On the ground level, basic needs — including nutrition, housing, healthcare, and adequate schooling — are continually denied for billions of people, feeding the cycle of generational poverty. Ultimately, this allows for the perpetuation of discriminatory laws and practices in ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ countries alike.
All over the world, historical injustices such as slavery and colonization have created cycles of inequality that are spurred on by newer forms of institutional discrimination. These forms of systemic prejudice amplify and perpetuate social, political, and economic inequity globally.
One of the most obvious manifestations of this inequity is the increasing stratification of wealth occurring on both global and national scales. The top one percent of the global population holds 44 percent of the world’s wealth, while the bottom 57 percent holds just two percent of total wealth. Similar patterns are emerging within countries, as wealth gaps have widened or remained extremely high in nations such as the United States, Brazil, India, and China. For example, in the United States, national income inequality has reached a 50-year high in 2019, whereas income inequality in Brazil has remained at approximately its current level (one of the highest in the world) since 1980.
In addition to economic inequalities, which have led to the poverty, homelessness, and malnutrition of billions, much of the world’s population continues to face severe social and political marginalization due to discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, caste, and class. Indigenous and rural communities at the intersection of these identities are particularly impacted and endangered. With the increase of neo-liberal policies, the economic and political divide between privileged and marginalized groups has widened, cementing the inequities that have arisen from discrimination and further impeding societal mobility.
The Oakland Institute is documenting and reporting on inequities around the world, often at the behest of local communities. Our work highlights social, economic, and political disparities; the key actors and policies involved; and the impact on people and communities. The Institute’s reports reveal the pervasiveness of equity issues ranging from homelessness, land and retail consolidation, to the lack of migrant labor rights. Through detailed investigation and reporting, the Institute’s publications bring international attention to communities and problems that are most often ignored and suppressed.
Amidst a global pandemic, McDonald's with its estimated net worth of $163 billion, has failed to provide the basic protective gear to keep its workers safe. 33 cooks and cashiers, mainly Latino including 24 women, at its Telegraph Avenue location in Oakland are on a strike for this reason.
Forced to continue working in conditions that place their lives at risk, the harsh realities these workers face in daily life are coming center stage.
Early December, the Trump administration finalized a rule that will tighten work requirements to qualify for food stamps; a decision that will strip desperately needed food assistance from an estimated 700,000 people.
In the United States, thousands of women and children fleeing violence and poverty are detained as prisoners in for-profit family detention centers, like the South Texas Family Residential Center.
Condemning Donald Trump and Islamophobia is simply not enough. It is equally important to build wide societal opposition to such rhetoric and policies in order to fight against the rising tide of demagoguery that has the potential to turn into outright fascism in American politics.