Inequality and social mobility, an interesting discussion

Canada2020 event February 26 2013

“The idea that all citizens should have an equal chance to succeed in life, regardless of where they start, is fundamental to liberal societies and emblematic of the American—and Canadian—dream” is the way a Canadian think tank, Canada2020, introduces a panel discussion it hosted that explored the idea of economic mobility, why it is important, and how it is related to inequality of outcomes.

I was a member of the panel and had a very interesting—and at times humorous and entertaining—discussion with Zanny Minton Beddoes the economics editor of The Economist, Carolyn Acker the founder of Pathways to Education, and Ron Haskins a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. You can view the entire discussion, which was moderated by Diana Carney, by clicking on the following screen shot (and waiting a bit for it to load):

The short presentation I made at the beginning of the talk is, if you are interested, available here: Equality_of_Opportunity_A_Canadian_Dream_for_Canada2020

I plan on revising the background document I wrote for the event—which you can download from the Canada2020 website—and would therefore be very pleased to hear your views on the discussion, and any specific feedback you might have.


4 thoughts on “Inequality and social mobility, an interesting discussion

  1. Did you inadvertently omit the link to the video of the full discussion?

    Eleanor Batchelder

  2. Hi Miles,
    It was enjoyable to hear you in person. I also enjoyed hearing the other panelists, in particular Carolyn Acker whose front-line perspective and passion added a lot to the discussion.
    I was somewhat disappointed not to hear mention of the broader issue of wealth inequality, and the tricky issue of labour vs. corporate share of income. As Zanny mentioned, inheritance taxes have vanished in several countries, and could have a role to play for intergenerational mobility, even though there will always be an incentive to cheat such efforts.
    I was pleased to hear Richard Wilkinson’s work mentioned during the Q&A, and would have liked to have heard a link to our own Russell Wilkins, whose studies measuring differences in life expectancy and income differences were so striking to me and first really drew me into the study of inequality as a moral issue.
    There was another interesting question about financial literacy, and I wish some of the good work done by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada had been mentioned, along with other steps such as getting it into the Ontario school curriculum.
    Some starter links below to what’s mentioned above.

    Click to access 82-003-s2002007-eng.pdf


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