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Time to focus on growth beyond numbers
Wed, 22 Jan Pre-Open

Economic growth is a crucial metric to measure a nation's growth. However, it is also an incomplete one. GDP growth alone does not ensure robust economic health. A growth that is non inclusive and raises inequality can hardly be expected to sustain over long period of time. In this context, a report by worldwide development organization Oxfam makes some important disclosures that policymakers must take a note of.

The report suggests that the richest 85 people in the world own almost the same wealth as possessed by bottom half of the world's population. The glaring economic disparity is not just limited to developing nations but is equally prevalent in the developed world. Bred by crony capitalism, the disclosure mocks the concept of democracy.

In 29 of the 30 nations for which the data is available, the report claims that the tax rates have fallen for the rich. We wonder if policymakers have forgotten the concept of progressive taxation. And for all we know, the data could be understated. Afterall, the global elite are quite notorious for stacking wealth in tax havens like Mauritius and Switzerland.

The disclosure raises serious questions about how we measure the health of the economy and society. While the concept of growth with equity is quite well covered by policymakers in discussions, unfortunately not many efforts have been put in to design a clear index that can capture progress of the society and economies. It is time that Governments across the world come together to design policies to ensure all inclusive and sustainable economic growth and healthy societies. A skewed growth is unlikely to achieve much. Instead, it will only pave way for future unrest.

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