22 January, 2021

Only Trickle-Down Won't Do

No country has achieved a long term growth of 7 per cent or more with widespread illiteracy

Only Trickle-Down Won't Do

MAHBUB ul Haq, who died a couple of months ago, could hardly be called a bleeding heart economist. I can't think of any of today's economists who would advocate the mantra of growth, growth and more growth than he. But with a significant difference. Being a Pakistani and a South Asian, Haq knew that he belonged to a region that has had the worst record of human deprivation. In the last decade, South Asia has slipped behind all regions of the world—including the once infamous sub-Saharan Africa—in terms of all indices of human development. As a sensible economist, Haq realised that while growth reduces the extent of deprivation, the possibility of achieving long-term growth of the kind seen in East Asia would remain a distant dream unless some of the glaring deficiencies were tackled head-on. To him, overall economic growth was a necessary condition for reducing poverty; but it was not sufficient. It would be impossible for India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to sustain a growth process at an annual rate of 7-8 per cent for over a decade and more without waging...



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