The CSR Newsletters are a freely-available resource generated as a dynamic complement to the textbook, Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainable Value Creation.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Strategic CSR - Inequality

The article in the url below highlights the issue of wealth inequality across the globe:
"Earlier this year, Oxfam International released a surprising report that found that the top 1% of income earners in the world are poised to own more than half of all global wealth in 2016. The study was unveiled just prior to the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland this past January."
The jump to over 50% of total wealth has increased rapidly in the past few years:
"Specifically, the study found that the wealthiest 1% on the planet have seen their share of wealth increase from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014. In the past five years alone, the richest 80 [people] experienced a doubling of their wealth in cash terms."
The contrast at the bottom end is striking:
"This means that 80% of the global population own a mere 5.5% of the world's wealth … with more than a billion people worldwide living on less than $1.25 a day."
In response, Oxfam is advocating a seven point plan that it claims will address the "consequences … inherent in extreme income inequality":
  1. Clamp down on tax dodging by corporations and rich individuals.
  2. Invest in universal, free public services such as health and education.
  3. Share the tax burden fairly, shifting taxation from labour and consumption toward capital and wealth.
  4. Introduce minimum wages and move towards a living wage for all workers.
  5. Introduce equal pay legislation and promote economic policies to give women a fair deal.
  6. Ensure adequate safety-nets for the poorest, including a minimum income guarantee.
  7. Agree to a global goal to tackle inequality.
While I would quibble with point 4 (I am not sure paying everyone a living wage as a minimum, irrespective of productivity, would do anything other than increase inflation) and am unsure what point 7 means (a good way to make a short bullet point list to tackle a massive problem is to make the last point basically 'anything else we need to do to reach the goal'), in general I support the list. In particular, I think points 1-3 are essential and reverse elements of public policy that have become corrupted over the years.
I wonder what the chances are that this plan (or any part of it) is going to be given serious consideration in the corridors of power?
Take care
David Chandler & Bill Werther
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The 1% Will Own Half of Global Wealth by 2016, but Oxfam Has a Plan to Even Things Out
By Laura Kiesel
May 7, 2015
Main Street