In 2014, Thomas Piketty, a French economist, ignited an international furor with the publication in English of his book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Piketty argued that global economic inequality, which had been declining between the 1930s and the 1970s, was now back at high levels not seen since the Industrial Revolution. In 2015, ahead of the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos, Oxfam announced that wealth inequality was reaching historic highs, with the combined worth of the world’s richest 1 percent about to overtake that of the remaining 99 percent. These findings sparked intense debate about the nature and structure of the societies we live in.Much of this debate confirms what many people already feel: that deep inequalities are ingrained into the markets and economic systems in which they are participating. Even where progress has been made at narrowing the gap between richer and poorer, multiple dimensions of disadvantage—such as race, caste, gender, and disability—continue to exclude large groups of people from greater prosperity and wellbeing. We can see how future generations are also being disadvantaged because we are not doing enough to stop the over-exploitation of Earth’s finite resources.The questions of how markets work, and who they work for, have never been more pressing.Teams at FSG and The Rockefeller Foundation, as well as other funders and intermediaries, have been working to harness the potential of markets for positive social impact for over a decade. Although there have been significant advances in areas such as shared value, impact enterprise, and impact investing, the prospect of large-scale, systemic market change remains elusive. We all need to do better.Our teams realized that we needed to better understand how positive progress in markets actu-ally happens, not just how we would like it to happen. If we could be better informed about the process of change, we could then refine our approach to better support the changes that reshape markets toward greater economic inclusion. In this report, we share the findings from our research and analysis as well as a proposal for how we and others could use those insights to be more effective going forward.

Shaping Inclusive Markets

Resource Key: B3567CD3

Document Type: report

Creator:

Author:

  • Anna Brown

Creators Name: {mb_resource_zotero_creatorsname}

Place:

Institution: FSG, The Rockefeller Foundation

Date: 2017

Language:

In 2014, Thomas Piketty, a French economist, ignited an international furor with the publication in English of his book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Piketty argued that global economic inequality, which had been declining between the 1930s and the 1970s, was now back at high levels not seen since the Industrial Revolution. In 2015, ahead of the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos, Oxfam announced that wealth inequality was reaching historic highs, with the combined worth of the world’s richest 1 percent about to overtake that of the remaining 99 percent. These findings sparked intense debate about the nature and structure of the societies we live in.Much of this debate confirms what many people already feel: that deep inequalities are ingrained into the markets and economic systems in which they are participating. Even where progress has been made at narrowing the gap between richer and poorer, multiple dimensions of disadvantage—such as race, caste, gender, and disability—continue to exclude large groups of people from greater prosperity and wellbeing. We can see how future generations are also being disadvantaged because we are not doing enough to stop the over-exploitation of Earth’s finite resources.The questions of how markets work, and who they work for, have never been more pressing.Teams at FSG and The Rockefeller Foundation, as well as other funders and intermediaries, have been working to harness the potential of markets for positive social impact for over a decade. Although there have been significant advances in areas such as shared value, impact enterprise, and impact investing, the prospect of large-scale, systemic market change remains elusive. We all need to do better.Our teams realized that we needed to better understand how positive progress in markets actu-ally happens, not just how we would like it to happen. If we could be better informed about the process of change, we could then refine our approach to better support the changes that reshape markets toward greater economic inclusion. In this report, we share the findings from our research and analysis as well as a proposal for how we and others could use those insights to be more effective going forward.

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