Equality Law in an Age of Rising Inequalities. Potential and Limits of the Antidiscrimination Legal Framework to address Economic Inequalities

This paper aims to assess the extent to which ADL, which is often called ‘equality law’, can contribute to address the problem of rising economic inequalities. In the last fifteen years, economists as well as social and political scientists have put into light a dramatic rise in economic inequalities in Western societies, in particular in the US but also in many European states. Various analysts have shown the damaging consequences this evolution entails on the social, economic and political levels. Most conspicuously, it appears to go against the ideal of equality that lies at the heart of the idea of democracy. In the legal field, ADL has undergone in the last decades a significant expansion, especially in international and European law. It has grown in breath, in reach and in complexity. Yet it is unclear whether this body of law, although based on the concept of equality, can help countering the phenomenon of economic inequalities.