Purpose- The purpose of this paper is to examine how economic rationalism in policy development affects incomes and social cohesion within the communities in which businesses operate. Inequality of income occurs in most, if not all, countries. Historically, economic statisticians established various means of measuring levels of inequality within a country. Measuring inequality between countries, however, is a complex procedure because of differences in money exchange rates and standards of living. Poverty exists in most countries but it is particularly extreme in the Asia-Pacific Region and in Africa. Economic rationalistic policies that depend on the supremacy of the market are developed mostly without regard for their impact upon income share, fairness and social justice concerns. Some other economic rationalistic policy outcomes are detrimental to social cohesion within communities.Design/methodology/approach- This paper draws upon earlier research undertaken by the author as well as upon published works of other researchers. The analysis of this paper indicates that there are great income inequalities not only within nations but also between nations in the Asia-Pacific Region.Research limitations/implications- The research is limited by the ability to examine all the research literature in the field in greater depth. However, the examination that has been possible indicates that where economic rationalism has a significant input in policymaking wide disparities in the distribution of incomes become apparent.Practical implications- This paper provides government and corporate executives with an understanding that the policies they develop could advantage one section of the community over another. This could have a detrimental affect on the social cohesion of the communities they administer or in which their businesses operate.Originality/value- This paper fulfils an identified need and supports policymakers seeking to achieve just outcomes in the communities in which they operate.