It’s already been a busy start to the New Year. But an event I took part in last week – a panel debate at Oxford University on whether the global economy can be saved from itself – caused me to pause and take stock for a moment.
The Chair of the event, the wonderful Professor Ngaire Woods, asked me to describe what I see as being the top challenges for 2023.
I chose rising poverty and rampant inequality. Two sides of the same coin, so to speak.
As the global elite gather in Davos, Survival of the Richest, new Oxfam research released today, shows that it’s the first time in a quarter of a century that extreme poverty and extreme wealth have been increasing simultaneously. The rich are getting much richer and the poor poorer. Since 2020, almost two thirds of all new wealth has gone to the richest 1 per cent, while global progress in reducing extreme poverty has ground to a halt. We’re now expecting to see the largest increase in global inequality since World War II.
My comment piece in today’s Express sets out some important ways we can tackle this head on. But Ngaire also asked me what reason I saw to be hopeful for the year ahead. And my answer was this…
Everywhere we turn, we see rule books being ripped up, from fiscal responses to COVID-19 and energy price shocks, to the way data and money moves around the world. And this augurs well. An increasing number of radically different – radically better – models and solutions for tackling the global challenges we face are in the pipeline and the momentum to see them come to fruition is nearing its tipping point.
As I set out in a recent article for the Financial Times, these are models that dispense with the growth at all costs mantra, instead placing the highest value on the things that truly matter, including people – all people – and planet.
I’m excited that Oxfam will be right there, playing our part alongside many others to turn these ideas into new realities. As we go, I intend to blog more regularly, so do follow me on Twitter for new-blog updates and share with others.