Artists, designers, photographers and activists share one image that encapsulates what inequality means to them.
Aaron Huey, photographer, United States
“‘Inequality’ is perhaps the defining word of our time.
Never has there been a greater gap between rich and poor and it seems to be growing at an impossible and unsustainable rate (begging for a revolution). The system is rigged, and the ones with the power have made sure that they cannot lose. They do this through debt slavery, land grabs and governmental policies that place corporations above communities.
I think often of the inequality that comes when the corporate state is in opposition to the health and welfare of the people. I think about it often in relationship to how our resources are extracted, and how that process negatively affects, in the short term, largely indigenous communities (but will ultimately affect us all). Though we need many of these resources to survive as a nation, the poisonous byproducts of these operations — uranium mines, coal plants, fracking operations and tar-sand extractions, to name just a few – all seem to trickle down into the communities that have the least power. They pay for our wealth with their health, with the diseases they contract from the poisons they breath and drink. Many will pay with their death.
That is inequality.”
Saeed Taji Farouky, filmmaker, photographer, Palestine/UK
“I see inequality as the abuse of power. It’s the failure of a society to value its citizens equally, and the success of institutions (governments, corporations, etc.) in keeping some people oppressed and exploited. I don’t see equality as equal opportunity; that’s not enough.
We can have an academic conversation about how everyone in a society would have the same opportunity to succeed and be safe if only they applied themselves fully. In practice this isn’t true, because the oppressed, the weak and the less powerful have less access to resources and opportunities. In fact rampant capitalism ensures and entrenches that.
Inequality is one of the roots of injustice, and one of the biggest contributing factors to crime and violence (including war). It’s the result of unchecked privilege and of the inability to empathize. It’s the ritual humiliation of the less powerful for the benefit of the more powerful. It’s depressing and tragic, and the worst part is it’s completely unnecessary and totally avoidable, even in a capitalist economy. So, when I see inequality, I see a society that has chosen to keep some of its members subjugated, even though all evidence and observation says that it’s destructive and completely preventable.”