Does it refer to 'humiliating situations resulting from economic inequality'? Or, a specific phrase in the passage?
Economic inequality can be objectionable for this reason I am now discussing, because extreme inequality in income and wealth can mean that the poor must live in a way that is reasonably seen as humiliating. As Adam Smith observed, it is a serious objection to a society if some people are so much poorer than others that they have to live and dress in such a way that they cannot go out in public without shame. The evil here is comparative — it is not merely having ragged clothes, or poor housing, but having to live and present oneself in a way that is so far below the standard generally accepted in the society that it marks one as inferior. As this reference to “standards generally accepted” indicates, economic inequalities have these effects only given certain prevailing attitudes about what is necessary in order for someone to be socially acceptable. So what is objectionable is a certain combination of economic inequality and social norms.