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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Social Cohesion and Development You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Pages :
51–63
DOI :
10.1787/persp_glob_dev-2012-6-en

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A society is "cohesive" if it works towards the well-being of all its members, fights exclusion and marginalisation, creates a sense of belonging, promotes trust, and offers its members the opportunity of upward social mobility. As such, this report looks at social cohesion through three different, but equally important, lenses: social inclusion, social capital and social mobility. The measurement of these dimensions should not only involve traditional measures, such as 1.25 dollar-a-day poverty, but should integrate subjective measures such as people’s perception about their own feelings as well. Social cohesion is both a means to development and an end in itself and is shaped by a society’s preferences, history and culture. Shifting wealth provides new opportunities and risks for the development of social cohesion in emerging economies – addressing them requires a holistic policy approach, particularly in the areas of fiscal, employment and social policies.
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