Unequal Futures?

Growing wealth gaps are the biggest threat to global sustainability today. Inequality can be expected to increase and spending as a share of GDP to fall. Economic inequality will likely reach unprecedented levels. Read on to discover the issues and potential solutions that we must all work to solve or suffer the potential consequences.
What is changing?


  • Achieving parity in labour force participation rates between men and womenin OECD countries could boost global GDP by 12% over the next 20 years. If we can double the pace at which women become frequent users of digital technologies, the workplace could reach gender equality by 2040 in developed nations and by 2060 in developing nations.
  • Total annual economic losses due to gender inequality in the labour market have averaged US$95 billion per year since 2010 in sub-Saharan Africa and could be as high as US$105 billion.
  • Feminist groups are looking to quash the production of sex robots out of very reasonable fear that they will contribute to gender inequality.


  • Just because income inequality is rising doesn’t mean that “happiness inequality” will rise in tandem.
  • The spike in income inequality will create social unrest.
  • If wage differentials continue along their current trajectory, the UK will have returned to Victorian levels of income inequality by 2030.
  • A central challenge to megacities is that perceptions of inequality will continue to rise.
  • The risk of rising inequality is evident in the declining shares of (routine) labor in national income.
  • Economists are concerned that the rise of robots in factories could worsenincome inequality by rendering certain human skills obsolete.
  • Growth in the developed world will be ‘weak’ for the next fifty years andinequality will rise by 40 per cent.
  • Across the OECD risks of poverty have been shifting from older generations towards young people since the 1980s.


  • Differences in schooling and educational attainment are already the most significant determinants of income inequality in China.


  • A glut of young workers, poverty, inequality, and urbanization-the most likely future is that informal employment will persist or grow in many or all economies.
  • A growing share of the workforce could be left behind even as digital technologies increase overall income.


  • Reducing vulnerability to disasters will depend on tackling poverty andinequality.


  • Efforts to reduce societal gender inequality could potentially lead to major reductions in child malnutrition and mortality in low- and middle-income countries.
  • The nexus of energy and inequality will gain greater prominence in 2016.
  • AI will bring challenges in areas like inequality and employment.
  • The absolute number of people living in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa could increase by over 50 million between 2011 and 2030 to 470 million people.


  • Inequality will increase if brain chips become available because initially they will be obtainable only by the wealthy.
  • Radical enhancement will threaten the very social compact that underpins liberal democracies in the United States and elsewhere.
  • The spread of robotics and intelligent computers will exacerbate social inequality across the globe.
  • Simply expanding access to the Internet will not stem the tide of inequality it is creating.


  • A new McKinsey Global Institute report finds that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality.
  • Australia’s GDP could grow by 11% if the female labour force participation rate rose to equal men’s.
  • Global gender equality is smart business-it could result in a 27% boost to India’s economy alone.
  • Eliminating barriers discriminating against women working in certain sectors or occupations could increase labor productivity by as much as 25% in some economies.

Climate change

  • Climate change could put more pressure on the availability of drinking water and contribute to food shortages.


  • Higher connectivity between people, cities and countries can increase therisk of pandemics, inequality, financial instability or pollution.
  • Digital equality will be critical to keeping all citizens engaged in their cities’ futures.


  • A minimum income could help reduce the impact of technological unemployment on further exacerbating inequality.
  • Reform in superannuation could lower inequality by narrowing differences across households.
  • The rise of digital technologies could possibly be playing a part in creating an extreme elite of the very rich.
  • The rise of robots could depress wages.
  • The publication of pay ratios will likely help to reduce pay inequality as a result of the outrage that ratios would produce.
  • AI could drive global unemployment to 50%.
  • Equity-based remuneration could potentially play a role in alleviating inequality.


  • Efforts to reduce societal gender inequality could potentially lead to major reductions in child malnutrition and mortality in low- and middle-income countries.
  • There are now more women in public office than ever before but encouraging more women leaders across all regions will help strengthen policies and legislation for greater gender equality.
  • One may expect a counter-wave of right and left radicalism in the developed world.

Sentiment analysis

Sentiment - Unequal


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