We are currently preparing our new project Key Questions on Global Inequality, an interview series with public intellectuals from all over the world reflecting on the same five key questions about global inequality. We learn about their personal background, the places they have worked and lived, and how these have shaped their views on global inequality. We get to read their responses to some of the biggest questions of our age: what is global inequality, what causes it, and how to deal with it?
Global inequality is one of the most pressing issues of our time. Many social protests and uprisings over the last two decades have been protests against austerity, socio-economic grievances, racism, sexism, and other forms of human misery, all caused by or aggravated by various forms of inequality. From the late 1990s global justice movement to the Arab Spring, from Occupy Wall Street to anti-austerity movements in Europe and elsewhere in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, economic inequalities and insecurities have brought protestors to the street. Between 2018–2019, with a peak in the autumn of 2019, protests against social reforms, costly social services, low wages, austerity and more took place in countries including Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt France, Honduras, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Sudan, Taiwan and Zimbabwe. From the #MeToo movement to Black Lives Matter, the 21st century bears witness to continuing illegitimate gender and racial inequalities. From Oxfam reporting on extreme wealth inequality to the 2019 Human Development Report on global inequality, and from the current global pandemic to the intimate relationships between climate change and inequalities, global inequality is—and is very likely to remain—a main theme well into the 21st century.
Key Questions on Global Inequality will offer a unique room of reflection on our present predicament in a world of extreme global inequality. It is an opportunity to reflect upon different contemporary inequalities from around the world. It offers a place to step back and learn how key experts and intellectuals on global inequalities themselves came to think about inequalities in particular ways, and to understand the much larger historical contexts and dynamics of present-day inequalities. Readers will learn about personal and local experiences; they will gain insight into understanding and contextualizing inequalities, combining analytical and political approaches, and they will discover new paths and avenues for continuing their readings and learning. Combining personal histories and local stories with global concerns, sharp analysis of current affairs with an eye to the deep impacts of historical forces, Key Questions on Global Inequality is interviews on one of our most urgent global issues. Told through what are both personal stories and experts’ reflections on global inequalities and problem solving, the series is at the same time academic, political and highly contemporary.
A basic premise of the series is that experiences shapes people’s fields of inquiry and research¾that personal backgrounds and places they grew up or visited are crucial factors in influencing their views and thoughts about the world. The people interviewed for the series will represent a high degree of diversity, and they all show prior engagements with inequality in their capacity as scholars and public intellectuals. We almost cannot wait to start publishing the first interviews!