Skip to Global Dialogues Full Site Menu Skip to main content
Georgetown University Georgetown University Logo
April 22, 2024

Social Inequality as a Complex Global Challenge

Event Series: Ways Forward in a Divided World

Showing the Social Inequality as a Complex Global Challenge Video

The principle of equality, while long enshrined in national constitutions and international institutions, remains an unrealized ideal for global humanity. The growing gap between ideal and reality, within and across countries, is feeding resentment and driving the growth of populism and authoritarianism worldwide. At the same time, conflicting understandings of equality—in terms of opportunity or results, for example, or as a matter of class, race, or gender—have made it increasingly difficult to build broad political coalitions to promote it in practice.

How serious is the problem of inequality, and why does it matter? Are there practical as well as principled reasons to make the issue a priority? Where should we invest most hopes for greater equality in our world—in global governance, national innovation, or transnational activism? Ranjit Hoskote, Nesrine Malik, Kohei Saito, and Branko Milanovic explored these questions in a conversation moderated by Nermeen Shaikh.

This event was part of the Georgetown Global Dialogues, which featured leading intellectuals from the Global South in forward-looking conversations with U.S.-based thinkers across a range of topics. It was co-sponsored by the African Studies Program, Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation, Master of Arts in Democracy and Governance program, Department of Government, and Global Human Development Program at Georgetown University.


Headshot of Ranjit Hoskote.

Ranjit Hoskote

Ranjit Hoskote an Indian poet, theorist, and curator whose influential work centers on the complex history and presence of cultural pluralism from the local to the global. He has authored eight books of poetry—including Icelight (2022), Jonahwhale (2018), and a translation of a fourteenth-century Kashmiri mystic-poet, I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Dĕd (2011)—and the acclaimed book Confluences: Forgotten Histories between East and West (2012, with Ilija Trojanow). Hoskote has curated more than 50 showcases of Indian and global art over the past three decades, including India’s first national pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Headshot of Nesrine Malik.

Nesrine Malik

Nesrine Malik is an acclaimed British Sudanese author and journalist known for her wide-ranging commentary on issues of race, identity, politics, and international affairs. She is the author of We Need New Stories: Challenging the Toxic Myths Behind Our Age of Discontent (2019) and has columns in leading outlets including The GuardianThe New York Times, and The Washington Post that address topics ranging from Islamophobia and feminism to African politics, with deep insights into the ways colonial and postcolonial legacies shape our contemporary world. Malik received the 2021 Robert B. Silvers Prize for Journalism.

Kohei Saito

Kohei Saito

Kohei Saito is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Tokyo and a leading contemporary Marxist thinker. His most recent book, Capital in the Anthropocene (2020), has sold more than half a million copies in Japan and was published in English as Slow Down: The Degrowth Manifesto in January 2024. Saito’s previous book, Karl Marx's Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy (2017), which creatively explored the ecological dimension of Marx’s thought and its contemporary relevance, won the Deutscher Memorial Prize.

Headshot of Branko Milanovic.

Branko Milanovic

Branko Milanovic is a research professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. His most recent books are Visions of Inequality: From the French Revolution to the End of the Cold War (2023) and Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World (2021). His book Global Inequality (2016) was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize for the best political book of 2016 and was translated into 16 languages.

Headshot of Nermeen Shaikh.

Nermeen Shaikh

Nermeen Shaikh is a co-host and senior producer at the independent television news hour Democracy Now! based in New York City. She is the author of The Present as History: Critical Perspectives on Global Power (2007). Shaikh also serves on the board of directors of the Nobel Women’s Initiative and regularly speaks and writes on issues ranging from global politics and film to psychoanalysis and literature. She was previously the managing editor at Asia Society and has worked in development and research organizations in London, Islamabad, and Tehran.