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How Much Inequality is there in Ireland and Who Cares? Pobal Conference Realising Equality and Inclusion: Building Better Policy and Practice. Dublin Croke.

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Presentation on theme: "How Much Inequality is there in Ireland and Who Cares? Pobal Conference Realising Equality and Inclusion: Building Better Policy and Practice. Dublin Croke."— Presentation transcript:

1 How Much Inequality is there in Ireland and Who Cares? Pobal Conference Realising Equality and Inclusion: Building Better Policy and Practice. Dublin Croke Park Conference Centre November 22 nd 2007 Kathleen Lynch, UCD Equality Studies Centre, School of Social Justice

2 2 Context 1: privatising of public services through neutralised neo-liberal language Public Services including Education, Health and Caring are seen as the new target for investors –once privatised (GATS agreement, EU Services Directive) –Reorganisation of the public sector is presented as a simple Technical Solution to technical problems to improve ‘efficiencies’ There is an institutionalising of market values by technical processes e.g. the creation of ‘internal markets’ within institutions– each department competes with the other for funding/focus on what can be measured Hidden hand of the market is masquerading as neutral through the discourses of ‘restructuring higher education’ ‘re-organising the health services ‘regenerating public housing’ –The Operational Focus masks the way public sector services are being commercialized (albeit packaged in the development discourses of ‘centres of excellence’ ‘world class universities’); –Pragmatic focus hides the Growing elision of the differences between public interest values and commercial values in the running of state services

3 3 Why Commercialisation is problematic for Equality of Access, Participation and Outcomes The State is an in-eliminable agent in matters of justice: only the state can guarantee to individual persons the right to be educated, to good health care, housing, public transport. –If the state absolves itself of the responsibility to protect its members, rights become more contingent; in a commercial system the right to education will be contingent on the ability to pay. Democratic Accountability must be distinguished from Market Accountability In a fully democratically accountable system, each individual has an equal right to access, participation and outcomes In a market-led system accountability is contingent on market capacity or resources

4 4 Context 2: Classical Liberal Equal Opportunities Perspective informs equality legislation and public policy-making ‘its credit is good as long as it never tries to cash its cheques’ (R.H. Tawney, 1964) – speaking about liberal equal opportunities policies Equal Formal Rights – right not to experience discrimination in terms of access to and participation within services primary protection in law Benefits: prohibits grosser forms of direct discrimination but often only after litigation by individuals (no right to class action) Limitations of the Liberal approach to rights: –Advantages the relatively advantaged among the disadvantaged –Migrant workers are the new disadvantaged (especially in the 3 Cs Catering/Serving, Cleaning and Caring) unskilled Irish-born workers still disadvantaged, + Travellers + Disabled People – as are lone parents, carers (most of whom are women) and children –Inequalities are distributed differently across groups but not eliminated –Individualises the problem of inequality – injustice becomes a personal pathology –blamed for your own poverty in ‘Celtic Tiger’ Ireland

5 5 Limitations of liberalism in the pursuit of equality –Not concerned with eliminating substantive inequalities of wealth, power, status and care that produce the inequalities of opportunity in the first instance and that reproduce inequalities anew in each new generation Constant re-allocations and re-designations are required as inequalities are reproduced anew in each sector of low-waged employment Ongoing redistributions or searching for protection for group rights (women are a good example as are Travellers) leads to a backlash against marginalised groups

6 6 The Myth of equality of opportunity without equality of condition –Equality of opportunity is about equal formal rights; it is about making sure the rules are fair for distributing educational ‘goods’ or privileges – changing some of the faces at the top of the hierarchy – Equality of condition is about ensuring that all people are as equal as possible in relation to the central conditions of their lives. It is about eliminating hierarchies of wealth, power and privilege, including the unequal gender division of care labour, so that everyone has roughly equal prospects for a good life. International evidence is overwhelming that the more unequal a society is economically (i.e. in terms of incomes and wealth), the more unequal it is educationally, socially and in health terms; –There is no meaningful equality of opportunity without equality of condition Major Research in the health area showing this - R.W. Wilkinson, 2005, The Impact of Inequality: how to make sick societies healthier, London: Routledge.

7 7 Liberal policies do not eliminate inequalities: evidence –Irish Travellers have a significantly lower life expectancy (10 years) than settled people/ Sudden Infant Death rates are 12 times the national average –71% of Traveller women experienced verbal abuse for being Travellers –Housing 1998(Traveller Accommodation) Act has no sanctions on local authorities who do not provide accommodation/ –63% of Travellers over 15 years of age have left school (Source: Survey of Traveller Women and 2002 Census) –Disabled people are 2.5 times less likely to be employed than non-disabled people –Migrant workers –Integration is not possible if there is segregation by schooling and segregation by housing is the major problem facilitating educational segregation (Heckmann, 2007) European Forum for Migration Studies –Ad hoc approach to integration – need for a Green and White Paper (Mcgorman and Sugrue, 2007) –National Committee on Educational Disadvantage? Role under the Education Act, 1998 –Intercultural Education: Primary Challenges Dublin 15 (report to the Dep. Of Ed. by E. McGorman and C.Sugrue, 2007) and Report by R. Heckmann (2007) to the European Commission by NESSE on Education and the Integration of Migrants

8 8 Distribution of Wealth via Wages The share of national wealth going to workers has being declining at a higher rate in Ireland since the early 1990s than in the EU generally; Only the poorer EU Eastern European states compensate employees at an equivalent rate: e.g. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania The Welfare effort has been declining in Ireland Source European Commission Statistical Annex of European Economy, Autumn 2007 /2007/statannex0207_en.pdf - accessed 17th Nov. 2007 /2007/statannex0207_en.pdf

9 9 Distribution of Wealth via Wages (see K. Allen, 2007, Corporate Takeover of Ireland)

10 10 Are Social Expenditures a way of compensating for inequalities in wealth in Ireland? No Country Total Social Expenditure % on Education % on Health »as a % of GDP as a % of GDP as a % of GDP Sweden France45.75.89.7 Netherlands27.65.19.1 UK26.45.37.7 Slovenia25.36.18.2 Czech Repub. Ireland Lithuania14.15.95.7 Social Expenditures have decreased between 1994 (19.7% of GDP) and 2006 (15.9%); Source: Tables, 4.1 and 4,2, Central Statistics Office (CSO) Measuring Ireland’s Progress, 2006. accessed at October 12 th

11 11 Are Social Expenditures a way of Compensating for inequalities in Wealth in Ireland?

12 12 Housing Housing is defined as an investment, as ‘Property’, not a ‘Right’ There has been a steady decline in investment in public housing/local authority since 2003 and this has not been matched by any significant increase in social housing Policies on integrated housing have been set aside in many developments LA houses built in 2006 is roughly the same as in 2003 despite the significant increase in population Source: Table 8.2 CSO Report Measuring Ireland’s progress, 2006 + direct communication from the Department of the Environment)

13 13 Lack in State Investment in Public Housing

14 14 Health Health Expenditure – Ireland spends 7.5% of GDP on Health; –the EU average is 8.7% of GDP- –France spends 10.4%, Denmark 8.9%, Norway 10.1% Health expenditure is roughly at the 1987 levels despite a) the increase in population, b) an ageing population and c) unprecedented national wealth Increased Privatisation of Health Care and building For-Profit hospitals and nursing homes increases the risk of poor health and death for those who cannot pay for health care Social Class and Income divided health system – the poor are simply more likely to die than the better off –People with no formal educational qualifications are 50% less likely to have excellent or very good health compared with those who have had third level education. –Only 40% of people on very low incomes (€7,000 in 2003) had very good health compared with 82% of those who had 4+ times this income Source: Institute of Public Health Study (2003) Inequality in Perceived Health: A Report on the All- Ireland Social Capital and Health Survey: (page 19 )

15 15 Education WE LACK NATIONAL DATA on all the main EQUALITY GROUNDS AND SOCIAL CLASS in relation to Educational Attainment and Progress (E. McGorman and C. Sugrue, 2007) Denial of inequality by failing to fund research on levels of inequality in health, education, housing, transport Children of higher professionals are more than 3.5 times as likely to get 4+ grade Cs on Higher Level Leaving Certificate papers than the children of the unemployed, and 2.0 times more likely to get these grades than the children of lower grade non-manual workers Just 60% of boys and 61% of girls of households where the parents are unemployed do the leaving certificate compared with almost 90% of employer/manager and professional groups Source: School Leavers’ Survey, 2004; Table 2.5c, Gorby,S., McCoy, S. and Watson, D. ESRI (2005) Ireland spends only a little over half the amount of GDP on Education (4.4%) that Denmark spends (8.4%); Lower than the amount spent in poorer EU states Lithuania (5.9%); Latvia (5.8%) Parents subsidise education and where parents cannot pay, children suffer Censorship does not always come in the banning of books or films: it comes in funding cuts to dissenting voices and to forms of research that will document injustices and inequalities

16 16 A neo-liberal model of citizenship is undermining social solidarity in Ireland The Market is now the primary producer of cultural logic and cultural value in Ireland Citizen is defined as an economic maximiser: a ‘consumer’, a ‘client’, a ‘free chooser’ – The roles of the caring citizen, the social and political citizen, the cultural citizen are being marginalised Neo-liberalism offers a Hobbesian perspective on citizenship - a Care-Less view of being a citizen – primacy granted to self interest –Net consequence is a privatisation of interest and a lack of solidarity between peoples and generations –The glorification of self interest is reflected in the demonisation of the principles of redistribution via equitable taxation –But the development of our society and maintenance of political stability is dependent on OTHER-CENTREDNESS – on solidarity

17 17 What Kind of Ireland do we want? It is possible to have one in which Equality of Economic, Political, Cultural and Affective conditions apply –Economic Equality goal= equality of resources – there can be no substantive equality of opportunity without equality of economic conditions - urgent need to redistribute wealth more equally –Socio-cultural Equality goal=equality of respect and recognition- for the interests and needs of different status groups – Cultural Minorities, Travellers, Disabled people, Older people Migrant workers, Women and Men, Lone parents, Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual people – founded on a critical inter-culturalism –Political Equality goal=equality of power in public and private institutions- S haring power in designing, planning and implementing programmes- the politics of presence –Affective Equality goal:=equality in the doing of Care Work and equal access to caring and loving – recognising our interdependencies and necessary dependencies –The latter includes respect and funding for solidarity work (the social economy of society)

18 18 Rational Economic Actor (REA) Model of the Citizen- citizen valued for performance Competing Rational Economic Actors O = Self interested, Calculating, Competing Economic Actors. X = Competition Between Actors.

19 19 Tertiary Care Relations: – Relations of Solidarity Solidarity work Secondary Care Relations – generalised care work Primary Care Relations – love labour Care-Full Model of the Citizen

20 20 Groups vary in how they are affected by different forms of inequality Equality: From Theory to Action (2004) J. Baker, K. Lynch, S. Cantillon and J.Walsh Dimensions of Equality Primary Generative causes of inequality Groups Most Directly Affected All of the causes of inequalities interact for all groups Resources (How economic resources are distributed) Lack of sufficient resources to participate with others on equal terms in society All low income groups : Welfare Dependent persons including children Asylum seekers on €19.50 per week Low waged workers, insecure employment without pensions etc. e.g. for low income working class people – inequality is generated in economic relations but finds expression in socio-cultural relations (moral disapproval of working class lifestyles, values) Low paid migrant workers – low pay and low status/poor housing Respect and Recognition (How cultural, ability, sexual and other differences are managed) Those who are denied respect because of a particular identity e.g. colour of skin Cultural, Ethnic and Linguistic minorities Lesbians/ Gays Disabled people Migrant workers Deep-rooted anti- Black racism makes accessing employment difficult – lack of respect impacts on economic rights and this impacts of political rights etc.

21 21 How different groups are affected by different forms of inequality Dimensions of Equality Cause of inequality Groups most directly affected Interaction of inequalities Love, Care and Solidarity (LCS) (level of recognition for relational work – building and sustaining LCS) Inequality in the doing of care and love work Inequality in access to care Lack of respect for solidarity work Women and other Primary carers (e.g.lone parent carers) Migrants without families or friends Disabled and older people who are isolated due to lack of accessible and affordable transport Primary carers cannot access secure employment– poverty in old age Disabled people cannot meet partner No funding for community work Power Relations (how power is exercised; who is involved in decision-making) Lack of power to influence decisions that affect people directly Children, and All Groups that are not party to decisions that directly affect them/Migrants/Refugees/ Lack of access to power is a problem for all marginalised groups Need a politics of presence

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