Reducing inequality within and between countries is Goal 10 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Some people argue that we should tolerate inequality as it is a necessary consequence of economic growth, and an inspiration to innovation, creativity and aspiration. I will examine whether or not there are arguments in favour of inequality and how the impact of inequality on the economy, the environment, population health, human capital development and social relationships can be viewed within a human rights and social justice perspective. I will focus on both the consequences of inequality and potential solutions for the creation of more egalitarian societies at international, national and local level, as well as the role of grassroots campaigning and activism.
Kate Pickett is Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York, and the University’s Champion for Research on Justice and equality; her research focuses on the social determinants of wellbeing.
She was a UK NIHR Career Scientist from 2007-2012 and is a Fellow of the RSA and of the UK Faculty of Public Health. She is co-author, with Richard Wilkinson, of the bestselling The Spirit Level, winner of the 2012 Publication of the Year from the Political Studies Association, winner of the 2010 Bristol Festival of Ideas Book Prize, and translated into 25 languages. Richard and Kate were awarded a 2013 Silver Rose Award from Solidar for championing equality and the 2014 Charles Cully Medal of the Irish Cancer Society.
Kate is also a co-founder and trustee of The Equality Trust. She was a Commissioner for the York Fairness Commission and for the national Living Wage Commission. She sits on the Scientific Council of Inequality Watch, the Scientific Board of Progressive Economy, and is a member of the Human Capital Research Working Group of the Institute for New Economic Thinking. She is on the Steering Committee of the Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity.