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The Ethics of Reducing Inequality

At the same time that poorer countries have been catching up to wealthier countries, income and wealth disparities within countries have been rising to alarming levels. Addressing this fundamental economic challenge will require a careful balance between policies that ensure equality and policies that reward work and innovation.

NEW YORK – Around the world, the effects of alarmingly high economic inequality are spilling over into politics and society. Economic insecurity is a driving force behind violent conflicts in the Middle East and the rise of fascist elements in some European countries, not least Hungary and Poland. Even in older democracies such as the United States, economic marginalization has led to a strengthening of chauvinist and supremacist identities and other social problems such as the opioid epidemic.