Stiglitz talks about the price of inequality

On Tuesday night I was joined at Sydney Town Hall by Nobel-prize winning economist Professor Joseph Stiglitz to talk about the price of inequality.

The latest in our series of City Talk events, the night was an excellent chance to discuss inequality and the kind of city we want Sydney to be in the future.

Stiglitz insta

Professor Stiglitz was joined by UNSW Professor Megan Davis, Member, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner, Richard Denniss, Executive Director at The Australia Institute and Dr Cassandra Goldie, Chief Executive Officer at ACOSS.

Every seat in Town Hall was filled to hear the discussion, and Professor Stiglitz gave some very stark warnings about the economic and political path Australia is heading down.

Some politicians suggest that we should all be 'lifters not leaners', but this kind of three word slogan ignores reality. At some point all of us will need to lean on someone.

The City has recently started work on a Social Sustainability Discussion Paper which will be published later this year.

It will look at the range of issues including relative inequality, access and equity of opportunity, and our community's ability to adapt to the future.

It will set out ways the City can further support our community's health and well-being. This is a huge task, but it is vital for our city.

Just as we are working towards environmental sustainability in the face of the challenges of climate change, so we need to work with equal purpose and commitment to ensure a socially sustainable and equitable city, in the face of a growing gap between the rich and the poor.

We know we can't do it alone and we will be seeking your input, as well as working collaboratively, we hope, with other levels of government and the private sector and not-for-profit sectors.

Last night was the beginning of our conversation, and I hope that it will continue over the coming months as we develop the discussion paper that will lead to our Social Strategy.

Our aim is a city with a strong, inclusive community where everyone has a future, where everyone can contribute and everyone has a chance to make the most of their opportunities and talents.

If you weren't about to attend last night's City Talk, a podcast is now available from

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