SEI Conferences

Welcome to the web site for conferences hosted by the Stockholm Environment Institute.

Inequality and Sustainability

Debates over equity—the fair distribution of resources, costs, and benefits—and a closely
related topic, economic inequality, have arisen in the wake of the recent financial crisis.
The gap in wealth and income between those who came out well after the crisis and those
who did poorly has been widely noted. However, in a longer view this can be seen as part
of a much broader debate in which conflicting normative goals raise troubling questions,
complicated by uncertainties over how societies and economies do and should work. If
we are to build a prosperous society, does inequality do more to help or hinder the pursuit
of that goal? As we simultaneously seek an equitable and just society, then what level of
inequality is consistent with an equitable outcome?

The pursuit of a sustainable society raises further questions. Sustainability implies a normative
goal of inter-generational equity, and some have argued that lessened inequality and
increased equity may be preconditions for a successful transition onto a sustainable path.

At this conference we will look at equity and inequality through the lens of sustainability
and, conversely, at sustainability from the point of view of equity and inequality.
The conference aims to bring together sustainability, equity, and inequality researchers
to learn from one another about the current state of the art in their respective fields, and
to think creatively about the intersections of these fields and the application of these
important concepts to development policy debates.

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