NEW REPORT: 'CHOOSE ECONOMIC GROWTH OR ACCEPT POVERTY FOR BILLIONS'
An official advisory body walks in the real world for once, sees gloabalization as a major factor in making poor countries rich
The world will contain 4 billion people living in abject poverty by 2050 unless the poorest countries adopt policies to deliver rapid and sustained growth over the coming decades, a report backed by the World Bank and the British government said yesterday.
After a two-year investigation, a group of policymakers and economists published a blueprint designed to allow the least developed nations to emulate the 13 countries that have expanded at an average rate of at least 7% a year for 25 years or longer since the second world war.
Professor Mike Spence, chairman of the Commission on Growth and Development, said there was no prospect of meeting the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations - which include halving of the number of people living in poverty by 2015 - without faster growth. Two billion of the 6 billion people in the world live in countries with stagnating or declining incomes, but the report said this figure would rise to 4 billion if they continued to suffer from low growth.
"The Growth Report kills off once and for all the misguided notion that you can lift people out of poverty in the absence of growth," Spence said. "It is impossible for poor countries to lift large populations out of poverty without growth. Equality of opportunity and a focus on individuals and families, gender inequalities and economic security, however, is critical to maintaining the support for growth-oriented policies."
The report said that the 13 countries that had grown rapidly in the post-war era were diverse, including Indonesia, Oman, Malta, Brazil, Botswana and China, but all had made the most of the global economy. "This is their most important shared characteristic and the central lesson of this report. Sustained growth at this pace was not possible before 1950. It became feasible only because the global economy became more open and more tightly integrated. The global economy is still a work in progress, of course, but its effects have already been dramatic.
The study acknowledged that faster growth might worsen climate change but said the onus was on rich countries to promote technologies for cutting carbon and saving energy....