Inequalities: A Concern for Capitalism and Global Strategy

Inequalities: A Concern for Capitalism and Global Strategy

Florica Tomos, Nick Clifton, Denis Hyams Ssekasi, Oana Cristina Balan
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7479-8.ch001
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This chapter explores the concern of inequalities in human history and throughout the globe. It aims to be a holistic perspective upon the inequality phenomenon with its multi-faceted aspects. The authors analyze capitalism and its main inequalities and question the origin of inequalities, their determinants, and their evolution across the history and nations. Within this context, the authors raise awareness of gender inequality as a component of the inequality concept. The authors undertook a systematic and unsystematic literature review to investigate the concept of inequality with its aspects and the role of capitalism in creating and supporting inequalities. An in-depth analysis was conducted by authors on both inequality and strategy in order to highlight gaps in the knowledge and to indicate trends for further research. Across the centuries there was a range of inequalities within the countries and between different countries, as well as between social categories, between men and women, between rich and poor.
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This chapter is mainly rooted within the writing by Picketty (2014), “Le capital du XXI siècle”, or in other words, “The Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, awarded ‘the Business Book of the Year, 2014’. Although, based initially on this comprehensive research study conducted by Piketty (2014) across a few centuries, the chapter aims to be an interdisciplinary research, incorporating within, economic and social aspects, as well as political perspectives, autobiographic (Torekull, 2012) and experiential perspectives upon Capitalism in general, and its last phase called ‘the digital Capitalism’. The study aims to design a holistic perspective upon inequality, which is a very complex and multi-faceted phenomenon, and to provide an interdisciplinary theoretical framework. The constructs of the theoretical research framework, suggested initially by the authors, originated from Picketty’s (2014) work and enlarged later with additional constructs, as follows: the economic systems, capitalism, capital, income, economic growth, and returns on capital, population growth, gender, education and technology. The objectives of this chapter are: (1) to discover and analyze various aspects of inequality and its historical evolution; (2) to find out the origin and the causes of inequality, and; (3) to provide a comprehensive, holistic theoretical framework, as the basis of possible global strategies to inequality awareness. The chapter comprises the following sections: Economic Systems and Capital Accumulation; Inequality and the Distribution of Wealth; Income, Economic Growth and Returns on Capital; Gender Inequality; Global Strategies; Research Method; Analysis and Discussions, and Conclusions.

Oxford Dictionary (1999) defines ‘inequality’ as ‘lack of equality’. In principle, there are two forms of inequality: internal inequality with multiple aspects and international inequality with its aspects. The internal inequalities are rooted within the socio-economical aspects of a country, whilst international inequalities regard the more ample conflict between the southern poorer countries of the Globe and the northern richer countries, with more advanced economies. The concept ‘inequality’ implies a concentration of riches or wealth to groups of countries, regions or social categories, or in other words, a polarisation of the economic power to certain groups or categories in the detriment of others. Picketty (2014) describes ‘wealth’ as ‘the accumulation of private capital’ and the ‘inequality’ as ‘a concentration of wealth to fewer individuals, corporations or companies’. Hence, the distribution of wealth becomes a concern for the majority, and finally leads to a conflict between the minority and majority, as a consequence of the unequal distribution of wealth, and due to inequality.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Net Domestic Product: The difference between the gross domestic product and the depreciation of the capital.

Economic Systems: Are instruments used for distribution of scarce resources and control of capital, labor, businesses, and all types of resources.

Gross Domestic Product: The total goods and services per year within a country.

Gender Inequality: Is an aspect of global inequality, and refers to the social construction of gender, a perspective which regards men as superior to women.

Global Strategies for Inequality: Are strategies which attempt to diminish the global inequality and to decrease the impact and the consequences of inequality.

Inequality: Is a lack of equality and incorporates both internal inequality with multiple aspects and international inequality with its aspects.

Capitalism: Is an economic system where the capital and the land are owned by individuals and businesses.

Gender: Regards the social construction perspective upon men and women, which divides individuals according to norms and their roles and relationships.

National Income: The total income which belongs to the residents of the country.

Wealth: Is equaled to prosperity, wellbeing, and riches.

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