The analysis of inequality and the pursuit if equity are pressing issues today. For example, the richest 1% of the world’s population own just over half of the world’s wealth and have seen twice as much income growth as the bottom half since 1980. Such statistics raise contested questions that require both explanation and assessment from diverse perspectives. Equity is fundamental to many current debates about specific social issues.
Many institutions have created centers devoted to inequality, but they usually emphasize inequality of income or wealth. At Tufts, we will adopt a positive focus on defining and achieving equality instead of merely analyzing inequality. Drawing on Tufts strengths, we will investigate equality from many angles and will devote considerable attention to investigating, assessing, and remedying disparities in health, wealth, and civic engagement both within the US and internationally. The Tufts approach will involve a broad definition of “equity” that encompasses health, voice, and wellbeing as well as wealth and income; a pluralistic debate about what constitutes justice; and attention to how active citizens can improve world’s equity.
All societies are and have been unequal. But inequality is changing rapidly and in poorly understood ways that have significant consequences.
Tufts will become the leading university in the world devoted to the study of equity, with a particular approach. The Tufts approach will involve a broad definition of the term that encompasses health, voice, and wellbeing as well as wealth and income; a normative debate about what constitutes justice; and attention to how active citizens can improve the world.