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According to the UN World Population Prospects, the global population is expected to exceed 8.4 billion by 2030 (UN, 2013). This continued population growth will be coupled by shifts in population structures and evolving dynamics of the specific components of demographic change. The impacts of climate change, including sea level rise and evolving temperature and precipitation patterns, will also affect the future migration corridors and migrants stock (Nicholls, 2011). This article argues that the two above phenomena will become the key drivers of global migration trends. With regards to the shifts in population structures, existing evidence suggests that population aging is becoming a major socio-economic challenge, including in EU countries and East Asia. A recent study conducted by OECD (2008) shows that the proportion of people aged 65 or older is projected to double by 2050. Increasing life expectancy combined with below replacement fertility rates imply that within the next two decades a number of countries are likely to experience shortages in labour force. Thus, some traditionally labour sending countries, such as Poland, can expect increased numbers of immigrants, including from the former Soviet Union and Asia. These expected trends have been confirmed by a recent study conducted by EUROSTAT, which states that Europe will become older and more multicultural (Lanzieri, 2011).
Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon agreeed in 2012 suggesting, “We need to move beyond gross domestic product as our main measure of progress, and fashion a sustainable development index that puts people first,” and Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said in 2008, “GDP tells you nothing about sustainability.”
Even Simon Kuznets, who first coined the term GDP acknowledged in his original report to the US Congress 1934 that, "The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income."
Taking up the call for a better, more wholesome way to measure progress, the Social Progress Index, offers a framework for measuring the multiple aspects of social progress based on three dimensions: basic needs for survival, foundations of wellbeing, and opportunity. It does not measure how much money is spent on policies or services that support these dimensions, but rather the experiences of citizens.
Michael Green, CEO of the Social Progress Index, gives the following Ted Talk to explain how the index measures the welfare of societies and what its policy implications are. He reveals a dramatic reordering of nations according to social progress.
About 4.5 billion people in developing countries are low-income, living on $8 a day or less (in 2005 purchasing power parity terms). They are the so-called base of the economic pyramid (BOP) and constitute a $5 trillion consumer market. While case studies abound on many of the well-known multinationals trying to break into this market, the success of local businesses has often been lost in the discussion of “BOP business” to date. Why are we not learning from the companies that are already succeeding with the BOP?
These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
So Maybe Money Really Does Buy Happiness?
Emerging Asian nations are finding out what developed ones did years ago: money--and the stuff it buys--brings happiness. Levels of self-reported well-being in fast-growing nations like Indonesia, China and Malaysia now rival those in the U.S., Germany and the United Kingdom, rich nations that have long topped the happiness charts, according to a Pew Research Center global survey released Friday. It says it shows how rises in national income are closely linked to personal satisfaction. The pollsters asked people in 43 countries to place themselves on a "ladder of life," with the top rung representing the best possible life and the bottom the worst. Pew carried out the same survey in 2002 and 2005 in most of those countries, enabling researchers to look at trends over time.
Telling It Straight: How Trustworthy Government Information Promotes Better Media
In new and emerging democracies, in countries coming out of conflict, in societies in transition where for decades information was repressed, being open with the public through the press and disseminating reliable information in a systematized and responsive fashion is a new concept. Yet, just as the media are crucial to informing the public, so too are governments in getting out information that reporters and hence citizens can use.
Yesterday the World Bank released their first report on the socioeconomic impacts of Ebola that was based on household data. The report provides a number of new insights into the crisis in Liberia, showing, for example, an unexpected resiliency in agriculture, and broader economic impacts than previously believed in areas outside the main zones of infection. As widely reported, prices for staple crops (such as rice) have jumped well above seasonal increases, but additionally we find an important income effect. We also find the highest prices in the remote southeast of the country, an area that has been relatively unaffected by the disease. The link to the full report can be found here.
While the world has seen a rapid reduction in extreme poverty in recent decades, the goal of ‘ending poverty’ by 2030 remains ambitious. The latest estimates show that 1 billion people (14.5% of the world’s population) lived below the $1.25 threshold in 2011. Projections until 2030 suggest that even under optimistic growth scenarios, the global poverty target may not be reached. The latest World Bank estimates show that if developing countries were to grow at the (rather unprecedentedly high) rates they achieved during the 2000’s the global poverty headcount could decline from 14.5% in 2011 to 4.9% in 2030 – short of ‘ending poverty’. These projections assume distribution-neutral growth – that every individual’s income within each country grows at the same rate, essentially keeping inequality unchanged. As in the past, overall growth will be an important driver of future poverty reduction, but the inclusiveness of growth will also matter.
This was a bit strange for me, as I more typically help out ministries of education (or ministries of ICT) as they prepare projects for which they would be requesting funding (from the finance ministry and/or parliament). Instead of serving as a resource for the folks who prepare such funding proposals, my role in this case was instead to prep the folks who would get this funding request so that they would be better able to analyze and vet the request, whenever it inevitably arrived. (Within the World Bank, this is one of the roles I serve -- I had just never done this for a ministry of finance directly.)
While my governmental counterpart in this case was perhaps a bit out of the ordinary, this general scenario is one I see repeated in place after place. The devices themselves may change over time (first PCs, then laptops, now increasingly tablets, and soon [insert name of whatever comes next]), but this impulse to buy lots of shiny new devices and distribute them to schools (or directly to students or teachers or families) shows no sign of abating soon.
No matter the genesis of this newfound interest, you sense that, whatever you were working on last week/month/year will have to be put on hold, because your life is about to become
What should you do? What do you need to know? Has anyone else tried such a thing, and if so, what have they learned? Whom do you need to contact for information/advice, and what sorts of questions should you ask them -- and ask yourself?
Emerging market multinationals (EMMs) have become increasingly salient players in global markets. In 2013, one out of every three dollars invested abroad originated from multinationals in emerging economies.
Up until now, we have had a limited understanding of the characteristics, motivations, and strategies of these firms. Why do EMMs decide to invest abroad? In which markets do they concentrate their investments and why? And how do their strategies and needs compare to those of traditional multinationals from developed countries?
In a book we will launch tomorrow at the World Bank, “New Voices in Investment,” we address these questions using a World Bank and UNIDO-funded survey of 713 firms from four emerging economies: Brazil, India, Korea, and South Africa.
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