Wolfowitz on social responsibility

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World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz speaking at the 2005 Business for Social Responsibility Conference:

It seems that it wasn't that long ago when fighting poverty and fostering business were seen as, at best, unrelated and, at worst, at odds with one another. But, fortunately, I think our understanding has improved a lot in the last ten years or more, and today I think we know that economic growth, shared economic growth, is the only sustainable way to improve living standards, to give people the opportunity to escape poverty, and that the growth of the private sector is critical to creating the jobs that are essential to that growth.

When asked how countries should solve the problem of overregulation and informality he responds:

The problem is excessive regulation of the wrong kind and sometimes inadequate regulation. In fact, if you stop and think about what de Soto is talking about, in part he's saying there is no way of regulating property ownership so people can't use those--convert that dead capital into live capital. It's not the elimination of laws. It's the elimination of bad laws, and sometimes it's the creation of good ones.

The lengthy speech and complete Q&A touch upon everything from regulation and informality to local solutions and south-south investment. An excellent summary of the key issues on the World Bank Group’s PSD agenda.

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