• “We need to think deeply about what economic development is and who it is for; and, engage the larger society in that conversation.”

    Dr. David T. Barnard
    President and Vice-Chancellor
    University of Manitoba

  • “Rising income inequality undercuts the trust that is essential for the market system to work.”

    Art DeFehr
    President and CEO, Palliser Furniture.

  • “Investing in people in the new economy is now not just morally sound, but economically rational”

    Alan Freeman
    Cultural Economist

  • “Organizations and societies in which the top few appropriate most of the value are like inverted pyramids – inherently unstable”

    Dr. Hari Bapuji
    Associate Professor, University of Manitoba

  • “The present crisis has overturned many accepted truths: that poverty matters but inequality doesn't is one of the more important.”

    Radhika Desai
    Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Manitoba

  • “The income gap between rich and poor, between skilled and unskilled workers, has been rising in both developed and less developed countries for a number of years. The trend is disturbing and we must find a way to turn this trend around.”

    Michael Benarroch
    Dean, I.H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba

  • “High economic inequality in the society creates pressures on organizations to reduce, and explain, the levels of income inequality within their boundaries. .”

    Jerry Davis
    Wilbur K. Pierpont Collegiate Professor of Management at the Ross School of Business and Professor of Sociology, The University of Michigan

  • “Business might or might not be an appropriate actor to lead, but it is a necessary actor in, the effort to reduce economic inequality.”

    Dr. Tom Lawrence
    W.J. VanDusen Professor of Management, Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University

  • “We need to examine whether more equal societies potentiate certain human outcomes like development and innovation.”

    Dr. Michael Harris Bond
    Emeritus Professor of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Who are we?

Welcome to the forum on Business and Economic Inequality!

This site is part of a project to investigate and discuss the relationship between Business and Economic Inequality in society. It is intended to serve as an information and connection point for those interested in this topic.

Increasing economic inequality in society is one of the most critical public issues today. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis (since 2008), there is renewed interest in the role of business in economic inequality. The most vivid examples of this are the "Occupy" protests with the theme of "1% vs. 99%." We believe this issue requires engagement by various constituents of society, including business leaders and business researchers.


Research has shown that countries with same level of development could have different levels of inequality and vice versa. As inequality increases in society, human development declines resulting in lower skills, unfavourable attitudes and anti-social behaviours. As a result, societies spend more and more resources to maintain law and order than to produce useful goods and services.


If greater inequality in a society has enormous implications for the health of a society, then surely it must affect businesses in some fashion. However, we know very little about how inequality affects business and vice versa. This site is an effort to bring together the insights generated by research and practice to understand how inequality and business might influence each other.