Capitalism has since the Industrial Revolution presented itself as the only way towards human progress and the ideal social system. According to capitalist ideologies, society is basically run by the elite in the form of those specialized in political and management sciences, finance, accountancy, and economics, which means a separation between the production process and the management process. In other words, society will be separated from the centers of wealth and profit accumulation or will be deprived of its collective production. This system is not new, for it is only a modern version of societies that were divided according to class and social status. The main difference now is that the gap between classes is widening in an unprecedented manner, which divided societies into a minority that controls wealth and authority and is surrounded by a group of technocrats and politicians who defend its ideologies on one hand and a majority that works nonstop and is constantly marginalized and deprived of its rights on the other hand. This is done in most of the North under democratic systems and in most of the South under totalitarian regimes.
Globalization, neoliberal policies, market economy, and austerity measures played a major role in deepening the rift between different classes in society and so did the marginalization of workers and the deterioration of public services. As a result of the alarming level of social disparities, goal number 10 of the Sustainable Development Goals for year 2030 is reducing inequalities among and within countries.
Any analysis of class struggle leads to the political and economic theory of dialectical materialism, also known as Marxism. According to this theory, history can be understood through class struggle in which one class exploits another, which becomes obvious in master-slave, noble-commoner, employer-worker relations or simply persecutor- persecuted relations. These classes have always been at war together and this war ends either with a revolution that transforms the entire society or with the collapse of both classes.
Despite technological, scientific, and industrial advances, gaps between the rich and the poor still persist and the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few is seen in stark contrast to abject poverty suffered by the majority who do not have access to basic needs such as food, water, clothing, and shelter.
This book is comprised of articles and papers that tackle the issue of social disparities in terms of concepts, definitions, manifestations as well as the role of protests, the intervention of international financial institutions, environmental problematics, and the empowerment of women. Emphasis is laid on social disparities in a number of Arab countries: Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Oman, and Jordan.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part tackles the concepts and its different perspectives. Through three papers in which the Moroccan thinker Dr. Mohamed Said Saadi presents a paper on the concept in different schools of thought and the main problematics that it is facing in the Arab reality. In addition, the Egyptian human rights activist Mr. Khalid Ali presents visions on the role protests in affecting social disparities in the Arab region, and about the responsibility of international financial institutions in aggravating social disparities in our region writes the Tunisian parliamentarian and economic researcher Fathi Chamkhi. While in the second part, a group of researchers from different countries in the region presents case studies for their countries that they are Egypt, Tunisia, Oman, and Yemen. As for the Third part, it raises the effects of these disparities on social categories and issues, and through two chapters, the book tackles women as an example for the affected categories and Environment as an example of the issues affected by disparities. AFA through its Research team presents an analysis conclusion for the book building upon what was tackled in the book to crystalize the most important causes and manifestations of social disparities. Moreover, as a trial for widening margins for participation with different opinions and ideas on that issue, the book adds as an appendix a group of articles that was presented during the conference that was held on the same issue in Tunisia in September 2016.