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Issue Cluster 2013

 

The GES is organized around four distinct but intertwined clusters of issues.

Issue Cluster 2013 - Achieving Sustainable and Inclusive GrowthIssue Cluster 2013 - Fiscal and Financial SustainabilityIssue Cluster 2013 - Poverty in the Midst of PlentyIssue Cluster 2013 - New Opportunities for Global Cooperation Achieving Sustainable and Inclusive Growth

How can we promote growing prosperity that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable? To respond to this challenge, we need to address the following questions:
- Growing prosperity: What sort of growing prosperity should we promote? Under what circumstances and to what degree should we continue to focus primarily on material wellbeing, namely, goods and services? How can we take account of other sources of human wellbeing, such as caring human relationships, civic engagement, opportunities for personal growth and opportunities to use our strengths to serve goals beyond our own personal interests? How should prosperity be measured? How can growing prosperity be promoted?
- Environmental sustainability: What sort of environmental sustainability should we seek? What environmental resources and services should be passed from one generation to the next? What notions of intergenerational equity should guide us? In the face of uncertainty about the environmental consequences of our actions, what principles of environmental sustainability should we adopt? How should sustainability be measured? What are effective ways of promoting sustainability?
- Social inclusiveness: What sort of social inclusiveness should we strive for? To what degree should inclusiveness be assessed in terms of material versus non-material sources of wellbeing? What moral principles should guide us in promoting inclusiveness? Under what circumstances should we be guided by considerations of care, reciprocity, equality of opportunity or proportional fairness? How should inclusiveness be measured? What are effective ways of promoting inclusiveness?

    Fiscal and Financial Sustainability

    Fiscal and financial sustainability are linked. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the world has still not achieved financial reforms that will reduce incentives to generate excessive systemic risk. A new role for central banking is required, enabling countries to pursue financial stability and inflation targeting at the same time; but there is little agreement on how this role is to be structured. There is also disagreement as to whether central banks should be lenders of last resort. Policy makers also disagree on how to pursue fiscal consolidation and simultaneously to generate long-term growth. These issues need urgent attention against the backdrop of Europe’s crisis and the debt problems of Japan and the US.

    Poverty in the Midst of Plenty

    One of the most important measures of the health of a society is its ability to provide equal education and employment opportunities for all of its citizens. Many Western countries, such as the US, are failing in this regard. Much of the dynamism of the US economy depends on people’s aspiration to live the “American dream”, but this dream is no longer reality. The world has much to learn from countries that had been more successful in providing equality of opportunity. Another aspect of this problem is that the nature of poverty in the world has changed: Poverty has become less country-specific and more class-specific. Many of the world’s poor live in the richest countries. This is another symptom of rising inequality of opportunity in rich countries. Youth unemployment, lack of opportunities to acquire skills by identifiable segments of society and limited opportunities for lifelong learning are the main sources of the problem.

    New Opportunities for Global Cooperation

    To develop incentives for cooperation on a transnational scale, we need to look beyond the paradigm of creating “win-win” scenarios for individualistic agents. We must uncover other opportunities for global cooperation, relying on insights from psychology, neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, moral systems, religious systems and other disciplines. These insights can alert us to the possibility of new forms of human cooperation, which may need to be activated through new institutional, legal, political and social settings. The experiences of the Arab Spring highlight both the opportunities and the dangers of rapid democratization. What social, political, and economic conditions are required to ensure that democratization leads to empowerment and improved wellbeing spread fairly across populations? Can we learn from past examples of successes and failures in democratization? How can inter-religious and intercultural dialogue help to bridge ethnic divides and to avoid conflict in the aftermath of democratization? How can new democracies be encouraged to support the establishment of global governance structures, despite the ubiquity of identity politics and xenophobic movements? And can we identify value systems that could provide a basis for global problem-solving across cultural and religious divides? How does culture affect economic activity and the effectiveness of economic policy in democratizing countries? What are the implications of culture for the design of social and political institutions?

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