IPI HomeEventsPanel DiscussionsCorrecting Inequalities, “You Always Have Losers and Gainers”

 

print print  |  share share back back

Panel Discussions - Monday, January 18, 2010

Correcting Inequalities, “You Always Have Losers and Gainers”

This statement was made by Dr. Frances Stewart of Oxford University during an IPI policy forum on inequalities and conflict held last week that also featured discussants Ambassador Peter Maurer of Switzerland and Dr. Susan L. Woodward of CUNY.



Dr. Stewart was responding to a question about the Northern Ireland peace process, which succeeded in restoring near equality to the Catholic-Protestant relationship. “When you correct inequalities," she said, "you always have losers as well as gainers. You can’t really avoid it. Of course, if you can do so in a growing economy, so people are losing relatively but not absolutely, that’s better. But you do have losers.”

In speaking about horizontal inequalities—the subject of the panel discussion and of her 2008 book—Dr. Stewart said, “Analysts say that people can’t live together; that it’s the clash of civilizations, and there’s nothing much we can do about it. And then a whole lot of economists say it’s nothing to do with culture at all, nothing to do with ethnicity; it’s to do with individual people wanting to make money out of war. Greed, it’s called.

“I think what the horizontal-inequalities approach does is to bring these two together. It says, yes, it is about culture, but it’s also about economics. If groups have fundamentally unequal relationships—in politics, in economics, in culture, in the way their culture is treated in the society and the way their religions are treated in society, in social assets, in all these different aspects—then the people who are deprived have a very big motive to challenge the government. And the people in government, if they’re a different group, have a big motive to suppress the others and retain their privilege. And that’s fundamentally why horizontal inequalities, as distinct from vertical inequality, tends to lead to conflict."

The policy forum, held on January 18, 2010, was chaired by Dr. Edward C. Luck, IPI Senior Vice President for Research and Programs.

 


Read full transcript

The Global Observatory

As Russia and the West Joust, Ukraine Risks Deeper Divisions and More Violence
The longer this stand-off continues, the greater the risk that divisions will harden into permanent fault-lines and doom Ukraine to a bitter and potentially violent disintegration.

Key Global Events to Watch in April
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

April 05, 2014
IPI Opens Middle East Regional Office
International Peace Institute President Terje Rød-Larsen inaugurated IPI’s new Middle East Regional Office with a recognition of the area’s critical importance to the world and the rapid political changes underway in the countries of the region, and he asserted that IPI has an “important role” to play there.

April 03, 2014
In Horn of Africa, Links Between Disaster, Conflict, and Displacement
What are the links between climate change, conflict, and the displacement of people? A panel of experts discussed this nexus and its implications in the Horn of Africa at the International Peace Institute on April 3rd in an event cosponsored by the Nansen Initiative.

March 26, 2014
Derek Plumbly on Lebanese Resilience Amid Rising Challenges
Lebanon has exceeded expectations in dealing with the continuing fallout from the crisis in neighboring Syria, said Derek Plumbly, United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon, on March 26th. Speaking at the International Peace Institute, Mr. Plumbly praised the Lebanese people for “actually sustaining a measure of stability in their country.”

View More