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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 11 - 17  > Sustainable economic development impossible in a society with huge inequality
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2018 July 11 - 17 TOP3 [ECONOMY]

Sustainable economic development impossible in a society with huge inequality

July 13, 2018

Akahata ‘current’ column

At a study meeting on workers’ actual conditions, a painter talked about his workday. He gets up at 5 a.m. to prepare for work and stays until late at the office to meet with clients. Furthermore, he has no choice but to accept low unit prices. He said, “I wish I had a little more money and time.” Most workers in Japan would sympathize with him.

A recent Akahata survey found that in the business year ending in March 2018, a record high of 530 executives in listed companies received a salary of 100 million yen or more. The highest earner is the former Sony CEO who received 2.7 billion yen. The gap between top executives and rank-and-file workers is growing.

Former French resistance fighter Stehane Hessel, who took part in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in his book in 2011 underscored the need for economic reforms aimed at narrowing the unacceptably-large disparities between the poor majority and a handful of the super-rich who can be regarded as members of the privileged classes.

Until his death in 2013, Hessel had kept calling on the public to direct anger at the abnormally-huge inequalities between the haves and have-nots. He must have felt a strong sense of crisis over the fact that the growing poverty and widening economic disparities in the world are undermining the basic principle of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that all human beings are equal in dignity and rights and entitled to the right to live a decent life.

The lavish incomes of executives in large corporations mainly consist of dividend incomes from shares of their own companies. The extremely-large income gap is a result of government policies favoring large corporations and the rich, such as policies to help increase stock prices and reduce corporate tax rates. This is not a natural disaster but a man-made disaster.

Sustainable development cannot be expected in a society where the economic disparity is large and anyone can fall into poverty at any time. The urgent need now is to drastically change current economic policies in order to properly deal with the issues of poverty and social inequality.

Past related article:
> Over 530 company executives earn more than 100 million yen in 2017: Akahata survey [July 1, 2018]

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