Last week we released a report on the relationship between the growing concentration of income and biases in political decision making. “Working for the Few” got a lot of attention, generating the biggest-ever traffic day on the Oxfam International website the day of the launch.
A large part of the attention was generated by one fact: the 85 richest people own as much as the bottom half of the world.
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In the context of a global economic slowdown and the search for balanced economic growth, I offer some elements for discussion.
All countries aspire to strong, sustainable economic growth given that it makes reducing poverty and expanding opportunities for all citizens much more feasible. There is no doubt about that. But how are high rates of growth achieved over the long term?
This blog is written in response to a generous and humbling offer by the urban anchor at the World Bank to present my book on the Evolution of Great World Cities (Kennedy, 2011). Having provided occasional assistance to the Bank over the past few years, I realized how big a challenge this may be. The Bank has brainpower akin to an Ivy League university, and is a large organization with so many endeavours that are hard for me to keep abreast of. Nonetheless, while tackling enormously complex development challenges, the clear objective of the Bank is to help with the elimination of poverty. Given that my book is primarily about stinking rich cities, there’s a chance that I could completely miss my audience! There again, the rapid rate of urbanization in the developing world provides such a huge opportunity to bring millions out of poverty, if planned well - and many cities in the developing world no doubt aspire to be great world cities.