Equality In An Unequal World, Edition

The Convoco! Edition is an annual book series that collects contributions from our thinkers on Convoco’s annual topics. The edition is published in both German and English.

Equality in an Unequal World

Series: Convoco! Edition

Contributors: Marietta Auer, Paul Collier, Gabriel Felbermayr, Francisco H.G. Ferreira, Clemens Fuest, Raji Jayaraman, Francis Kéré, Kai A. Konrad, Stefan Korioth, Jörn Leonhard, Timo Meynhardt, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Christoph G. Paulus, Mathias Risse, Wolfgang Schön, Claudia Wiesner, Jonathan Wolff

Pages: 320

ISBN 978-1-9163673-6-4

Paperback: £9.99

Available here

Price EPUB: $6.49

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Inequality and diversity are basic characteristics of being human. We want and need a high level of equality as the foundation of society and as an expression of justice. Under the theme “Equality in an Unequal World,” Convoco discusses questions on the equality of opportunity and outcome, on the role of competition, and how social demands and state intervention in the name of equality can be reconciled with individual freedom. In the background always stands the principle of treating equals equally and unequals unequally. As the world faces global threats that have the potential to massively exacerbate existing inequalities, it is today more important than ever to take the concept of equality into our focus.


We should treat equals equally and unequals unequally. This principle must be the starting point when it comes to establishing rules and systems in a society in order to allow the possibility of justice. Equality should not be defined at the level of the individual, but at the macroeconomic level in our systems, because individuality means distinguishing oneself and indeed not being the same.
Corinne Michaela Flick

“What is the optimal level of inequality?” is a complex normative question, inextricably related to our broad conception of social justice. If it were possible to preserve all freedoms, increase prosperity, and eliminate all income differences at the same time, then “zero” might be the answer for the income space. But that is an impossible task.
Francisco H. G. Ferreira

Equality of opportunity is competitive and often requires us to have humiliating capacity testing for the people we’re trying to help. Therefore, we should
think differently about equality. Equality is really about respect for everyone rather than the distribution of things.
Jonathan Wolff

Equality has been one of the law’s most important concerns since antiquity. Nevertheless, the law cannot fulfil every conceivable claim to equality. A central concern of justice in the law is the creation of formal equality between persons. Legal measures that aim to establish substantive equality beyond that must be balanced against countervailing civil liberties on a case-by-case basis.
Marietta Auer

A strained relationship between promises of equality and experiences of inequality characterized many social developments since the 19th century. It influenced the credibility of laws, regimes, and actors—and continues to do so today.
Jörn Leonhard

Economics has an indispensable set of empirical tools to understand and address inequality. But unless applied economists find a way to incorporate justice into their otherwise remarkable toolkit, they risk losing their relevance in the eyes of a public hungry for justice.
Raji Jayraman

Anyone whose primary goal is striving for more equality of wealth would have to entertain the idea
of declaring war on the institutions that promote endogamy, that is class-conscious marriage.
Kai A. Konrad

A temporary decrease in social mobility may arise as part of a normal process of development as societies shift towards more meritocratic structures with wider opportunities for advancement.
Clemens Fuest

European leadership will need people with the moral decency to bring people together around a socially worthwhile purpose. They will need the communication skills to set that purpose as a common goal. And they will need the modesty to devolve agency to others.
Paul Collier

The COVID-19 pandemic and the energy crisis have drawn the state increasingly into the role of guaranteeing existing prosperity. Politicians consider it their duty to protect citizens from all kinds of turns of fate and not just guarantee a minimum social level. This policy often results merely in greater redistribution. The goal must be to equip society and the economy as a whole with resilience to face external influences.
Wolfgang Schön

The preconditions and contexts of liberal democracy are changing: digitalization changes democratic practices, experts gain influence, and the room for decisionmaking in national democracies in a globalized world is reduced. These changes affect democracy and endanger the principle of democratic equality.
Claudia Wiesner

We must never stop thinking about how we are implementing trade in an international and domestic system so that internationally countries are treated in some way approximating a status as equal participants in an international trade regime.
Mathias Risse

Protectionism is not a suitable means of combating inequality. Much more effective and efficient instruments are available for this purpose. Yet such instruments must actually be implemented so that the advantages of the international division of labor reach as many people as possible.
Gabriel Felbermayr

The law has always tried to create equality—not on a comprehensive basis, of course, but often only with regard to a small group. As an instrument for creating equality, however, it will always be necessary.
Christoph G. Paulus

Equality of outcome is the challenge of today. Making this a central issue reduces the freedom to act to the possibilities that remain once equality has been established.
Stefan Korioth

It is not enough if people see themselves as part of nature but attribute a separate value to it. The crucial step is the recognition of nature’s agency. Only then can inequalities in relation to nature be suitably addressed.
Timo Meynhardt

Francis Kéré’s work seeks to encourage those who have not been given the opportunity to fulfil their potential—quite literally building spaces for equality in an unequal world. His Serpentine Pavilion 2017 sought to connect its visitors to nature and to each other, speaking to the importance of equality among all living beings.
Hans Ulrich Obrist

The buildings inherited from the colonial past were built with high walls to protect decision-makers and their fake political system. I want my public buildings to be open gathering spaces. They should be walkable and accessible at any time. In this way, I hope political leaders will be forced to make the right decisions.
Francis Kéré


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