More than 80 years after George Orwell wrote in his classic Animal Farm that “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others,” his barbed observation on disparity rings ever truer for humankind.
Despite improvements in some parts of the globe, the World Bank says “extreme poverty remains unacceptably high.” Globally, 1 in 10 is below the poverty line, somehow surviving on less than $1.90 a day.
If such staggering inequality doesn’t provoke the rich to concern for reasons of the heart, it should at least cause them to reflect on the ongoing health of their wallets. The World Economic Forum sees the rising gap between the haves and the have-nots, and the social polarization it breeds, as a major threat to world financial stability.
Such kinds of situations—the more extreme of a continuum of injustices—continue across Asia and other parts of the world because of a complex web of factors: social prejudice, gender discrimination, lack of education, and more.
Not surprisingly, then, fair employment and rights at work are among the core emphases of the United Nations’ annual World Day of Social Justice, celebrated on Feb. 20.
Poverty is not just a divide between the West and the rest, however. The gap between the rich and the poor may be as wide as an ocean or as narrow as a billboard.