Many who look to understand the incredible wealth gap are quickly lost in the exclusive language of finance. When it comes to the inner workings of financial institutions, the rise and fall of markets, the tangled web of international debt, or even just our own personal finances, most of us are lost. In short, we are financially illiterate.
The two great challenges of our time -- inequality and climate change -- are threatening to undermine the efforts of millions of people to escape poverty and hunger. By concentrating wealth and power in the hands of a few, inequality robs the poorest people of the support they need to improve their lives.
If the trend of rising inequality is allowed to continue, we not only risk condemning billions to poverty and exclusion, we put the stability and cohesion of our societies and the sustainability of the whole planet at risk. The evidence is clear: Today's extremes of inequality are threatening to set the fight against poverty back by decades.
Two potent forces power the Ebola and ISIS epidemics that the media are ignoring. They're (1) breakdown of governing authority, and (2) dissolution of "social capital" -- ties of trust and cooperation that empower individuals, families, and others to forge coalitions and tackle common problems at the community level.
You hear these stories all the time in Africa -- the brutality, the never-ending death and starvation. It's easy to become immune. And then you meet someone like Rebecca. She says she misses the way her husband made her laugh; she misses the way he held her and you think -- you're just like me. That's what I'd say about my husband. She says she can't think about him now because her heart will break, and she has to keep going for her children.