The rise of inequality within our societies is a major issue facing Europe today. In the future, unless action is taken there are risks of it having major impacts. Action must be taken to deal with this growing problem.
My vision for a future Europe is based on the idea that any individual is able to achieve their full potential. They will not be circumscribed by the conditions they were born into, the environment that they are found in; and the resources that they may lack. This is not a call for everyone to want to become lawyers or doctors. It is an appeal, an aspiration to enable all people to access the resources that they will need to become a fulfilled and complete individual. In analysis by Thomas Piketty, inequality since the 2008 recession has rocked Europe (Piketty, 2014). Wealth creation in Europe has been slow, simultaneously, inherited wealth has gained value and importance. The by-product of this is an environment is the proliferation of inequality. This is not sustainable or desirable. How can we expect people to want to achieve their potential and aspirations when economic circumstance takes the means to do it? Equality of opportunity and the concept of meritocracy are argued to be the bedrock of our societies. How, can we then accept that this? The bedrock is being removed from under our feet. Daily, I see the impact of the disappearance of social mobility and the resources required to become developed around me. The means to social mobility need to be restored. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1 declares that all humans are born equal in dignity and rights. The ability to embrace our true individual potential to the fullest extent is the greatest restoration of dignity all humans deserve. The Europe of the future will enable this; it needs be based on this. The restoration of social mobility will enable individuals to decide and interact with society to their fullest ability. In Thomas Piketty’s capital, inequality historically was reduced during major transitions. Due to colonial legacies, Europe developed rapidly at the expense of other regions. This inequality between countries is now shrinking, yet, the inequality within countries is increasing. Furthermore, European economic development is not the archetype of a perfect society. On average the top 10 wealthiest percent of society possess 60% or more of all wealth, comparatively, the poorest 10% are estimated to possess a meagre 8% or less (Piketty, 2014). Modern development has created an economic model to profitably destroy the environment. Something so indispensable to everyone for life, regardless of their financial situation. In my vision for Europe, resources are mobilised to develop a green economy This transition can be the engine to restart social mobility. This is not a utopian fantasy, it is viable. Inequality is not a new problem either. However, often meaningful policy is too little too late. The future Europe must remember that nothing occurs in isolation, situations have long term effects. In the words of John Dunne; “I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”