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.
Establish a Center on Equity for shaping Tufts-wide research and understanding by adopting a positive focus on achieving equity.
To inform the debate about Equity requires scholarship on the nature of justice, empirical research on the causes and consequences of inequality, and studies of effective interventions. Tufts has known strengths in all these areas across the schools.
Short-term goals include conducting collabora tive pilot studies; holding seminars, symposia, etc. to build an intellectual community around Equity including faculty, students, and staff and as preparation for the long-term goal of establishing a Center.