Van Leer tackles socio-economic gap

In a seminar Sunday, the institute proposed promoting sustainable economic growth in ways that would contribute to the well-being of all citizens while achieving greater equality.

As socioeconomic issues gain greater prevalence in the upcoming elections, the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute recommends professional alternatives to current economic policies. In a seminar Sunday, the institute proposed promoting sustainable economic growth in ways that would contribute to the well-being of all citizens while achieving greater equality. "We are attempting to influence the economy and society by dragging it from its right wing conservative position," said program head, Arie Arnon. "We want to bridge the gap between science and the policy makers." With its line-up of economists and social scientists from the academic and public sectors, the seminar aimed to present tools to influence the debate and policymaking process particular to income distribution, the labor market and the public sector. Data presented showed a continued widening inequality in income distribution in the country. "The last decade has seen greater inequality as the upper tenth of income earners grew at the expense of the remaining 90%." That upper tenth earned around 30% of the total income by 2003, with the lower 30% earning less than 10%," said a Tel Aviv University research team. The National Insurance Institute, meanwhile, said government budgetary decisions over the last five years have influenced the make-up of Israeli society. "The government has reduced its involvement in the economy and with it the extent to which Israel is a welfare state," it said. The research argued that this reduction in government intervention has led to the deepening of [socioeconomic] gaps in Israel.