Panel focuses on significance of inclusive growth

Wan Lixin
Attendees offered their insights into the implications of inclusive development.
Wan Lixin

Experts and media representatives explored a wide range of topics ranging from modernization, poverty alleviation to inclusive growth during the second Hongqiao International Economic Forum on “China’s 70-Year Development and the Building of a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind,” which ended on Wednesday.

During the panel discussion on “Economic Growth and Inclusive Development,” one of the seven topics broached on Wednesday, attendees offered their insights into the implications of inclusive development.

Boonwara Sumano Chenphuengpawn, a research fellow with Thailand Development Research Institute, observed that a recent study from her institute suggests that a high percentage of workers threaten to be replaced by technology. In order to ensure a balance between growth and inclusive development, countries should be prepared to do three things: introducing a new way of learning that would prepare the next generation of learners; redesigning and providing protection for people that might be affected by disruptive technology, and finding ways to manage disruptive technology. Her message is that the next generation of new labor force needs to reinvent themselves as technology places new demands on prospective employees. As more and more people work informally, through platforms, there arises the challenge for governments to design suitable benefits package for such workers.

Khamidulla Normuradov, chief researcher with the Center of Economic Research and Reforms, Uzbekistan, examined growth from the perspective of inclusiveness, saying that recent studies show that economic growth does not always lead to better living for all — sometimes the poorest are worse off. As a result, the World Economic Forum has proposed the Inclusive Development Index to assess economic performance, on 11 dimensions of economic progress. In 2004 China came up with the concept of harmonious society, which is based on principles of inclusiveness.

Anm Muniruzzaman, president of Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies, said that China’s effort in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty is a miraculous feat, though each country’s own development must be adapted to the country’s specific conditions, suggesting that development must involve all people as stakeholders, be people-oriented, and must be sustainable. Growth strategy needs to be resilient so it could absorb external shocks.

Eduardo Javier Vergara, executive director of Foundation Chile 21, agreed on the need for a more nuanced understanding of growth. He said a country could lift many out of poverty, yet the gap between the rich and poor just keeps growing. Thus the definition of poverty can be changing, and Chile is an example. It used to be one of the most successful students of neo-liberal economic policy, but the recent unrest in the country shows the paramount importance of inclusive growth.

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