Global inequality has risen in recent years, even in circumstances where aggregate growth rates have risen.
In the recent global recession, developed nations have strengthened their own safety nets while cutting development assistance to poor nations. This approach reflects a response to the genuine needs of these countries’ own citizens, but it has ignored the compelling claims of people outside of the boundaries of the wealthy nations.
Thus, the policy question confronting wealthy nations is not whether those nations should join with poor nations in a new global social contract. Rather, it is how this new contract can respond to the claims of the citizens of both rich and poor nations to decent lives and secure futures.
Several methods of cross-class political dialogue can guide wealthy democracies as their social contracts shift toward a global approach.