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Two recent reports, while focusing on different geographic areas and on seemingly different topics, call for similar policy outcomes: the prioritisation and delivery of the 5 WEAll needs: dignity, access to nature, connection, fairness and meaningful participation for all people.. 

Summary of two recent reports: 

Job Treadmill – European Environmental Bureau and the European Youth Forum , focused on a policy blueprint for creating employment in a post-pandemic EU and a vision for revolutionising the future of work.

Billionaire Wealth and Community Wealth – Institute for Policy Studies, focused on 12 US Corporations – the Delinquent Dozen– who need to do significantly  more to protect their workers as their owners and executives continue to reap billions. 

“Our economic system can best be depicted as an ‘endless treadmill’: the growth-driven market system works, as long as we become more productive,” says the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) in their new report, out last week.  

In order to combat this system that has adverse effects on livelihoods, inequality, working conditions, job security, the environment, leisure time, and meaningful work, the EEB suggests that we:

  1. Start questioning the current fundamentals and debating more sustainable alternatives;
  2. Reframe our core policy goals to enhance our collective wellbeing;
  3. Move beyond economic growth when measuring the success of our economies, instead using holistic socio-ecological indicators and;
  4. Embrace policies for transition that enable us to escape the ‘endless treadmill’, such as Universal Basic Income, Working Time reduction, Democracy at work (shifting decision-making power from corporate managers and corporate shareholders to larger group so shareholders, mainly workers) and the Job Guarantee.  

The Institute for Policy Studies’ recently published report, ‘Billionaire Wealth and Community Health’, dives into the topic of top US corporations that have seen their wealth surge as a part of their monopoly status in the US economy. These drastic gains are juxtaposed against the losses of hundreds of thousands of essential workers, who continue to risk their lives in order to make ends meet. The IPS calls for the embrace of transition policies to reduce the growing inequalities by deliberative actions for companies and policymakers.

The IPS suggests that:

  1. Companies employing essential workers must: immediately implement hazard pay of at least $5 per hour and continue providing it for the duration of the pandemic; provide substantial sick leave and bereavement leave benefits for workers; provide personal protective equipment at no cost to all their essential workers; and create workplace health councils. 
  2. Lawmakers should legislate protections for essential workers – meaning: establish a Presidential Commission on Essential Workers; support and facilitate the creation of workplace health councils so that workers can monitor and support enforcement of compliance with health and safety guidance; and create an Essential Workers Bill of Rights.
  3. Support Policies to discourage Billionaire Pandemic Profiteering – meaning: levy an Emergency Pandemic Wealth Tax on Billionaire Gains during 2020 and anExact and Excess Profit Tax; impose conditions on corporations receiving federal pandemic financial support to protect essential workers; establish a Pandemic Profiteering Oversight Committee; and pass a Stop Wall Street Looting Act (SWSLA).

Both of these reports share common threads:  strong ask for policy makers to protect worker’s rights, to shift to more environmentally and socially sustainable practices, move goals beyond economic growth at all costs to reduce inequality and seek balance, and above all: prioritise the wellbeing of people, ahead of profit.

It’s heartening to see the similarities in these  recent reports. While the language we use or the agle we approach economic systems  change may differ, ultimately, we  are all on the same team and working towards the same outcome. 

This is an example of cohesion that is needed to drive the Wellbeing Economy movement. 

We look forward to continuing to work with the WEAll Community to advocate for these necessary changes.  

Blog by Isabel Nuesse

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought long-avoided issues in the US into the light – such as the rampant racial wealth divide – and has sparked the world’s largest civil rights movement.

For instance, in Boston, white households have a median wealth of $247,500, while Dominicans and Black Households have a median wealth of close to zero.[1] And that was before COVID.

Now, the US is facing hugely disproportionate death-rates for Black and Native people than LatinX, Asian or White Americans. See the chart below:

On June 10th, Jerome H Powell, the Federal Reserve Chair said, “This is the biggest economic shock in the U.S and in the world, really, in living memory. We went from the lowest level of unemployment in 50 years to the highest level in close to 90 years, and we did it in two months.”

The Institute for Policy Studies suggests that White Supremacy is the pre-existing condition that has made the COVID-19 pandemic deadlier for people of colour. The racial wealth divide is a result of the history of the United States in of upholding the ideals and structures of White Supremacy, which disadvantage communities of colour.

The Institute for Policy Studies has identified eight solutions to ensure the post-COVID economic recovery diminishes the racial wealth divide and moves toward greater equity in wealth and assets:

  1. Improved Racial Data Collection as Part of Emergency Investments
  2. Racial Equity Audits of Crisis Relief and Recovery Policies
  3. Income Support that Expands to Guaranteed Income
  4. Postal Banking
  5. Medicare for All: Delinking Universal Health Care from a Job
  6. Expanding Inclusive Housing and Ownership
  7. Federal Jobs Guarantee with Living Wage
  8. Baby Bonds

We would highly recommend reading the full report to dive deeper into the racial wealth divide in the US and how we can start to Build Back Better toward a more equitable society.

You can follow the Institute for Policy Studies on social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.


[1] https://www.bostonfed.org/-/media/Documents/color-of-wealth/color-of-wealth.pdf

The below is the introduction to the report ‘The state of the growing movement fighting inequality‘. reposted from the Fight Inequality alliance

In the 21st century so far, levels of inequality within and between countries have been rising. The neoliberal economic system has enabled an explosion in the concentrations of wealth and power in our societies: 26 individuals now hold the same wealth as the 3.8 billion poorest people.1 Interconnected and systemic forms of oppression and inequity such as racism, patriarchy and homophobia shape the daily realities of the majority of the world’s population.

Rising authoritarianism is fuelled by growing inequality and concentration of power. It is resulting in attacks on freedoms and protections on assembly, association, and speech— rights that peoples’ movements exercise in order to organise and influence action—as well as the enhanced targeting of particular marginalised groups and minorities by many regimes.

The Fight Inequality Alliance was formed to fight this growing crisis of inequality. Numerous groups came together to establish the Alliance: leading international and national non-profit organisations, human rights campaigners, women’s rights groups, environmental groups, faith-based organisations, trade unions, social movements, artists, individual activists and other civil society organisations. They had a shared vision for radical, systemic change and tackling the root causes of inequality through a people powered movement2.

This research was initiated by Fight Inequality Alliance with the support of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme at the International Inequalities Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science. Fight Inequality Alliance partnered with Rhize to lead the research, building on their experience in studying multi-country social movements3.

This study was conducted in response to the evident gap in existing research on inequality, which has to date has focused on tracking and analysing its rise in different forms. Much less attention has been given to the analysis of campaigning and organising against inequality. This research aims to widen and deepen our collective understanding of movements fighting inequality around the world.

The research findings are based on 138 responses to a 30 minute survey and over 40 in-depth interviews conducted between 2018 and 2019 with people in 23 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe.

Read the report here

Let me start by telling you a secret, you can’t tell my boss though. When I first got a job at The Equality Trust I didn’t really know what inequality was. This is probably partly down to my privilege, but if you asked me to define it, there and then, as I was being interviewed, I’d have been toast. 

So when I started at The Equality Trust, I did what everyone does, I googled it. Then I read books on it, really good books. Then I watched Ted Talks on it and listened to podcasts but still it couldn’t quite stick. I couldn’t quite make sense of it in my head. Until I heard a story about it

Then I got it. Inequality is everywhere, every time you get that sick feeling of injustice in your stomach, the feeling you can’t define when you are a child, the feeling of sadness at the state of the world, that’s inequality. It’s everywhere and ever present. 

So how do we fight inequality? Well how about stories? After all, it worked for me.  

At The Equality Trust we have created a new platform to hear people’s stories about their experience of inequality… and it involves you. It’s called Everyday Inequality and brings home all the stats: think Humans of New York meets Everyday Sexism, but we’re talking about inequality in all its forms. 

We are facing unprecedented changes to our world. The climate crisis, shockingly unfair  levels of income distribution, insecure work and unequal pay. Inequality is entrenched in all these issues, yet there is no platform or forum providing information or access to the lived experience of inequality or its everyday impacts. Amongst the statistics, policy briefings and panels of experts, we forget real people’s voices and stories of inequality are lost. 

Everyday Inequality aims to change this. We are bringing together blogs, interviews, podcasts, poetry, music, art, videos and photography that showcase the real, diverse stories of what inequality feels like.

Videos, words, poems, performances – all forms of creative storytelling are welcome. Anyone can contribute, you don’t need any experience or a specific story to tell. You just need to be open to starting a conversation and talking about your personal experience, in whatever form you are most comfortable. We want this to be diverse and unique. Because inequality is bad for all of us, not just for people at the sharp end but those at top as well.

To find out more about the project, please get in touch with  frankie.galvin@equalitytrust.org.uk or visit our sign up form here. 

Frankie Galvin is Campaigns and Administrative Assistant at the Equality Trust

Last week’s edition of ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’, the podcast about ideas by Ed Miliband and Geoff Lloyd, focused on building wellbeing economies.

Looking at New Zealand’s recent wellbeing budget as well as what might be possible in the UK and elsewhere, the podcast included interviews with: New Zealand Finance Minister Grant Robertson, Annie Quick of the New Economics Foundation (NEF), academic Bronwyn Hayward and former UK Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell. Annie and Bronwyn are both members of WEAll, and all contributors to the podcast give in-depth analyses of what’s needed to build a wellbeing economy. There’s an important discussion too about the need to distinguish between subjective and collective wellbeing, with Annie Quick in particular making a great case for system change and looking at root causes in all their complexity (we agree Annie!)

Listen here now (56 mins): https://play.acast.com/s/reasonstobecheerful/b9dd227d-a3f1-4f3a-b242-d4125bf7ebeb

This week, as the World Economic Forum gets underway in Davos, Oxfam has unveiled its latest report on the global inequality crisis. They revealed that just 26 people hold more wealth than  the poorest 3.8 billion people in the world.

These shocking figures have generated a buzz of global conversation around what we can do about the situation – and we’ve been part of it, making the case in the media for a wellbeing economy.

WEAll Knowledge and Policy lead Katherine Trebeck has given interviews and written op eds for a number of media outlets – check out the coverage at the links below:

HuffPost
BBC Radio Scotland 
The Herald
The National
Holyrood Magazine