Severe income and wealth inequalities are on the rise worldwide, particularly in developed countries like the United States.
According to French economist Thomas Piketty, author of the bestselling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, current trends will see the gap between the rich and poor widen over time. This presents the potential risk of several dark scenarios, including social instability, the erosion of democracy and barriers to upward mobility.
Piketty proposes a number of solutions to runaway inequality that are designed to operate at the national and international levels, including a highly controversial global wealth tax. Yet what are the tools to lessen inequality at the local level? Here are eight gleaned from Piketty’s book that apply to improving the economic health of citizens across Hamilton:
Knowledge and Skills Diffusion – provide broad and affordable access to quality education and training.
Growth – focus on economic and demographic growth within a sustainability framework that respects the environment and the needs of future generations.
Living Wage – pay people wages that strengthen the purchasing power and savings capacity of lower income families.
Public Policies – introduce municipal policies that distribute wealth, promote social inclusion and increase transparency.
Home Ownership – help grow the asset base and retirement nest eggs of individuals and families by expanding home ownership.
Urbanization – invest in city building that facilitates social mobility through the integration of people from all income levels.
Public Transit – create modern mass transit networks that connect all citizens to economic and lifestyle opportunities.
Capital – attract and retain capital needed to stimulate sustainable growth.
Hamilton has a history of progressive economic thinking that creates opportunity for all. This will be a competitive advantage in an age of growing inequalities that produce divisions among people and communities.