For any democratic society, questions about tolerable and justifiable levels of inequality present constant and concrete political challenges. Policy responses are a sign of the borderline between arguably justifiable individual responsibility and the response-ability of social systems to alleviate such differences. Differences measured across the intersections of wealth, income, health, education, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, age, and other dimensions continuously challenge the policy models, measures, limits, and values of the democratic welfare society, the sustainability and justifications of which are put to the test in the current conditions. Questions for renewing and re-defining the institutional structures and specific policies – as well as debates about the principles and values of welfare societies will intensify.
What kind of reactions, policies and practices do social systems and institutions develop as a response to the recognized inequalities? What kinds of inequalities are taken seriously by responsible political institutions and decision-makers? What kinds of inequalities are addressed; which ones are ignored or tolerated? How effective are the policies and practices?