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2nd December 2019

Meet people’s basic needs

People Before Profit

Our theme Safe & Sound? is all about finding news ways to keep ourselves secure. The Rethinking Security network identifies 5 priorities for a secure world: invest in peacebuilding; meet people’s basic needs; protect human rights; improve social equality; and tackle climate breakdown.

In this article we’re thinking about how we could Meet People’s Basic Needs.

Poverty and lack of access to resources are at the root of many conflicts around the world. Economic inequality is also linked to a whole range of social problems from poor public health to violent crime.


Could ensuring that everyone has the security of having their basic needs met make us all more secure?

The Spirit Level

If you add up all the money that is spent each ¼ year, you get a number economists call ‘GDP’. When GDP increases from one ¼ year to the next, this is ‘economic growth’. For the last 40 years, politicians have believed that economic growth is the most important thing they can achieve.  But it’s just a number.

When Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett investigated the things we really care about: (health, education, quality of life) they found that for rich countries, growth didn’t make these things better. You can find out more in their book ‘The Spirit Level’.

Instead, they found that the most important way to improve these ‘real-world’ outcomes was equality.  And being more equal doesn’t just benefit the poorest: it improves these things for everyone.

The Equality Trust was set up in the wake of this research to promote policies that will meet people’s basic needs, and increase economic equality.

Pop into Peace Hub to find out more about The Spirit Level, and how increasing equality could make us all more secure.

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