Is inequality a choice?

World renowned economist, Nobel Laureate (2001) and former Chief Economist for the World Bank, Prof Joseph Eugene Stiglitz, recently gave a public lecture jointly organised by Namibia’s three universities, NUST, UNAM and IUM. Prof Stiglitz presented combined principles from his two books, “The Price of Inequality” and “The Great Divide,” during the lecture that was attended by top government officials and key personnel in the country’s academic circles.

The talk, themed, “Transforming an Economy: Challenges and Lessons for Namibia,” looked at global trade, industrialisation, wealth creation and the role of the public and private sectors in a developing economy. Whilst Stiglitz applauded Namibia’s economic strides in comparison to other African countries, he cautioned that all countries are in need of a structural transformation and that policies must constantly be re-engineered for improvement. “Namibia has been relatively successful in its growth, but has not done so well in achieving its shared prosperity. This country has the potential for taking better advantage of its resources,” Stiglitz claimed.

The Special Adviser to the NUST Vice-Chancellor, Prof Errol Tyobeka, alluding to a bold assertion made by Prof Stiglitz, calling inequality a choice, said: “This statement both awakened our sensibilities and challenged us at the same time. It is saying that inequality does not happen by accident, but is the result of policies and choices. It is also saying that we now have to take responsibility for these past choices, understand how we got to where we are, and start making new choices that will consign the reality of inequality to history.”

The event was concluded with a dialogue session that provided students and academics with a platform to engage with Prof Stiglitz.

Date: 
Friday, June 3, 2016
for Month: 
June, 2016

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