copyright is a real problem there is a real problem and now their attempts to extend the and we have a concentration of publishers in the world not just newspaper publishers but also scientific or academic publishers and the profit imperative is such that we have increasing insistence on this I remember one of the first things I had to do in in when I when I joined the UN in 2005 was to resist a lot of pressure from among other things from member states to make money from from from UN publications you know and and and this just imagined the the public goods which governments routinely have to provide at the UN we were supposed not to take the share those responsibilities so it is a real problem but there's also the problem of the of the fact that you you have a lot of authors and and performers etc etc who have no other way of being remunerated and and we need to find a way out but I appreciate the spirit of your question and that is that we should not simply accept the intellectual property rights regime which we have now which is reinforced by the WTO as and not challenged it fundamentally it should be challenged and there are many many science scientists and others who will challenge this if I may go skip over the second question go straight to the lady who raised the question of social policy I think it is very important for us to recognize that there are huge debates going on about social policy and unrests the host of always organized this event this evening has been at the forefront of many of these debates I think ultimately however the debates will not come will not be resolved by superior knowledge of one type or another they will be resolved by politics it's going to be essentially resolved by politics and it is therefore the it is imperative therefore for advocates of social policy to take two things into consideration one is path dependence what what social scientists like to call cross dependence you cannot just wish away the past you have to build on the past you have to build on what is particular what is considered to be social socially legitimate in a particular society for for a theatre scotch poll for example when she talked about American social policy the two areas were one mothers and two veterans veterans who came back from Wars and this was where how social policy began in the United States and likewise one has to be sensitive to the histories of our different societies in terms of trying to make proposals but one of the other challenges in in in designing social policy is this fetish right now with targeting targeting and I actually have found instances where there is money being spent on trials and trials and trials and trials and less money spent on actual social protection and I generally think that one of the big problems with targeting is that you the whole process of targeting suffers from what statisticians called type 1 and type 2 errors errors of exclusion as well as a result of inclusion but the other problem of course is that targeting becomes exclusive an exclusion basically means production of political support so what one should begin to think about our ways of redistribution where you will not erode political support for a social program because if you don't if you once you once you do not have a strong political support for that program you can be sure the program won't last okay thank you would you like to answer the the point raised by the gentlemen they are to do with demographics and just the one was in French I was just thinking of what I was going to say but no no but I love you too well I should speak in English here well I think that that that you are right in in pointing out sort of the limits in a way also of knowledge if I got it right we need knowledge but we need also trans versality so this is for me now a big deals that I'm arguing that we are existing in knowledge silos that have worked for a while very well and that now we need trans versality x' we need to connect stuff that were now not connecting now that can get you into a lot of trouble you know if you're an academic because the silos are still very powerful and so I tell my students – okay fine you want to hang in there in the silo in the paradigmatic but go to the edges of the paradigm where the paradigm is weak and it runs into other paradigms I really am in expulsion in the book expulsion so I really deal with that also sort of cut across we need transversality x' number two very quickly very briefly I think there are vast areas that meet a knowledge function on the part of us scholars researchers we're forgetting that they exist you know they're there and that comes back to that trans versality that I'm calling for that we we are still stuck in fairly narrow domains so I look a lot at finance right at high violence which is algorithmic mathematics nothing to do you know with traditional banking nothing to do with microeconomics and nothing to do with macroeconomics it's algorithmic mathematics so what happens there so for instance a building we see the building with algorithmic mathematics you transform this building into something it's completely different you know we're actually pieces of the a wall a toilet whatever can be used to produce asset-backed securities so right now we're living in a moment when a lot of what we see with our eyes which we used to think the thing is the thing is the thing no empty towers in Manhattan fancy fancy buildings where people say oh my god it didn't go well for the planners or the builders no no an empty building right now and this is happening in many parts of the world including in Europe an empty building now produces more value for the owners because it's empty then if it were occupied rent okay prepare people to deal with right now it functions us asset-backed securities now algorithmic math means like six or seven very complex steps you know it's really we see the building but the building is something else so that is one of the issues I think that again we need to we need to engage these kinds of subjects as long as we stay in our knowledge silos these are the kinds of things that we then don't see did I do what you asked me to just I think main that you want to answer particularly the question on social protection right then last week we had a workshop at LSE with the IMF and the IMF wanted to discuss universalism and I think someone said that this is IMF is at a beverage moment you know but it is about politics it is about Christine Lagarde who wants to I think to some extent get the IMF to open up to different kinds of ideas but I think those of us who've been working on the area of Social Protection I think we don't just rely on the fact that there is supposed to be a right to Social Security we try to make other kinds of arguments one set of arguments is the ones that you know made about the costs of targeting you know that it can you can end up paying more just to try and administer this but I think we might also want to make a difference between means-testing and categorical targeting so for instance you might I think one of the discussions we had was you might want to have universalism in basic services that everybody needs you know health education etc but you might want to combine it with targeting the elderly targeting very young children targeting underserved areas they're the means-testing aspect drops out of that so that kind of you know administrative cost drops to that but I think one of the reasons I became interested in social protection is that if we live in a world that is characterized by risk and insecurity that is the norm globalization renders some skills obsolete you know and others required then social protection or built up a social policy is I think what all countries have to invest in to both protect their citizens from these fluctuations in the market but also to prepare them for you know future skills and so on so I think the arguments that we're making this about social protection as a social investment that it is an investment in the quality and the future of the labour force and of the population okay thank you very much we've come almost to the end sorry because we really aren't yet I'm back I do want to get our three panelists to have a brief summing up again we'll come back to the the the title of this debate engines of inequality elites politics and power and we have touched on many many engines of inequality in this debate from property rights of the intellectual kind of scientific correct also land rights we've talked perhaps not directly but it's there in our debate about conflict and climate change and the kind of population pushes that that leads to we've talked about gender politics now all of these are engines of inequality and some of our discussion I have to say it's been a little bit bleak and I wonder what the future is facing my two children who are both both University students now so very briefly to sum up I would like to ask each of you to name an engine of equality not inequality what can we start using to to maybe start closing that gap there's a fuel I think you'll be necessary to challenge the major elite discourses I think for example if we take for example the power of Finance in the world today Sasuke your response to the gentleman who asked the question in French I thought was give me an idea about the future of finances Cubism but anyway coming back to coming back to to to finance the end of glass-steagall which was the major regulation in the United States I was brought about was initiated by the Clinton administration not by yeah and a decade later when the crisis happened the condition the conditions for the emerging out of the crisis was such that 95 percent of growth since the crisis has gone to finance that was made possible not only by mr. Bush and and but also by mr. Obama so I think one has to begin to recognize that if we stay within the domain of rival elite discourse political discourses we are unlikely to break out of it and so I since especially since we had a university I think our challenge is really to to to build an alternative discourse but one alternative discourse which is cognizant about the necessity to challenge power but at the same time the need to build a broad alliance to challenge their power thank you very much Sasuke we'll briefly an engine of equality all right I was going to talk about high finance no that's no didn't leak well what I see in the work that I'm also doing with poor neighborhoods that that where you have a you know these people need each other in a way the mostly hate each other because their lives are so difficult that they can't quite you know but you begin to see a real mobilizing around recovering also knowledge functions in modest settings so when everything is a franchise the stern franchise means something to you so the flower shop the flower shop used to be that you need to know what flowers went there was knowledge the accounting the price when the knowledge when the flower shop just becomes one little thing of a big multinational you have taken out the knowledge function this is happening all the time with all franchising and that is something that I find very problematic so one of the issues for me is how do we re localize little knowledge –is little efforts because there is one way of recovering the knowledge the using the full intelligence even of in the most modest of neighborhoods it's not just about you know the grand things because I think all the struggles against inequalities are strongest when they're rooted in local politics and local relationships but at the same time I think opening people's eyes up to what is possible outside their own communities you know what is possible in communities elsewhere the the victories and the struggles that other people have had I think feeds hope within the at the level of the local so I you know coming from a part of the world where people I once went to visit Pakistan and women had till 1990s not stepped beyond the dunes in which they were born so they knew nothing about you know it is in a desert and those kinds of close communities I think reproduce very you know ancient tyrannies and so on so I think opening people's eyes up to what is possible anywhere else is very important for normal smarts okay thank you very much well that just leaves it to me to thank our panelists German Sundaram Saskia Sassen nyla Kabir and to say to thank you all for coming for all the questions I'm sorry we didn't get to all of you but to say for me anyway we know the statistics are bleak but the ideas are brilliant so thank you all very very much thank you [Applause]

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