IPI HomeEventsPanel DiscussionsCorrecting Inequalities, “You Always Have Losers and Gainers”

 

print print  |  share share back back

Panel Discussions - Monday, January 18, 2010

Correcting Inequalities, “You Always Have Losers and Gainers”

This statement was made by Dr. Frances Stewart of Oxford University during an IPI policy forum on inequalities and conflict held last week that also featured discussants Ambassador Peter Maurer of Switzerland and Dr. Susan L. Woodward of CUNY.



Dr. Stewart was responding to a question about the Northern Ireland peace process, which succeeded in restoring near equality to the Catholic-Protestant relationship. “When you correct inequalities," she said, "you always have losers as well as gainers. You can’t really avoid it. Of course, if you can do so in a growing economy, so people are losing relatively but not absolutely, that’s better. But you do have losers.”

In speaking about horizontal inequalities—the subject of the panel discussion and of her 2008 book—Dr. Stewart said, “Analysts say that people can’t live together; that it’s the clash of civilizations, and there’s nothing much we can do about it. And then a whole lot of economists say it’s nothing to do with culture at all, nothing to do with ethnicity; it’s to do with individual people wanting to make money out of war. Greed, it’s called.

“I think what the horizontal-inequalities approach does is to bring these two together. It says, yes, it is about culture, but it’s also about economics. If groups have fundamentally unequal relationships—in politics, in economics, in culture, in the way their culture is treated in the society and the way their religions are treated in society, in social assets, in all these different aspects—then the people who are deprived have a very big motive to challenge the government. And the people in government, if they’re a different group, have a big motive to suppress the others and retain their privilege. And that’s fundamentally why horizontal inequalities, as distinct from vertical inequality, tends to lead to conflict."

The policy forum, held on January 18, 2010, was chaired by Dr. Edward C. Luck, IPI Senior Vice President for Research and Programs.

 


Read full transcript

The Global Observatory

Year in Review: Top 10 Peace and Security Reads
The International Peace Institute and its Global Observatory offered research and analysis on a range of topics in peace and security in 2014.

Key Global Events to Watch in December
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

December 15, 2014
Fathi: Iran and the Struggle Between Hardliners and Reformers
Discussing her new book The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran at IPI on December 15th, author Nazila Fathi said that 35 years after the revolution, Iran is divided between hardliners and a large moderate middle class, but admitted that it is still unclear which of the two sides will gain the upper hand.

December 12, 2014
Effective Governance Key to Africa’s Rise
Good governance is the key to Africa’s rise, but structural challenges are pulling the continent back, according to a new report launched at a December 12th IPI policy forum entitled “Effective Governance in Challenging Environments.”

December 09, 2014
Small States in a Multilateral World
Despite their size and limited resources, small states have an important and crucial role to play in the multilateral system and can leverage their power through cooperation.

View More