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Search words: education

Launch of Equality: From Theory to Action

category dublin | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Wednesday November 17, 2004 12:13author by ESC Report this post to the editors

Book Launch From UCD Equality Studies Centre

‘A truly extraordinary book’ - Professor Erik Olin Wright, University of Wisconsin, Madison
‘A major achievement that should be on the reading list of every politician, academic and activist’
Professor Madeleine Arnot, University of Cambridge

Equality: From Theory to Action (by John Baker, Kathleen Lynch, Sara Cantillon and Judy Walsh of the Equality Studies Centre, UCD) is being launched in the National Library by Michael D. Higgins at 6pm on Wednesday November 17th.

Equality: From Theory to Action is a ground-breaking book that sets out a new interdisciplinary model for understanding equality. This highly accessible book has received strong acclaim already internationally for ‘providing a powerful framework for a new egalitarianism in the 21st century’. It proposes far-reaching changes in the economy, politics, law, education and research practices to create more inclusive societies in Ireland and elsewhere. It also outlines a set of innovative political strategies for achieving a more socially just society, and as such, is an invaluable resource not only for academics and activists.

§ Equality is a fundamental principle governing the operation of all democratic societies. It is enshrined in a range of international agreements to which Ireland is party and which it has formally ratified, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Social and Economic and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civic and Political Rights. It is also a central principle underpinning the Belfast Agreement of 1998.

§ Equality is a prerequisite for the exercise of several important freedoms, including the freedom to participate actively in political life, to have a home of one’s own, to enjoy education to the full or to be culturally active and engaged Put simply, the cost of living in society is the cost of participating in it. People who have less resources, power, status and/or care cannot participate on equal terms with those who have more, not least because the norms or standards of participation are set by those who are better off.

Inequality is bad for you

Systematic and objective analysis of data drawn from multiple sources of research evidence shows that inequality is deeply dysfunctional for society, both in the short and the long term.

· Inequality undermines democracy. Those who are treated unequally within the state have, over time, little loyalty to the political system. Wealth and income inequalities, for example, contribute to political alienation from the democratic process.

· Inequality is inefficient. It leads to many of the talents and capabilities in society being under-developed and under-utilised. This is due in no small part to the fact that significant minorities leave education without any formal qualifications and/or become alienated from an education system in which they know they cannot compete on equal terms with those with vastly greater resources.

· Inequality contributes to crime. When society encourages mass consumption through advertising and when the price of consumption is too high for those on low incomes, alternative ‘economies’ based on crime and/or illegal trading ensue with all the attendant costs to the exchequer that managing crime entails.

· Inequality is bad for your health. It is beyond dispute that deprivation, poverty and their attendant consequences can impact adversely on people’s health. What is more surprising is that the experience of inequality itself can impact in a negative way upon national health status. International research demonstrates how more egalitarian well-off countries like Sweden and Japan have better health rates than their richer, yet more unequal counterparts such as the U.S. and the U.K.

For more information contact: tel: 7167872 Tel: 7167623 (on leave until Jan 05) Tel: 7167504

author by joepublication date Wed Nov 17, 2004 14:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So whats the solution?

author by Paddypublication date Thu Nov 18, 2004 11:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its simple: join the Labour Party, get into government with those other great defenders of the 'marginalised' Fine Gael and the Greens and watch as they take on 'the powerful and priveleged' by establishing bottom up particapatory democracy! Remember how Michael D. did all of that the last time (tax amnesties etc?).

What a pity tto see radical academics end up being a fig leaf for the Blairite Labour Party

author by John Baker - Equality Studies Centrepublication date Thu Nov 18, 2004 14:32author email john.baker at ucd dot ieauthor address Equality Studies Centre, UCDauthor phone 01 716 7872Report this post to the editors

We are well aware of the criticisms egalitarians have of social democratic parties and discuss this issue at length in chapter 12 of our book. One aspect of this issue is to recognise that there are internal disagreements within these parties and that egalitarians need to cooperate with the radical elements within such parties. I invite Paddy to have a look at that chapter and continue the discussion.

Related Link:
author by Paddypublication date Fri Nov 19, 2004 14:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Clever trick to get me to buy the book eh?

Seriously, though, Im ploughing through it (what with all this activism finding it hard to get time to read) and I will respond to your specific comment when I get to chapter 12.

Meanwhile as a taster, could you give me an example of where a radical wing of an otherwise conservative/mainstream social democratic party has had a major impact, in terms of forcing the implementation of radical democratic reforms in either political or economic sphere?

Lets start with the Irish Labour Party: never happened in its entire history.

More after chapter 12!

author by Marxistpublication date Tue Nov 23, 2004 10:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The proletariate must rise up and eliminate the bourgeoise and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat after which it will fade away and inevitably a free society of total equality will emerge.

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