DEVPGD2012 › About the Perspectives
The OECD Perspectives on Global Development (PGD) is part of a new series from the OECD Development Centre. Each edition identifies, analyses and provides workable policy solutions for a pressing global development challenge. Having focused on major macroeconomic changes occurring in the world economy - the “Shifting Wealth” - in 2010, the 2012 edition will focus on the challenge of building more cohesive societies in the new global context.
Paris, 21 November 2011 – Over the past decade, output growth in developing countries and emerging-market economies has outpaced the OECD average by a wide margin. However, opinion polls show that in some countries sustained growth, rising living standards and human development have not necessarily led to improvements in life satisfaction. To a large extent, this is due to growing inequality, limited possibilities for participation in society, high youth unemployment and persistent informality in the labour market, all of which undermine social cohesion.
The OECD’s new Perspectives on Global Development: Social Cohesion in a Shifting World shows that the time is now ripe for the fast-growing countries to take advantage of their new prosperity to advance an ambitious social cohesion agenda. This involves improving people’s wellbeing, fighting against exclusion, and creating opportunities for upward social mobility.
“Social cohesion – the glue that holds society together – is at risk worldwide”, said Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD. “There is ample room for government action to meet a growing demand for social cohesion in developing countries and emerging-market economies.”
Changes in life satisfaction, education and growth performance in the 2000s
Annual changes, in percent
Source: Perspectives on Global Development 2012
A growing demand for social cohesion comes from a rapidly expanding middle class. Their rising expectations, desire and ability to participate in civic activities and aspirations for better standards of living are a driving force for change. Today almost half of the global middle class – 1 billion people – live in fast-growing emerging-market economies. And this number is projected to almost quadruple to 3.9 billion in 2030.
How can governments promote social cohesion? Perspectives on Global Development argues that new resources are now available and could be invested in social development through better health care, education, social protection and other services. Budgetary revenues increased by one third as a share of GDP between 2000 and 2008 in the fast-growing economies. Looking ahead, a weak outlook for the global economy will constrain revenue growth, making the need to improve the cost-effectiveness of government policies all the more important.
The report also calls on governments to rethink social and economic policies to ensure that all citizens have voice, by fostering civic participation and strengthening democratic institutions. Making societies more inclusive, the report argues, is not an end in itself but a means to achieve a stronger social contract between citizens and the State, making public policies more effective.
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NOTES TO THE EDITORS
The OECD Development Centre
The Development Centre (www.oecd.org/dev) helps policy makers in OECD and partner countries find innovative solutions to the global challenges of development and poverty alleviation. It is a unique institution within the OECD and the international community, where the governments of Member and developing and emerging countries, enterprises and civil society organisations discuss questions of common interest informally.