Business to the Rescue: Addressing Social Inequality on a Global Scale
Social inequality has different origins
Social inequality results from many contexts and systems that prevail in society. Certainly, some degree of inequality is inevitable — Akhtar Shamshad, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
Inequality is not always the same. There is an inequality that arises from technology development, and it is an engine. There is inequality, which is based on serious economic growth, this is China. <...> In Russia, the situation is not related to the economic growth, but rather to those processes that occurred in the economy in the 90s. Therefore, inequality in Russia is perceived in a different way. The issues of inequality, growth and social stability are different — Andrei Klepach, Deputy Chairman (Chief Economist), Member of the Board, Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank).
Solving the inequality problem is not only a state task, it requires the assistance of the entire society
The solution to the inequality problem can not be found by the state alone. There is no one right solution. Depending on the nature of the inequality, whether it is income inequality or health quality inequality, it all depends on the specific components of the system. We need to ensure their interaction in order to obtain a common result. I hope we will see more regular coordinated actions between different interested groups — Bob Moritz, Global Chairman, PwC.
In order to reduce poverty on one hand, we need to fight wasting resources on the other — Arash Derambarsh, City Councillor for Courbevoie.
Social inequality accumulates in generations and creates social tension
The growth of inequality is observed in all social layers: in education, health care, and this in turn creates generational inequality — Akhtar Shamshad, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
When we talk about inequality at the level of one country, we see an increase in tensions associated with the distribution of income. <...> Given the current economic model, most middle-class representatives are formed by those who belong to a higher proportion of income distribution. Economic growth brings new opportunities with it. But new opportunities are not enough. Education is becoming more accessible, this is happening all over the world, but even if what you acquire as knowledge should open up opportunities for you, then that is not enough either. Equality means fair distribution of these opportunities. Therefore, people believe that they do not participate in the life of society to a proper degree — Cyril Muller, Vice-President, Europe and Central Asia, The World Bank Group.
Information society reveals the problem of inequality
If you look 20-30 years back, you’ll see now there is more transparency: because of social media we see inequality better. Now the issues of social inequality are becoming more prominent. Different levels of communities are waiting for different solutions, and taking these decisions becomes even riskier — Bob Moritz, Global Chairman, PwC.
Legislative regulation of equitable distribution of resources and capital
In 2016 in France we voted on the bill against wasting food and produce. A lot of products are thrown out in the evening, but in the European Union alone a hundred thousand people are starving, by the end of the month they have nothing to eat. Our bill does not cost a single euro for businesses. Now every person in France can create an association and demand free receipt of unsold products from supermarkets — Arash Derambarsh, City Councillor for Courbevoie.
In matters of inheritance, it is important to use the experience of the United States and European countries. They create funds that are governed like a trust by the majority of the inheritance that is transferred to this fund, rather than being shared between the former tycoon family members — Andrei Klepach, Deputy Chairman (Chief Economist), Member of the Board, Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank).
Responsible business behaviour
I want to pay attention to the recent billionaires’ initiative called a Giving Pledge. There are several Russian billionaires who also already joined in. It is a voluntary commitment to donate half of your capital to charity. Probably, it is more than any taxes that you can think of — Elena Topoleva-Soldunova, Director, Agency for Social Information; Leading Expert, Centre for Studies of Civil Society and the Non-profit Sector, National Research University Higher School of Economics .
We need to invest in people and give people the opportunity to make good use of it — Cyril Muller, Vice-President, Europe and Central Asia, The World Bank Group.
Equality in large companies is a business idea too. Equality should be in the business plan, not only in terms of goals, but also in terms of opportunities and ensuring age, race and gender equality. Now we need to talk about how this idea can move from the heads of commercial companies to managers who depend on the public opinion — Juvencio Maeztu Herrera, Chief Financial Officer, IKEA.
Fair taxation of wealth
There is an idea of imposing a small tax on inheritances that exceed a certain size. Will it work? The question of the validity of the received inheritance exists in society — Kirill Kleimenov, Deputy General Director, Channel One JSC.
In Russia, there is no tradition of inheritance transfer. Our business and our elites are yet to develop a certain tradition, and before introducing an inheritance tax, it is important to create such a tradition — Andrei Klepach, Deputy Chairman (Chief Economist), Member of the Board, Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank).
The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS