Designing Fair Shares Prosperity in Asia

Wealth is being transferred in unprecedented ways from West to East, and an old economic model is crumbling ushering in social and environmental disasters. It’s high time for a new approach, and Asia must take the lead. By 2050, the continent will be home to over 60% of the world’s population and the majority of global poor, undernourished and uneducated. A recent UN report, “Resource Efficiency: Economics and Outlook for Asia,” warns that managing resources more efficiently is critical if the world is to address the needs of the disenfranchised and not strip the planet bare. Given its population, Asia is at the heart of this dilemma. The report points out that to meet the basic needs of humanity and sustain the planet’s resources, per capita use of resources must be reduced by 80% from current levels, requiring an overhaul of current investment approaches and the economic models which thrive on resource inefficiency. Given these stark realities, Asia should stop nurturing hopes that a quick return to export-led growth via unfettered consumption will bring prosperity to all. Instead, a rare opportunity exists for a great leapfrog moment, not about technology, but building on progress of the last 30 years by devising policies that give essential rights and dignity to deprived majority. Essential rights would start with a secure and safe food supply, adequate water and sanitation, basic housing, access to energy, primary education for all, health care and appropriate mobility. If all factors were aggregated as one indicator, more than half of the region’s population would be deemed disenfranchised. Numbers are big: In India about 800 million people are without access to improved sanitation and 400 million have no access to electricity. Over half a billion across Asia live in slums, with total projected to reach over a billion by 2050. Over 70% of the world’s malnourished children are Asian. Meeting basic rights should be priority of all governments without reliance on aid from developed world. Otherwise, pronouncements about an Asian century hide a ticking time bomb. Global financial crisis should trigger Asian governments to launch bold new ideas using the rise of Asia to address core issue of human progress. One possible direction is what might be called “fair-shares prosperity”, the deployment of capital, private+public, to create a positive impact as well as generating financial returns. Often referred to as “impact investing,” such investments primarily help to build businesses and economic activity that deliver basic needs. These businesses are called social enterprises though there is healthy debate about what qualifies. Not utopian as it might first appear (…..)



Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

2 Responses to Designing Fair Shares Prosperity in Asia

  1. In this north Indian village, workers recently dismantled stacks of burned and mildewed rice while flies swarmed nearby over spoiled wheat. Local residents said the rice crop had been sitting along the side of a highway for several years and was now being sent to a distillery to be turned into liquor. Just 180 miles to the south, in a slum on the outskirts of New Delhi, Leela Devi struggled to feed her family of four on meager portions of flatbread and potatoes, which she said were all she could afford on her disability pension and the irregular wages of her day-laborer husband. Her family is among the estimated 250 million Indians who do not get enough to eat. Such is the paradox of plenty in India’s food system. Spurred by agricultural innovation and generous farm subsidies, India now grows so much food that it has a bigger grain stockpile than any country except China, and it exports some of it to countries like Saudi Arabia and Australia. Yet one-fifth of its people are malnourished — double the rate of other developing countries like Vietnam and China — because of pervasive corruption, mismanagement and waste in the programs that are supposed to distribute food to the poor. “The reason we are facing this problem is our refusal to distribute the grain that we buy from farmers to the people who need it,” said Biraj Patniak, a lawyer who advises India’s Supreme Court on food issues. “The only place that this grain deserves to be is in the stomachs of the people who are hungry.” After years of neglect, the nation’s failed food policies have now become a subject of intense debate in New Delhi, with lawmakers, advocates for the poor, economists and the news media increasingly calling for an overhaul. The populist national government is considering legislation that would pour billions of additional dollars into the system and double the number of people served to two-thirds of the population. The proposed law would also allow the poor to buy more rice and wheat at lower prices. Proponents say the new law, if written and executed well, could help ensure that nobody goes hungry in India, the world’s second-most populous country behind China. But critics say that without fundamental system reforms, the extra money will only deepen the nation’s budget deficit and further enrich the officials who routinely steal food from various levels of the distribution chain. India’s food policy has two central goals: to provide farmers with higher and more consistent prices for their crops than they would get from the open market, and to sell food grains to the poor at lower prices than they would pay at private stores. The federal government buys grain and stores it. Each state can take a certain amount of grain from these stocks based on how many of its residents are poor. The states deliver the grain to subsidized shops and decide which families get the ration cards that allow them to buy cheap wheat and rice there (…..)

  2. Professor Uziel Nogueira says: The US diplomacy has a huge challenge in this new century. Engage India in nation building in order to create a credible deterrence to China’s dominant position in Asia. A country in which the majority of the population is poor-illiterate and does not have access to toilette cannot be a regional power.


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