• “We need to think deeply about what economic development is and who it is for; and, engage the larger society in that conversation.”

    Dr. David T. Barnard
    President and Vice-Chancellor
    University of Manitoba

  • “Rising income inequality undercuts the trust that is essential for the market system to work.”

    Art DeFehr
    President and CEO, Palliser Furniture.

  • “Investing in people in the new economy is now not just morally sound, but economically rational”

    Alan Freeman
    Cultural Economist

  • “Organizations and societies in which the top few appropriate most of the value are like inverted pyramids – inherently unstable”

    Dr. Hari Bapuji
    Associate Professor, University of Manitoba

  • “The present crisis has overturned many accepted truths: that poverty matters but inequality doesn't is one of the more important.”

    Radhika Desai
    Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Manitoba

  • “The income gap between rich and poor, between skilled and unskilled workers, has been rising in both developed and less developed countries for a number of years. The trend is disturbing and we must find a way to turn this trend around.”

    Michael Benarroch
    Dean, I.H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba

Monday, March 18, 2013

Is Economic Equality a Human Right?

By BEIF Team

The role individuals and organizations play in perpetuating social ills can often be revealing. In Shake Hands with the Devil Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire, a retired general and a compassionate humanitarian recounts first hand the horror of the 1994 Rwandan genocide Dallaire witnessed as Force Commander for the U.N. Assistance Mission for Rwanda. A recent BEIF book club discussion on the book occurred in which participants asked questions like: is human life valuable? And are all humans equal? What is the role of organizations in perpetuating social ills?

While the loss of human lives directly in conflicts raises questions of human rights, it is only rarely that other social ills (such as economic inequality) are seen as an issue of a human right. An example of this came to fore recently when Pope Francis was elected to lead the Vatican. According this article, the Pope had in the past “called for an ethical response to solve the problem of social debt, saying that, not only do terrorism, repression and murder violate human rights, but also extreme poverty and the “unjust economic structures that give rise to great inequalities”. So, is economic inequality a violation of human right? And, what role do organizations and individuals play in it?