Building peace in the minds of men and women

World Social Science Report 2016


© Suso33. All rights reserved. AUSENCIAS (‘Absences’), Suso33 (Logroño, Spain, 2008)

Key messages


  • Economic and political power are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small number of people. This can threaten growth, social cohesion and the health of democracies;
  • Global economic inequality declined during the first decade of this century, largely because of the reduction of poverty in countries such as China and India. This favourable trend could, however, be reversed if inequality within countries continues to increase;
  • Reducing inequalities is a requirement for human rights and justice, and is essential for success in other global priority areas, such as environmental sustainability, conflict resolution and migration;
  • Inequalities should not be understood and addressed only in relation to income and wealth. They interact across seven key dimensions: economic, political, social, cultural, environmental, spatial and knowledge;
  • In recent years, some countries have succeeded in reducing or at least halting rising inequalities. Simultaneous, integrated policy actions in different spheres are needed to tackle multiple inequalities, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution;
  • Responses to inequality must recognize and address the specific historical legacies and deep-rooted cultural practices that shape inequalities;
  • While reducing inequalities is important everywhere, a clear priority for action lies in the poorest countries of sub-Saharan Africa. This is the region in which poverty will be concentrated in the coming decades if inequalities remain as high as they are;
  • Collective action by citizens is opening up space for novel solutions to inequality that can inspire inclusive policy innovation;
  • A step change towards a research agenda that is interdisciplinary, multiscale and globally inclusive is needed to inform pathways toward greater equality.