Perspectives on Global Development 2012
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Perspectives on Global Development 2012

Social Cohesion in a Shifting World

"Shifting wealth" – a process that started in the 1990s and took off in the 2000s – has led to a completely new geography of growth driven by the economic rise of large developing countries, in particular China and India. The resulting re-configuration of the global economy will shape the political, economic and social agendas of international development as those of the converging and poor countries for the years to come.

This report analyses the impact of "Shifting wealth" on social cohesion, largely focusing on high-growth converging countries. A "cohesive" society works towards the well-being of all its members, creates a sense of belonging and fights against the marginalization within and between different groups of societies. The question this report asks is how does the structural transformation in converging economies affect their "social fabric", their sense of belonging or put generally their ability to peacefully manage collective action problems.

Recent events in well performing countries in the Arab world but also beyond such as in Thailand, China and India seem to suggest that economic growth, rising fiscal resources and improvements in education are not sufficient  to create cohesion; governments need to address social deficits and actively promote social cohesion if long-term development is to be sustainable.   

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Publication Date :
21 Nov 2011
DOI :
10.1787/persp_glob_dev-2012-en
 
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Author(s):
Mario Pezzini
Pages :
15–15
DOI :
10.1787/persp_glob_dev-2012-3-en

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The year 2011 has seen various forms of social upheaval affect economies and politics not only in the Middle East and North Africa, but in all regions of the world. Events in 2010 and 2011 were not the purview of countries feeling most acutely the bite of the financial crisis. In fact, many of these countries weathered the crisis well, rapidly returning to strong and fast growth. Demonstrations and social unrest seem rather to be linked to a perception that the fruits of growth are not being shared equally, and to a limited scope for participation in the policy making process. Good macroeconomic management and social expenditure, while necessary, have proven insufficient if pursued in contexts where social cohesion is low or deteriorating.
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