• “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

  • “High economic inequality in the society creates pressures on organizations to reduce, and explain, the levels of income inequality within their boundaries. .”

    Jerry Davis
    Wilbur K. Pierpont Collegiate Professor of Management at the Ross School of Business and Professor of Sociology, The University of Michigan

  • “Business might or might not be an appropriate actor to lead, but it is a necessary actor in, the effort to reduce economic inequality.”

    Dr. Tom Lawrence
    W.J. VanDusen Professor of Management, Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University

  • “We need to examine whether more equal societies potentiate certain human outcomes like development and innovation.”

    Dr. Michael Harris Bond
    Emeritus Professor of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Interviews with Experts


To further the conversation on the relationship between economic inequality and business, BEIF interviews experts on the topic. Following are a few videos in which leading scholars explain what high economic inequality does to organizations and what managers can do about it.

  • Dr. Paul Hirsch, James L. Allen Professor of Strategy & Organizations at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

  • Dr. Kamal Munir, Head of the Strategy & International Business subject group at University of Cambridge's Judge Business School.

  • Dr. Tom Lawrence, W.J. VanDusen Professor of Management, Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University.

  • Dr. Michael Harris Bond, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

For more videos by BEIF, please visit our YouTube Channel.

Public Forum Videos


To facilitate conversation among various stakeholders, two public forums were conducted by Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba. These forums titled “What does Occupy mean to Business?” featured industry leaders, community representatives, economists, business academics, and university administrators. The panels were held to initiate a new agenda of research on ‘business and economic inequality’, in which scholars from business schools and broad disciplinary backgrounds can come together to investigate the complex relationship between business practices and societal economic inequality.


Individual presentations by panelists can be accessed by linking the hyperlinks under their names:

  • Brent Bailey , Manager of Advisory Services, Winnipeg Foundation discusses how poverty can be alleviated by providing educational and skill development opportunity to the underprivileged.

  • Hari Bapuji , Associate Professor, Business, University of Manitoba ( Presentation 1 and Presentation 2 ) argues that unequal societies and organizations are like inverted pyramids and underscores the costs of rising inequality to businesses.

  • David Barnard , President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Manitoba emphasizes the need for scholars to delve deeply into inequality.

  • Art DeFehr , President and CEO, Palliser Furniture points that businesses contribute to economic inequality through unethical practices and lack of a broader vision

  • Michael Benarroch , Dean, Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba suggests that inequality is a result of adopting a short-term orientation to pursue immediate profits.

  • Radhika Desai , Professor, Political Studies, University of Manitoba ( Part 2 ) argues that greater inequality results in lower growth and lower human development in the society.

  • Alan Freeman , Cultural Economist points to evidence that businesses can benefit by paying a living wage to their workers and investing in creative labour.

  • Reg Litz, Professor, Business, University of Manitoba ( Introduction 1 and Introduction 2 ) highlights the need to discuss the relationship between business and economic inequality

  • Rick Workman , Workman Associates ( Part 2 )

Interaction with audience at Panel 1 and Panel 2