We’re all developing countries now
Re-assessing successThere is hope the SDGs will be a catalyst for wealthier countries to do some long overdue introspection of the state of their societies and their impact on the world around them. Goal 10 of the new set is to reduce inequality within and among countries, backed up by a surprisingly specific target to “progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40% of the population at a rate higher than the national average”.On this score, the US and UK have performed abysmally in recent decades. According to the latest Luxembourg Income Study figures, they are the second and fourth most unequal OECD countries respectively on income distribution. Furthermore, the UK is the only G7 country to record rising inequality over the period 2000–14, the lifespan of the MDGs, according to a report by Credit Suisse.On the ground, the signs of domestic inequality are there for all to see. UK foodbank use has risen to record levels, with the Trussell Trust reporting to have fed almost 1.1 million people over the past year, while a chronic housing shortageand affordability crisis – most acute in London – is making it harder and harder for people to keep a roof over their heads.
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Global Prosperity Beyond GDP
Where will solutions come from?The global south is already pointing the way to solutions that could be applicable in other global contexts. Rwanda, for example, has managed to combine rapid economic growth with poverty reduction since the genocide of 1994, with over one million people taken out of extreme poverty and inequality falling.Its approach has been guided by a strategy entitled Vision 2020, which seeks to transform Rwanda from a low-income agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based, service-oriented economy with middle-income country status by 2020. Crucially, it sees growth acceleration and poverty reduction going hand-in-hand, and has used a boom in foreign direct investment to improve services like education and healthcare that build a platform for sustainable growth.The SDGs represent a huge opportunity to rethink our approach to achieving prosperity globally. To do this, we need to start looking beyond crude measurements like GDP per capita, which tell us little or nothing about people’s quality of life and their ability to flourish as individuals and communities. As all too many people in apparently wealthy nations know, merely being a citizen in the developed world is by no means a guarantee of prosperity.
ActivityIf we are all developing countries now what lessons can we start to teach each other about inclusive and sustainable prosperity? Find an example of an project that could be a model for inclusive and sustainable prosperity from anywhere around the world and provide a link to it on the Padlet and make a comment about the lesson we could all learn from it.
Global Prosperity Beyond GDP
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