Why the racial wealth divide matters

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute

In-person and online public event (Auditorium, Centre Building)


Dr Shabna Begum

Dr Shabna Begum

Dr Eleni Karagiannaki

Dr Eleni Karagiannaki

Faeza Meyer

Faeza Meyer

Professor Vimal Ranchhod

Professor Vimal Ranchhod


Professor Mike Savage

Professor Mike Savage

Escalating asset price inflation in recent decades has helped to expose wealth inequality as a major dimension of socio-economic inequality across the world. Wealthy households able to draw on owner occupied housing assets, private pensions, savings and financial investments have prospered. Meanwhile the majority of the populations, even in rich nations – have been exposed to harsh ‘austerity’ policies, and often the need to balance debt obligations.

There is increasing evidence that wealth assets play a significant role in allowing social mobility advantages to the children of wealthy households. However, it is not widely appreciated that these developments underscore the intensification of racial wealth divides. Although the historical study of the racialised elements of wealth inequality is widely known, with widely appreciated studies of slavery and imperialism, the contemporary racialisation of wealth inequality needs to be much better known. This event will feature original research reporting on their findings from the UK, South Africa, and elsewhere.

Meet our speakers and chair

Shabna Begum (@shabnabegum76) is interim co-CEO at The Runnymede Trust and was previously their Director of Research. She has authored reports on women of colour and income inequality and the racialised cost-of-living crisis. She completed her PhD at the School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London. She is the author of From Sylhet to Spitalfields, a recently published exploration of the hidden history of the Bangladeshi squatters’ movement in 1970s east London.

Eleni Karagiannaki is Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion and a Faculty Associate at the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has done work on range of issues relating to poverty and inequality measurement and analysis with a particular focus on understanding how the tax and benefit systems, the labour market and the families interplay to shape socio-economic inequalities.

Faeza Meyer is an activist from Mitchell's Plain, Cape Town, and a founding member of the African Water Commons Collective. She is an active member of Women for Change, the Housing Assembly, and the Water Crisis Coalition.

Vimal Ranchhod (@VimalRanchhod) is Professor in the School of Economics at the University of Cape Town, and the Deputy Director of the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (SALDRU). He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Michigan. He works on labour markets, poverty and inequality, education, and discrimination.

Mike Savage (@MikeSav47032563) is Martin White Professor of Sociology at LSE. Between 2015 and 2020 he was Director of LSE’s International Inequalities Institute, which hosts the Atlantic Fellow’s Programme, the largest global program in the world devoted to challenging inequalities. Mike is the author of eight books, including most recently The Return of Inequality: social change and the weight of the past.

More about this event

This event will be available to watch on LSE Live. LSE Live is the new home for our live streams, allowing you to tune in and join the global debate at LSE, wherever you are in the world. If you can't attend live, a video will be made available shortly afterwards on LSE's YouTube channel.

The LSE International Inequalities Institute (@LSEInequalities) brings together experts from many of the School's departments and centres to lead cutting-edge research focused on understanding why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world, and to develop critical tools to address these challenges.

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