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Apparently, the United States enjoys a surplus of deficits. President Obama’s first State of the Union address warned that we are weakened and endangered not only by our financial deficit, but also by a deficit in trust.
More than five years into an economic crisis which has taken on several names–from subprime crisis and financial crisis to great recession–no term accurately depicts the fundamental result of this economic turbulence: people facing hardship.
Austerity programmes to restore order to public finances can add to the woes of already struggling economies, leading to more job losses and social hardship. But there are ways for governments to put their fiscal houses in order, while supporting growth and reducing income inequality at the same time.
Russians are becoming increasingly active in the country’s social arena. While activists remain a small but growing and visible minority of citizens looking for changes in governance, many more are becoming involved in the day-to-day affairs of their communities. It remains to be seen whether this emerging culture of civic participation will sit comfortably with existing governance structures.
“Crowdsourcing” pools the strength of the many to perform complex tasks–everything from funding a film to sequencing DNA. At its heart is trust–not a blanket belief in great institutions, but rather the confidence between individuals that each will do the right thing. Its power is being increasingly felt today, even in the world of international development.
The financial and economic crises have highlighted the need for change in the way our governments and systems operate. But the real question is what changes will deliver inclusive, open and responsible governance that can reduce inequality and promote economic growth.
by Charles Jenkins, Writer, Commentator and former Director of Western Europe Country Analysis, Economist Intelligence Unit, London. The EU’s crisis has as much to do with leadership and solidarity as resolving fiscal and debt problems. It is time to dispense with caricatures and write the next chapter in the EU’s ongoing history. And for that, clear and transparent data will be needed.
A return to growth is essential to leave the crisis behind. But the path to growth will be difficult for governments if they do not rebuild trust with their citizens.
Individual freedom can only exist within the social context in which people live, and among the ways in which it is possible to exercise this freedom, that of respecting democratic rules deserves a special place.
OECD signed agreement for a peer review with the Comptroller General of Chile