Call for papers
Economic inequality: crises, conflicts and threats for peace
Over the past decades, and especially immediately after the fall of communism, the issue of inequality in the distribution of income and wealth has been almost ignored by economists and by social scientists in general, although inequalities have been increasing both in developing and in developed countries. Even the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals ignored this issue, which is addressed instead in the current Sustainable Development Goals.
This attitude resulted from the idea that a larger economic equality would reduce the incentives for people to produce the right effort to improve their condition and, as a result, would impair economic efficiency. Over the last few years, however, many scholars, including Atkinson, Bourguignon, Deaton, Krugman, Milanovic, Piketty, Stiglitz and Wade among many others, and international institutions, like the OECD and the IMF, together with some NGOs like OXFAM, have been devoting their specific attention to economic inequality (although, to be fair, it needs to be acknowledged that some of those authors and institutions had been dealing with this issue for a long time already).
The reasons for this renewed attention have to be found in the negative effects of the increased economic inequality and in the consequences that this trend may produce even more dramatically in the future, in terms of open conflicts, threats to peace and crises of different nature (social, financial, economic, and including the migratory one).
As a matter of fact, besides ethical reasons for reducing gaps in income and wealth, economic inequality, both among and within countries, reduces social capital, weakens the citizens’ attitude towards social participation and inclusion, risks to increase poverty and in the end reduces the economic development potential of the countries that would be mostly in need of it. Moreover, a higher economic inequality induces the accumulation of private debt that may produce quite negative effects, as the recent global financial crisis has clearly shown.
The increase in economic inequality has many different causes. Yet, most of them seem to be related to the effects on less skilled workers and on the low-income segments of the population: the process of real and financial globalization (that moves manual labor from one side to the other of the world, and increases the weight of rents), technological progress (that increases the role of machines and capital with respect to labor in the production process), but also the reduction, if not the abandonment, of redistributive income policies and of the protection of workers.
Several solutions have been proposed so far to reduce income inequality, including a global tax on capital movements or a (low) global tax on wealth, combined with a return to the progressivity of income taxation; a tax on the use of machines (and robots) replacing human work; an increase of women’s participation in the labor market (at the condition of not being discriminated with respect to male workers); a reduction of precarious labor and an increase in the investment in human capital and in the qualification of workers.
Against this background, Scienza e Pace/Science and Peace has decided to devote a thematic section of its next issue to economic inequality and to its economic and not economic effects on peace, conflicts, and social relations in general. Just to provide a few examples, inequality might affect economic growth, social mobility, internal and global migrations, social services, corruption, the respect of the environment, the functioning of democracy and determine financial and economic crises. Needless to say, this will encourage both the raising of protests at different levels and the formation of social movements proposing changes in the economic model.
The journal invites economists, jurists, political and social scientists to submit research papers devoted to the analysis of the causes and consequences of economic inequality, and proposals to address and reduce this problem, from all possible points of view, but especially focusing on all possible implications for peace, conflicts and crises of different nature.
Instruction for the authors
Scienza e Pace/Science and Peace organizes a one-day conference that will take place on December 1, 2017 with the authors who will have submitted the abstracts found suitable by the editorial committee and who are expected to have at least a first draft of the paper ready by then. See here for the Conference programme.
Notice to the authors will be given by November 1, 2017.
A special issue of Scienza e Pace/Science and Peace will be devoted to the theme of the conference/roundtable and will include the papers presented at the conference and those that will be submitted in their final form by January 6, 2018.