Social and Economic Inequality (JMS)

Submission deadline: 15 April 2016

Social and economic inequality is a major societal concern for those in mature and emerging economies alike. Nations across the political spectrum - from the United States, to Europe, to India, to China, to South Africa - increasingly seek to address the divide between those at the top and the bottom of their societies. The fact that the 85 richest people in the world have as many assets as the world’s poorest 3.5 billion people brings today’s social and economic divisions into stark relief. Much of this inequality is rooted in the quotidian and often invisible practices of the world’s dominant social institutions. Business is not a passive observer in this setting.

Business is a key institutional player, one that may contribute to the phenomenon and certainly one that is impacted by it. Social and economic inequality both challenges business-as-usual and offers opportunities for profit. The opportunities can be seen in the rapid growth of temporary employment agencies, in short-term lending operations that now exist around the world and broadly, in the “race to the bottom” hypothesis that catches such attention. Whether such realized opportunities are good for humanity is an open question.

The goal of this special issue is to examine the nature of social and economic inequality, as well as its origins and consequences. To be sure, some may also offer ideas for change. We welcome considered solutions to any problems we identify. That said, we do not hold any preconceived assumptions that inequality is to be viewed negatively (or positively). Such a view would unnecessarily limit the range of issues we can examine here. We will say, however, that these issues are central to our understanding and conduct of business. Our hope is that by viewing structural inequality as part of, and not separate from, the business research agenda, our work will generate a better understanding of how these problems and opportunities affect business and society.

The conference will take place at the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

More information here 

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