Growing economic inequality: Responsible for desperate social exclusion and irreversible reality? Or just a myth?

When? Wednesday, 27 January 2016 | 7 p.m.
Where? Diplomatic Academy of Vienna
| Favoritenstraße 15a | 1040 Vienna

The discussion is part of The European Match. Controversies and Encounters
A series of talks hosted by ERSTE Foundation

Register here

The debates on social inequality and the problems it causes have become more heated over the past few years. Spearheaded by Thomas Piketty’s book Le Capital au XXI siècle [Capital in the Twenty-First Century] (2013) and the writings of British economist Anthony Atkinson, the discourse revolves around the major changes in business, culture and society resulting from the increasing inequality across the globe. Contrary to previous studies, almost all analyses nowadays primarily focus on a phenomenon that is considered new and specific to the current situation: social exclusion resulting from inequality. Globalisation is pinpointed as the trigger and driving force of this development. Migration and its impact on the labour market seem to be both the result and the catalyst of globalisation.

OECD studies document that massive social inequality is harmful to general economic development. The increase in inequality in the OECD area since the 1980s has led to declining growth rates of almost five percentage points of GDP in the long term. The growth-inhibiting effect can mainly be attributed to the increasing gap which separates the lowest 40 percent on the income scale from the rest. The situation in Europe is escalating and experts warn of extreme social polarisation and social tensions.

But what actually are the dangers caused by economic and social inequality? Do they threaten the foundations of social cohesion or even social peace? And how did it get this far in the first place? Is inequality actually an economic problem? How can we stop the gap between rich and poor getting wider? How much inequality can we expect society to put up with?

The event will be held in English and the entry is free.

PanelLisa Herzog, economist at the Institut für Sozialforschung in Frankfurt am Main

Branko Milanovic, economist, senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study Center (LIS Center), former lead economist in the World Bank’s research department

Matthias Strolz, Co-Founder and Chairman of NEOS

ModerationHanno Settele, ORF journalist



Wednesday, 27 January 2016
7 p.m.


Diplomatic Academy
of Vienna

Favoritenstraße 15a
1040 Vienna