The Equality Effect

A note from the editor

Danny Dorling

Holding on to hope

Why should we hold out any hope for greater equality when the very richest people in the world are taking more and more? Pessimistic reactions are commonplace. But there is often great pessimism just at the point when a great injustice becomes apparent – when it becomes widely accepted that it is an injustice and people start to correct it.

The evidence that inequality is harmful comes largely from the rich world. In the 1960s affluent countries were so similar that it was not possible to see the negative effects of greater inequality. But since then some have become much more unequal, providing us with outcomes that illustrate the harm so well.

Today, for many people – especially in the most unequal of countries such as the US, Brazil, the UK and South Africa – the idea that your children and their children might live more equitable lives can seem like a pipedream. But evidence from the more equal affluent nations – as well as from a growing number of poorer countries where inequalities are now falling – shows what is possible. This evidence is fully laid out in my new book The Equality Effect.

Elsewhere in the magazine Ana Palacios’ remarkable photo reportage from Togo and Benin brings to life efforts to ensure a safer future for trafficked children. And our Making Waves profile of Indian activist Prafulla Samantara demonstrates how not giving up can sometimes bear fruit.

Danny Dorling for the New Internationalist co-operative.

Keynote article.

The Equality Effect

The political landscape may seem particularly bleak at present. But, if we stand back and look at the bigger picture, the dominance of rightwing populists and neoliberal policies is likely to be a temporary blip. The evidence is mounting that greater economic equality benefits all people in all societies, whether you are rich, poor or in-between. Once this is widely understood, politicians and policymakers will be forced to take note, as Danny Dorling explains.

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For the three decades prior to 2008, some countries, including the US and the UK, chose a path that led to greater inequality, often on the assumption that there was no viable alternative. Yet, even under intensifying globalization, many other nation-states have continued to take a different road and have chosen ever-greater equality. Today, it is through the examples of how life differs between more and less economically equitable countries that we are able to measure the equality effect.


When we were more equal

A few fragments from the surprising history of equality. Cartoons by Ella Furness.

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The rich, the poor and the earth

While it is clear that equality matters in terms of health and happiness, surprising new data reveals that it is also better for the environment – in the more equal rich countries, people on average consume less, produce less waste and emit less carbon.

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The flag of equality has many colours: a scene from the March of Equality, organized by LGBT and human rights activists in Kiev, Ukraine, in June 2016.

Firing up the change

The advantages of greater equality are clear – the more so as the negative effects of widening inequality in some countries become apparent. But how can we help turn the tide?

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When water supplies run dry in his village, Shiva Korade attempts to make a living selling sugarcane juice in nearby Pune.

Lessons from the thirst economy

Conflicts over water are on the rise in India, but climate change is not the only culprit. Fiona Broom reports on a powerful water mafia that is sucking India dry.

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Le Ciel and L’Amour can rest easy at last. Before they came to Foyer Jean Paul II, a recovery centre for girls who have undergone trafficking or forced marriage in Kara, Togo, they had to sleep rough, at risk of assault, robbery and sexual abuse.

To reach a place of safety

Photographer Ana Palacios documents the work to rescue and rehabilitate trafficked and abandoned children in Togo and Benin.

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A portrait of Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) female leader Bese Hozat.

‘Freedom can’t be contained by a wall’

In an explosive interview to New Internationalist, the Kurdish female leader Bese Hozat opens up about peace, the party’s view on the region and the independence referendum in South Kurdistan, and accuses Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the West to have incubated Isis. By Karlos Zurutuza.

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Read more blogs...



Praise, blame and all points in between? Your feedback published in the July 2017 magazine.

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Pablo's fair

Amy Booth visits an event of festive solidarity in support of a desperate cause.

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Country Profile: Afghanistan

The facts, figures, images and NI assessment of Afghanistan.

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Making Waves: Prafulla Samantara

The Indian human rights defender who stopped a mining giant in its tracks speaks with Veronique Mistiaen.

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Southern Exposure: Shuchi Kapoor

Dancing to her favourite Tamil song on New Year’s Eve

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And finally... Fatoumata Diawara

The internationally acclaimed Malian musician tells Megan Iacobini di Fazio about the power of song and why ‘world music’ is just music from the world.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews.

Mixed Media: Film - Hot Docs

Our pick from the 2017 Toronto Hot Docs – the largest documentary film festival in the world

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Mixed Media: Books

I Was Told to Come Alone; Trans Like Me; We: Reviving Social Hope

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