Inequality is rising across the post-industrial capitalist world. The problem is not caused by politics and politics will never be able to eliminate it. But simply ignoring it could generate a populist backlash. Governments must accept that today as ever, inequality and insecurity are the inevitable results of market operations. Their challenge is to find ways of shielding citizens from capitalism's adverse consequences -- even as they preserve the dynamism that produces capitalism's vast economic and cultural benefits in the first place.
Since their inception in 2000, The Millennium Development Goals have revolutionized the global aid business, using specific targets to help mobilize and guide development efforts. They have encouraged world leaders to tackle multiple dimensions of poverty simultaneously and provided a standard for judging performance. As their 2015 expiration looms, the time has come to bank those successes and focus on what comes next.
For all the differences between Democrats and Republicans that were laid bare during the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign, the parties' standard-bearers, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, do seem to have agreed on one thing: the importance of equal opportunity.
Two recent books reveal the ugly underbelly of India's success story. A vast gulf has opened up between the rich and the poor, corruption suffuses every aspect of life, and the country's political leaders lack the vision needed to turn this would-be world power into an actual one.
Over the past three decades, Washington has consistently favored the rich -- and the more wealth accumulates in a few hands at the top, the more influence and favor the rich acquire, making it easier for them and their political allies to cast off restraint without paying a social price.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon argues that with the help of the private and public sector, women entrepreneurs are helping to combat global poverty, but more work is needed to overcome the challenges of access to finance, access to markets, and access to skills-building and networks.
Blake Clayton says the biggest challenge of building the twenty-first century energy economy isn't just the transition from dirty fuels to cleaner, sustainable ones; it's about making the advances of the last two centuries available to the world's poorest people.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.