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'A society that tolerates vast Inequality, isn't functioning as a society at all'

  • Published at 12:33 pm November 8th, 2019
Authors discuss 'inequality in the contemporary world' at Dhaka Lit Fest 2019 panel on November 8, 2019 Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

Panelists discuss inequality in the contemporary world

Inequality inevitably affects how and what writers write, whether or not they choose to do so, speakers at a panel said at DLF 2019. 

"I don't focus on inequality specifically in my work, but it informs everything I write," said English journalist and author Kenan Malik. 

"A society that tolerates vast Inequality, isn't functioning as a society at all," the author said. 

Award winning Brazilian novelist Maria Filomena Bouissou Lepecki said Brazil's inequality has roots in the 19th century. Even though inequality is seen through the lens of the modern capitalist world, Brazil's dark past cannot be separated from the problem. 

"Brazil, shamefully, was the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery," the author said. 

Best selling Dutch novelist of 'Mama Tandoori', Ernest van der Kwast said There Netherlands has a relatively good society in terms of how equal it is to the citizens, but that is quickly changing. 

"The Netherlands had equality. Everyone had the same chance. But that is no longer the case. There is now segregation," he said. 

Kwast said he tries to explore how the "good but naive people," of which he considers himself to be a part, deal with the growing inequality. 

Bestselling author of 'The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India's New Gilded Age,' James Crabtree said moral condemnation wasn't there purpose behind his work. He was curious to look into the humans behind the extreme wealth.

Crabtree's bestselling work 'The Billionaire Raj' explores the lives of Indian billionaires. "These people don't really see themselves as crony capitalists. They see themselves as good people and nationalists," said the author. 

He also noted that it is worrying when countries start off with enormous inequality, because they tend to have difficulty to bring it down as they get richer.

The panel was moderated by Indian investigative journalist and author Priyanka Dubey.