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01 August, 2020
2:42 am

Reducing Inequality on a Finite Planet: How Equity is the Underappreciated Cornerstone of a Sustainable Society


Many economists and activists believe we can reduce extreme wealth inequality through ginning up the economic growth machinery and distributing the rewards more fairly. But what if such growth is ecologically unsustainable?

There are too many people consuming too much stuff. Humanity is facing an overshoot crisis as evidenced by climate change, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem breakdown. We need drastic changes in our economy to start walking the path toward a sustainable society. One of the most critical changes is to reduce the dizzying gap between the haves and the have-nots. Many people fail to appreciate the link between equality and sustainability. In a world of finite resources and increasing competition for those resources, we need economic institutions and policies that promote equality rather than a grab-what-you-can race to the bottom.

This program will explore the intersection of the ecological crisis and extreme wealth inequality.

Rob Dietz is the Program Director of the Post Carbon Institute and coauthor of Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources.

Chuck Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, co-editor, Inequality.org and Board Member of Post Carbon Institute. He is author of Born on Third Base and coauthor with Bill Gates Sr. of Wealth and Our Commonwealth.