South Africa is among a small group of uniquely unequal countries; if inequality acts as a constraint on growth – and greater equity unlocks it – how does it do so? What are the transmission mechanisms that lead to this effect? Can it be assumed that all forms of inequality are equal in this respect?
All forms of inequality impact negatively on social stability - people all over the world place a high value on fairness and equity, it seems. Such social instability has economic effects. Economic actors typically respond by reducing the scope of their activities, hedging their bets, limiting their risk, off-shoring their assets and investing in financial instruments that allow them flexibility rather than investing in productive activity that could create inclusive forms of growth.
About the Speakers
José Gabriel Palma is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Economics, Cambridge University. He has a D. Phil in Economics from Oxford University, a PHD from Cambridge University (by incorporation) and a D. Phil in Political Science from Sussex University. He worked during the Government of Salvador Allende in the nationalisation of the copper industry, and after his graduate work in the UK he worked as a lecturer at the universities of London, Sussex, Oxford and Cambridge. He has published articles and books dealing with the economics of developing countries, with a strong focus on Latin America and Asia. He has also written extensively on inequality, financial liberalisation and financial crises, industrial policy, de-industrialisation, the history of ideas in development economics and politics, and Latin American economic history.
Kate Philip has extensive experience in the development sector as a practitioner and in policy development, focused on issues of economic marginalisation, inequality, employment and enterprise development. She has provided advisory support to the South African Presidency on issues of inequality and economic marginalisation and through TIPS, she was lead author on a UNDP Working Paper entitled ‘The impacts of social and economic inequality on economic development in South Africa’. She played a central role in the design and development of South Africa’s Community Work Programme, and is currently supporting the Government of Greece in the design of a public employment programme. She is also a Senior Adviser to GTAC in National Treasury. Her PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2007 is entitled: ‘Enterprise on the margins: making markets work for the poor?’