FACTORS SHAPING INEQUALITY Below are some of the major factors shaping inequality in a globalised environment: Institutions Institutions matter for development. In 1997, the World Bank warned: 'Without adequate institutions, the potential benefits of globalisation in terms of higher growth and investment rates will either not happen, or be too concentrated, thereby increasing, rather than decreasing inequalities and social tensions'. It adds further that 'good institutions are critical for macroeconomic stability in today's world of global financial integration'. UNRISD states: 'Social institutions have not just been ignored but they have been considered obstacles to progress and have been ruthlessly dismantled. This has happened at every level. At national level, many state institutions have been eroded and eliminated. And at local level, the imperatives of market forces have been undermining communities and families.' The formal or semi-formal ties between states and society are increasingly unravelling, and being replaced by more diffuse arrangements. States are growing weaker, and state institutions are less able to fulfil basic responsibilities in areas that encourage personal development such as education, health, nutrition, land redistribution and welfare. As states weaken, power is being transferred to institutions that ignore the social implications of their actions, while at the same time responsibility for absorbing the damage is being passed to non-governmental agencies or to communities and families that have themselves been so weakened that they are in no position to respond. Political parties have become more diffuse and fragmented, particularly in the former Eastern Bloc countries where institutional chaos is common. Trade Unions are being eroded-suffering from changes in working patterns. In countries with high unemployment, employers are finding it easier to avoid dealing with trade unions and are dealing directly with individual workers. NGOs are increasing their influence and have been used to deliver services in many developing countries where governments are incapable of providing services. Accountability is thus undermined. While many national institutions are being weakened, forcing communities and families to take on added burdens, other institutions are enjoying much greater freedom-without any commensurate increase in responsibility. This is especially true for Transnational corporations (TNCs), which now control 33% of the world's productive assets, but only employ directly or indirectly 5% of the global workforce. TNCs are accused of exploiting cheap labour in developing countries, marketing dangerous products, avoiding taxation and causing serious environmental damage. Despite this, they remain untouched by any form of international regulation. In cases where national governments try to exert pressure on them, the companies move elsewhere. Education Persistent inequality and low quality characterise basic education systems in developing countries. Education inequalities in access to school, attendance, quality of teaching and learning outcomes-perpetuates income and social inequalities. Poor children attend poor schools, have less opportunity to complete their basic education, and perform below their counterparts in private schools. Misallocation of resources, inefficiencies and lack of accountability are prominent attributes of the organisational structure of education in most countries. According to the report by the UNHDP, one in seven children of primary school age is out of school. Corruption Corruption seriously weakens the ability of nations to ensure wealth is distributed fairly. Corrupt officials siphon off wealth from public and private sources, and discourage investment by those who fear profits will be stolen. Weak governments allow tax evasion to flourish, undermining one of the key government tools for wealth redistribution by denying governments adequate resources to alleviate poverty and assist development. Underground or informal economies have grown, further reducing national tax bases and feeding criminal organisations that grow up around the informal economies. Employment and unemployment Expansion of trade does not always mean more employment and better wages. In the OECD countries, employment creation has lagged behind GDP growth and the expansion of trade and investment. More than 35 million people are unemployed, and another 10 million are not taken into account in the statistics since they have given up looking for a job. Among youth, one in five is unemployed. In both poor and rich countries, dislocations from economic and corporate restructuring and dismantled social protection have meant heavy job losses and worsening employment conditions. Jobs and incomes have become more precarious. The pressures of global competition have led countries and employers to adopt more flexible labour policies and work arrangements with no long-term commitment between employer and employee. Dislocation of populations Migration is now a major global preoccupation, although it represents nothing new. In today's globalising world, migration is marked by uneven human opportunities and uneven human impacts. Whilst global employment opportunities are opening for some, they are closing for most others. For high-skilled labour, the market is more integrated, but the market for unskilled labour is highly restricted by national barriers. While most migrants have some choice over when and how to leave, millions of others become refugees-driven from their homes and countries by famine, drought, floods, war, civil conflict, mass persecution, environmental degradation or misguided development programmes. Dislocation of populations through wars and economic crises prevents stable growth in the sending countries and leaves them dependent on uncertain remittances from migrants. In Lesotho, 60% of households send labourers to work in South African mines, leaving females to cope with managing families. People who leave are often the youngest and most enterprising-predominantly male-leaving communities with high proportions of elderly people, women and young children. An alarming outbreak of national conflicts based on race, religion or ethnic identity has fed social tensions and conflicts-especially when there are extremes of inequality between the marginal and the powerful. Inequalities are reflected in incomes, political participation, economic assets and social conditions-education, housing and employment. Apart from killing or maiming millions of people, these wars weaken or destroy societies, devastate infrastructure and the environment, and bring public services to a standstill-undoing decades of development. Global crime Crime is a growth industry that is likely to intensify as a result of globalisation. Modern means of transportation, advanced communications and relaxed border controls have created opportunities for transnational crime. Organised crime is now estimated to gross US$1.5 trillion a year. Illicit trade in drugs, women, weapons and laundered money is contributing to the violence and crime that threaten neighbourhoods around the world. A high proportion of modern-day criminal activity is associated with narcotic drugs. Illicit drugs have a corrosive effect in both consuming and producing countries. Drug syndicates, gangs and smugglers use any means necessary to protect their trade-whether it be murder, or bribery and corruption-undermining institutions and social systems such as traditional agricultural communities. The illegal drug trade in 1995 was estimated at about 8% of world trade. All these factors have a direct effect on families, but especially on women and children. Around the world one in every three women has experienced violence in an intimate relationships, and about 1.2 million women and girls under 18 are trafficked for prostitution each year. About 300 000 children were soldiers in the 1990s, and 6 million were injured in armed conflicts . Families and women The weakening of families: The family has always offered the most basic form of security. When all else fails, people have assumed that they can rely on their family members for support. This has become especially important during the current era of economic restructuring that has seriously weakened the capacity of the state to provide for those in greatest need. Unfortunately, this is happening at a time when the family itself is coming under the greatest pressure it has known. In industrialised countries, around one third of marriages end in divorce, and 20% of children are born outside marriage. Many of the current social ills are blamed on the family-from high crime to teenage pregnancies, to drug taking. One of the most widely discussed changes in the structure of the family is the rising proportion of single-parent families-generally women. Female-headed households are disadvantaged, not because women lacking a sense of responsibility towards their families, but rather because social and economic factors are stacked against them-women face discrimination in property, land, income and credit. Social and economic changes in recent years have made family life even harder for women. Many more women are working outside the home-in industrial countries women make up 40% of the official labour force. The economic crisis in many countries has increased women's workload in other ways. It has been found that women suffer more from cuts in public services-health cuts mean that women take care of sick relatives, and cuts in education mean that women spend more time supervising children, which UNRISD calls 'invisible adjustment'. Further, women spend more time growing their own food-and this has been transferred to their daughters at the expense of attending school. A current problem, which is reaching unprecedented proportions, is the number of orphans as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Since the beginning of the epidemic there have been 13.2 million orphan in the world, most of them are in Sub-Saharan Africa. These children are taken care by their extended families or emerging institutions that have not only to ensure their survival but address the psychological, health and social needs. This increasing problem can only be expected to get worse in the future. Children The same pressures that have taken their toll of parents have also taken their toll of children. In the industrialised countries, the period 1950-1975 saw remarkable progress for children-whether measured by health, growth rates or education. These rates of progress are being brought to a halt. There is a steady rise in school drop-out rates, more cases of physical and sexual abuse, and rises in teenage violence and suicide. Children in developing countries come under even greater pressure. Whilst child survival rates have improved enormously over the last 30 years-infant and under-five mortality rates more than halved-those who survive live under greater stress. In developing countries there are some 250 million child labourers –140 million are boys and 110 million girls4. Poverty and low wages are the underlying reasons for child labour: parents earn so little that their children have to work and employers are happy to take children as they will work for even lower wages. (children's wages may pay for their own schooling as well as keep the family together as a unit).