"At the heart of crises, the demand for more social justice and access to essential services"

Reduction of public aids and services, lower taxes … The economic doctrine advocated by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s has flourished in much of the world. It is this "software" that must be abandoned, the economist believes in a forum at the "World".

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Tribune. The news is marked by a global social protest unprecedented in many ways. At first glance, these movements are very different from each other. The young Chileans, children of a prosperous nation presented as a model of democratization, have little in common with their Iraqi counterparts, who are demonstrating in a country devastated by two decades of war and instability. US teachers on strike for more resources do not share the same daily life as the protesters occupying the squares of Beirut. And yet, in all these manifestations, a motto comes back: the demand for more social justice.

The demonstrators are not mistaken on the observation: the economic system does not give them their chances of success. In Lebanon as in Chile, two countries coexist in one: a rich nation and a poor country. This duality, described by the economist Ignacio Flores, can be summed up in one figure: the 10% the wealthiest capture more than half of the income (against about a third in Europe).

"In Lebanon as in Chile, the health system is a reflection of the economic duality of these nations: efficient for those who can pay, failing for others"

Half of the poorest population share crumbs – 10% or less. In the United States, levels of inequality are not much different. In Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Ecuador, other hotbeds of contention, the data are fragmentary but all indications are that income inequality is high or even extreme.

In addition to income and wealth gaps, there are inequalities in access to essential services. In Lebanon, as in Chile, health coverage is universal only in official speeches. The health system is a reflection of the economic duality of these nations: efficient for those who can pay and fail for others. The US health system is also dual, with catastrophic results: in this rich country, life expectancy is now down.


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