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Shifting Wealth

                                            “Shifting Wealth”*

 “Shifting Wealth” describes a phenomenon in which the centre of economic gravity of the world has progressively shifted from West to East and from North to South, resulting in a new geography of growth. The new scenario presents some major opportunities and challenges for the creation of socially cohesive societies.

 A cohesive society 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 mobility.

 Growth paths in which social inequalities are wide, exclusion widespread, and the scope for voicing dissent small are unlikely to be sustainable.

 Recent events – ranging from pro-democracy unrest in Thailand in 2010 to the Arab Spring revolutions – lend support to the thesis that it is clearly not sufficient to apply technocratically good policy frameworks while disregarding people’s desire for inclusive political processes.

 Strengthening social cohesion requires a long-term vision and commitment. While some policy interventions or reforms can generate results relatively quickly, others do not bear fruit for some time. Building a more inclusive education system, for example, which increases the education levels of the disadvantaged and the average level of education, takes a number of years to translate into increased inter-generational social mobility. That kind of longterm vision and commitment to policies also requires a stable macroeconomic environment.

 The task of co-ordinating policy across a number of domains can pose a significant challenge. Tools to facilitate coordination include inter-ministerial groups or commissions, ex ante impact assessments of laws, and theme-based horizontal budgeting.


*© OECD, excerpts from Perspectives on Global Development 2012: Social Cohesion in a Shifting World

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