Every Individual Has Immense Personal Worth, Dignity, And Purpose

We are committed to working tirelessly until all people have the same opportunities available to them and the support that they need to seize those opportunities.

Published 12 Jun 2020

All of us at the Legatum Institute were shocked and appalled by the killing of George Floyd in the United States. It is impossible to look past such clear injustice. His death and the global public outcry that has followed raises deep questions about community, identity and belonging; about the distribution of opportunity, power and responsibility; about reform and how to bring about healing and unity. These are questions that demand answers.

In the United Kingdom, there are also challenging questions to engage with about the nation’s history; the stories we tell ourselves that give us a sense of place, of value, and of purpose; and the means by which values are transmitted down through the generations. Without proper exploration and debate, we will miss the opportunity to better understand the causes and find the enduring solutions to these divisions in our society.

Since it was founded, the Legatum Institute has firmly believed that every individual has immense personal worth, dignity, and purpose. We stand against racism in all its forms and are committed to working to increase the prosperity of all. We know that creating a better world needs to involve everyone and so over the last few weeks we have thought about how we as an Institute can use our skills and influence to respond constructively.

Looking back at history we are inspired by the countless stories of extraordinary transformation and breakthrough that were brought about by small groups of thoughtful, committed people working together, and we know that the same is required again in our time.

Writing in The Times earlier this week, Trevor Phillips laid down a challenge to all who wish to help: “use your own power to make change happen”. We know that we at the Institute are in a position of influence and we are determined to use our platform for good.

With expertise in measurement, we know that race disparity is undermeasured and poorly understood both here in the UK and around the world. Our own work seeks to shine a light on the causes underlying the differences in quality of life experienced by different communities, in order to promote widespread prosperity and human flourishing.

  • Our global Prosperity Index includes metrics to assess whether people are safe and free, or whether they are held back by oppression and tyranny.
  • Our U.S. Prosperity Index, as of 2019, includes a new metric that tracks racial discrimination through the use of ethnic slurs – we developed this specifically because of the paucity of data on this issue.
  • Our Social Metrics Commission report last year found that nearly half (46%) of black families in the UK live in poverty, compared to just one-fifth (19%) of white families.

We collate this data as a way of shining a spotlight on the inequality of outcomes as we seek to identify how people can improve their lives, and how a strong enabling environment can be built. However, measurement alone does not solve the problem. One could keep measuring race inequality for many years without seeing improvement. The conversation must therefore now move to one of action, strategy and accountability – genuine culture change.

To complement our existing work on poverty and prosperity in the UK, we are now looking to build on the work of the Race Disparity Audit to identify the changes required to make a tangible difference in people’s lives. We will work to better understand the experiences of ethnic minorities across the different pillars of prosperity – from the criminal justice system to social capital, the labour market, education, and health – in order to ensure that whoever you are, you can create your own path to prosperity without any obstacle in your path.

We know that we have much to learn, and change will take time. But we are committed to working tirelessly until all people have the same opportunities available to them and the support that they need to seize those opportunities. In short, we will keep working until we have removed every stumbling block put in people’s way, created the pathways to prosperity for all, and seen the transformation of society – so that each person can fulfil their potential.