The Puzzle of Growth, Poverty, Inequality and Human Dignity

By: Carlos Osorio Torres

February 17, 2015

Technology, Values, and Development

Why do some countries develop and others do not? Dr. Kaushik Basu says that we must look to the invisible hand of the market to work efficiently and think that the government has a very important role to implement vital reforms in the economy. Furthermore, Basu explained how specialization is one of the engines of development and growth.

But, how much do countries think solely in terms of growth and development and ignore key problems such as poverty and inequality? We should be concerned about poverty and inequality when we think about growth, because socially-conscious growth can decide to grow from the bottom up, to ameliorate the main problems experienced by the people, to increase human welfare, and thereby to create a more equitable country.   

We must pursue development policies that are focused on labor flexibility and effective manpower. Poor countries have abundant labor, so we must think in terms of how to alleviate global inequality, where history says that if the rate of saving and investment increases, it is likely that countries grow and develop faster. Poor countries often have higher growth rates than developed countries. This is an opportunity for policies of socially conscious growth, to create a world where inequality and poverty are to be reduced. The concept of shared prosperity proposed by the World Bank is paramount; this prompts us to think of growth and inequality, without losing sight of the issue of distribution. To this end, the World Bank gives hope in policies that address the world's poorest 40 percent, but without losing sight of those above them. I believe that with good organization and global commitment we can create a world without so much poverty and inequality that is environmentally responsible and allows increasing welfare for all.   

In a globalized world where technology has become a determining factor, economic policy should be focused on the future, especially since technology has changed the business environment and practice in relation to work. Technology is replacing labor, producing greater inequality gaps and, in poor countries where there is a lot of manpower, one should ask how technology can stop denigrating the person and instead become a perfect complement for economic specialization.

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