By Ben Phillips, Advisor to the United Nations, governments and civil society organisations, former Campaigns Director for Oxfam and for ActionAid, and co-founder of the Fight Inequality Alliance. He is the author of “How to Fight Inequality”
This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.
COVID-19 did not create the inequality crisis. But COVID-19 is seeing inequality metastasise into the most socially dangerous global emergency since World War II. The problem is clear. The OECD Secretary-General has rightly drawn the analogy with the Post-War reconstruction and Marshall Plan to illustrate the level of ambition needed. Opening the OECD conference on “Confronting Planetary Emergencies”, President Michael D Higgins of Ireland set out the need for a “radical departure” from “decades of unfettered neoliberalism” which have left people “without protection as to basic necessities of life, security and the ability to participate”. As he noted, “it is no longer sufficient to describe, however brilliantly, systemic failure. We must have the courage to speak out and work for the alternatives.”