32 episodes

The past year has been a tumultuous one -- the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the world works, but in ways that we do not yet understand, while #BlackLivesMatter has been challenging deep-seated structures of authority around the world.

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is a pandemic of inequality -- marginalized and racialized communities are far more vulnerable to the SARS-COV-2 virus. We know that #BlackLivesMatter challenges structures of inequality. We live in a world that on the one hand is richer than at any other time in human history but which on the other hand sees hundreds of millions of people living in poverty and global inequality being historically unprecedented. These forces can be starkly illustrated: on 20 July 2020 Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, added US$13 billion to his wealth in just one day.

Our world can at times appear to be out of control and beyond our comprehension. Yet it is possible to cut through this complexity and and unpack the key factors shaping the contemporary world. Human inequality in global perspective is designed to enable you to understand how our world of unparalleled affluence and immense deprivation came to be. After all, if we want the world to become a better place the first thing that we must do is try to better understand it.

Human Inequality in Global Perspective A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi

    • Science

The past year has been a tumultuous one -- the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the world works, but in ways that we do not yet understand, while #BlackLivesMatter has been challenging deep-seated structures of authority around the world.

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is a pandemic of inequality -- marginalized and racialized communities are far more vulnerable to the SARS-COV-2 virus. We know that #BlackLivesMatter challenges structures of inequality. We live in a world that on the one hand is richer than at any other time in human history but which on the other hand sees hundreds of millions of people living in poverty and global inequality being historically unprecedented. These forces can be starkly illustrated: on 20 July 2020 Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, added US$13 billion to his wealth in just one day.

Our world can at times appear to be out of control and beyond our comprehension. Yet it is possible to cut through this complexity and and unpack the key factors shaping the contemporary world. Human inequality in global perspective is designed to enable you to understand how our world of unparalleled affluence and immense deprivation came to be. After all, if we want the world to become a better place the first thing that we must do is try to better understand it.

    EP 08 International development assistance – help or hindrance? PT 5: How does international development happen?

    EP 08 International development assistance – help or hindrance? PT 5: How does international development happen?

    International development assistance, or "aid", is the transfer of resources at concessional rates of interest, which means rates of interest that are lower than those that could be obtained on financial markets. The Development Assistance Committee of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development goes further than this in formally defining aid, when it says that a least 25 per cent of the transfer must take the form of a grant, that the transfer must have improvements in human welfare through economic development as its objective, and the transfer must take place between official bilateral and multilateral agencies.

    International development assistance is a complex and messy business. Nonetheless, it can have dramatic impacts on human well-being. It is notable, for example, that when South Korean officials speak of their development experience since the end of the Korean War, they always highlight the role of aid in being a catalyst of social transformation. But in order to have a catalytic impact, the state receiving aid must be capable of absorbing it -- and that is often not the case.

    Part 5 of this Episode inquires about the role of international development assistance in the process of international development, and summarizes how international development happens.

    • 10 min
    EP 08 International development assistance – help or hindrance? PT 4: What is Canada's role in international aid?

    EP 08 International development assistance – help or hindrance? PT 4: What is Canada's role in international aid?

    International development assistance, or "aid", is the transfer of resources at concessional rates of interest, which means rates of interest that are lower than those that could be obtained on financial markets. The Development Assistance Committee of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development goes further than this in formally defining aid, when it says that a least 25 per cent of the transfer must take the form of a grant, that the transfer must have improvements in human welfare through economic development as its objective, and the transfer must take place between official bilateral and multilateral agencies.

    International development assistance is a complex and messy business. Nonetheless, it can have dramatic impacts on human well-being. It is notable, for example, that when South Korean officials speak of their development experience since the end of the Korean War, they always highlight the role of aid in being a catalyst of social transformation. But in order to have a catalytic impact, the state receiving aid must be capable of absorbing it -- and that is often not the case.

    Part 4 of this Episode considers Canada's international development assistance.

    • 10 min
    EP 08 International development assistance – help or hindrance? PT 3: Current developments in aid policy and practice

    EP 08 International development assistance – help or hindrance? PT 3: Current developments in aid policy and practice

    International development assistance, or "aid", is the transfer of resources at concessional rates of interest, which means rates of interest that are lower than those that could be obtained on financial markets. The Development Assistance Committee of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development goes further than this in formally defining aid, when it says that a least 25 per cent of the transfer must take the form of a grant, that the transfer must have improvements in human welfare through economic development as its objective, and the transfer must take place between official bilateral and multilateral agencies.

    International development assistance is a complex and messy business. Nonetheless, it can have dramatic impacts on human well-being. It is notable, for example, that when South Korean officials speak of their development experience since the end of the Korean War, they always highlight the role of aid in being a catalyst of social transformation. But in order to have a catalytic impact, the state receiving aid must be capable of absorbing it -- and that is often not the case.

    Part 3 of this Episode explores recent developments in international development assistance policy and practice.

    • 10 min
    EP 08 International development assistance – help or hindrance? PT 2: Why is aid volatile?

    EP 08 International development assistance – help or hindrance? PT 2: Why is aid volatile?

    International development assistance, or "aid", is the transfer of resources at concessional rates of interest, which means rates of interest that are lower than those that could be obtained on financial markets. The Development Assistance Committee of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development goes further than this in formally defining aid, when it says that a least 25 per cent of the transfer must take the form of a grant, that the transfer must have improvements in human welfare through economic development as its objective, and the transfer must take place between official bilateral and multilateral agencies.

    International development assistance is a complex and messy business. Nonetheless, it can have dramatic impacts on human well-being. It is notable, for example, that when South Korean officials speak of their development experience since the end of the Korean War, they always highlight the role of aid in being a catalyst of social transformation. But in order to have a catalytic impact, the state receiving aid must be capable of absorbing it -- and that is often not the case.

    Part 2 of this Episode examines the reason why international development assistance may be highly volatile, in the amounts transferred, in the places that receive the transfer, and in the objective of the transfer.

    • 10 min
    EP 08 International development assistance – help or hindrance? PT 1: What is aid?

    EP 08 International development assistance – help or hindrance? PT 1: What is aid?

    International development assistance, or "aid", is the transfer of resources at concessional rates of interest, which means rates of interest that are lower than those that could be obtained on financial markets. The Development Assistance Committee of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development goes further than this in formally defining aid, when it says that a least 25 per cent of the transfer must take the form of a grant, that the transfer must have improvements in human welfare through economic development as its objective, and the transfer must take place between official bilateral and multilateral agencies.

    International development assistance is a complex and messy business. Nonetheless, it can have dramatic impacts on human well-being. It is notable, for example, that when South Korean officials speak of their development experience since the end of the Korean War, they always highlight the role of aid in being a catalyst of social transformation. But in order to have a catalytic impact, the state receiving aid must be capable of absorbing it -- and that is often not the case.

    Part 1 of this Episode defines international development assistance and distinguishes it from private aid.

    • 11 min
    EP 07 Regulating globalization and international trade PT 4: Globalization and its discontents

    EP 07 Regulating globalization and international trade PT 4: Globalization and its discontents

    As we have seen, globalization is the economic integration of trade, production and finance on a world scale. However, the process of globalization is not unfettered; it is regulated, by the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO has an immense impact on our lives, but it is little known, and little understood. Moreover, given that there has been a slowdown in globalization since 2008 it is important to understand how governments have responded. Finally, given the role of globalization in the contemporary world, we need to ask: has globalization contributed to global poverty and human inequality? 

    In Part 4 of this Episode evaluate why countries enter into international trade and investment agreements, and whether these agreements are associated with rising human inequality.

    • 8 min

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