The chicken or the egg: A complex relationship between conflict and inequality
The relationship between conflict and inequality is a vital discussion in today’s world. The countries burdened by conflict make up one third of all people who live in extreme
poverty. This has a massive impact on global health through the rise of communicable diseases, malnutrition and shortened life expectancy. Conflict and violence can be used to seize power and ravage cities or right wrongs and improve inequalities. War and conflict can also create inequality by dividing communities, annihilating assets and land as well as destabilizing infrastructure and markets, leading to morbidity, mortality and income loss. This impact may endure long after the war is over. Despite this, conflict can also permit new ideologies and groups to form power. Society can improve or deteriorate under new governance. A more inclusive society may be built in the aftermath, despite the violent means to achieve this. A progression to a shared society after conflict may improve equality and a sense of community. These outcomes are difficult to disentangle from pre-existing inequality which can potentially precipitate conflict itself. This chicken-or-the-egg dilemma is a complex area which warrants discussion. This article will firstly explore whether conflict exacerbates different inequality types within society. Secondly, it will discuss whether pre-existing inequality triggers conflict and the merits of reducing inequality to bring about peace. These two sides of the same coin are important to explore.