The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals call for us to build more equitable societies—leaving no one behind. While this mission underlies all of the goals, Goal 10 specifically addresses the problem of structural inequality, both within and between countries.
Despite gains in reducing extreme poverty worldwide, income inequality is on the rise. Even though the bottom 40 percent of the population in most countries has enjoyed income growth at a higher rate than national averages between 2010 and 2016, these gains were overshadowed by an increasing share of income growth at the top 1 percent. Roughly 80 individuals on earth hold the same amount of wealth as 3.5 billion of the world’s population, according to Oxfam.
The targets of Goal 10 include:
- Promoting laws, policies, and practices that ensure equal opportunities and reduced inequality across age, sex, race, ability, and economic standing.
- Improving global financial markets and institutions to enhance the representation of developing countries.
- Facilitate the safe and responsible migration of populations across borders, including the reduction of barriers to remittances and other financial flows.
The stories in this collection focus on efforts to tackle these issues and reduce inequalities within and between countries. Several of these solutions aim to level the playing field by providing direct financial support. Read the story by Robert Samuels to learn about how experiments in basic income assistance are working to provide economic stability to populations in the United States. Another program, first implemented in Seattle, WA, offers cash vouchers to voters, allowing them to counter the political influence of big donors.
Explore further to learn about how solutions are crossing borders. Various organizations in the US, Mexico, and Canada are leveraging technology to reach LGBTQ asylum seekers. And amidst the news of a trade war, read about how countries like Pakistan and Kenya are using financial incentives and bartering to reduce barriers to trade.
Click here for more stories in the Solutions Story Tracker on reduced inequalities.
- What is the difference between income inequality and wealth inequality? Define the terms and discuss their significance.
- What is the Gini coefficient? Define this economic measure and explain its significance.
- Identify and discuss some of the issues that result from high levels of economic equality.
- Explain the significance of remittances for developing countries. What are the arguments for and against the taxation of remittances? Evaluate and explain these positions.
- Examine at least two other SDGs and their targets alongside Goal 10. Then, either explain or illustrate how the targets of these SDGs relate or influence one another.
- Choose an Issue Area or a Success Factor related to Goal 10. Then, create a collection and select at least 4 (or more) stories from the Solution’s Story Tracker that relate to your topic. If working with groups, each group can present on the issues and solutions they found most compelling.
- Income inequality refers to earnings or wages, while wealth inequality refers to personal assets and an individual’s net worth. Although incomes have risen globally, wealth has increasingly become concentrated at the very top economic stratum.
- The Gini coefficient or index is an economic measure of inequality developed in 1912 by Corrado Gini. Countries with a higher coefficient on this scale experience greater levels of economic inequality. A coefficient of 0 represents "perfect equality," while a coefficient of 1 would represented "complete inequality." You may wish to have students create a Lorenz Curve to illustrate wealth distribution, and to lead into a discussion about wealth disparity and the economic mechanisms behind it. The UN reports on “investments in infrastructure, economic activity and social welfare in lower income countries with potential to reduce inequalities. But vast sums of international reserves have also accumulated and could be released for productive purposes. Likewise, the ratio of privately held capital versus publicly held capital has increased significantly with implications for public spending and investments in public goods that could equalize access to services and resources.” Consider the role of taxes in the redistribution of wealth within a country.
- One of the issues commonly cited as arising from a high concentration of wealth at the top is an imbalance in political representation favoring wealthy donors. Have students read the piece by Tanvi Misra and discuss the social implications of wealth inequality and a lack of political influence. Other issues may include access to healthcare, education, sanitation, and other utilities or services that stem from having "a voice at the table"
- Financial flows to developing countries in the form of remittances exceeded 500 billion USD in 2018, according to the World Bank. In an effort to discourage migration, some countries have considered taxing remittances. However, the targets of SDG 10 aim to reduce barriers to development and help increase financial flows across borders.
- Answers will vary by student—SDG 10 relates in large part to SDGs 1, 3, 4, 5, and 8 especially.
- Answers will vary—for more on creating collections, click here. For more on Success Factors, click here.