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The role of corrosive internalisation and denial of responsibility in stabilising inequality in South Africa

Chris Desmond

Development Southern Africa, 2019, vol. 36, issue 6, 735-750

Abstract: This paper examines how capabilities inequality is stabilised through its consequences on those at both ends of the distribution. It outlines the development of the balance model, which is argued to help highlight these consequences. Specifically, how adverse environments associated with lack of access to resources and poor treatment can lead to internal consequences which further corrode capabilities. At the same time, denial of this corrosion or its importance is critical for those who benefit from the inequality. To avoid moral constraints being triggered it is important, necessary even, for them to see those who suffer as outside of their moral universe, or their suffering to be in no way associated with their advantage. Corrosion and denial work to stabilise the system. For those in the middle of the distribution, they may work to do so in combination. Appreciating these internalised consequences is key to addressing inequality in South Africa.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2019.1674637

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