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Interview: "Pulse of growth" has been impacted by global inequalities: senior UN official

English.news.cn   2014-02-12 05:58:02

by Stephanie Parker

UNITED NATIONS, Feb.11 (Xinhua) -- As the international community feels the stagnation of the global economy, a high-ranking official from the United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP) proclaimed that the "pulse of growth" has been impacted by modern-day inequalities.

Modern-day inequalities include economic, political, racial and social differences that negatively impact individuals and/or groups.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Selim Jahan, director of the UNDP's Poverty Practice Group (PPG), said, the "origin of conflict " is an intricate part of the inequality debate.

"If you look at different countries and you look at conflict whether it's political or social conflict, you will see a lot of the origin of the conflict has been residing with inequality," Jahan said. "Whether it is economic, social, political or racial inequality."

Prior to joining the UNDP team, Jahan, a Bangladeshi national, held several positions in Bangladesh, including professor of economics and director of the economic research unit, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and worked as adviser and consultant to various international organizations.

His previous work experience has proved to be important in his understanding and articulation of how poverty is correlated to disparities.


"A lot of the conflicts and confrontations on why a state is failing has a lot to do with the issue that they have inequalities brewing," the senior UN official noted. "I think if we understand that, we have to also come to the conclusion that if we do not deal with these sort of situations or these conflicts, then we will come to a situation where things will blow up."

The concern of situations reaching a "blow up" status are examined in the 2014 UNDP Poverty Reduction Report "Humanity Divided: Confronting Inequality in Developing Countries."

The report, issued here earlier this month, provided statistical evidence and data behind trends in inequality as well as the growing gap between the wealthy and the impoverished.

As of now, more than 75 percent of the population in the developing world is living in societies where the income is more unequally distributed than it was in the 1990's, the report said.

This startling fact has to do with Capital Density Production ( CDP), Jahan said. "In many countries, both in the emerging world and the developed world, there is now a Capital Density Production. "

Right now, there are two sectors that have greatly influenced global CDP. One is the financial sector and the second is the telecommunication sector.

In the financial market, the amount of money CEOs are drawing, the profit, the number of money big companies are making, are not being translated into action, Jahan said, who believed increasing action "may really help the poor people or may help people who are the working poor."

This issue has "(resulted) in a divergence between the income of the super rich, the rich and the poor," he said.

As a result, "those (industries) are basically the pulse of growth and wealth creation," he said. Sadly," there has not been any type of backwards or forwards linkage between those profits and the rest of the economy," Jahan said. "That is the reason why there has been a divergence in income inequality." According to Jahan, women are effected the most by income inequality.


The UN official stated that women account for 50 percent of the population. Therefore, "the issue of women is absolutely important, " he said.

"The whole question of gender inequality or equality against women starts at home," the official said.

As of now, the UN agency knows that "women have a buying power within the household," he said.

Even though "they are not major bread winners in most households for a living (because) they have to depend on men and that sort of thing," he said. "But there are norms that adversely effect women."

At this time, "we also know that in many countries and societies that girls are viewed as 'less' compared to boys," he said. "If there is an issue of sending a girl to school, the boy gets the preference."

Unfortunately, "the whole notion of inequality to women is that it starts within the home and then social policies and all sorts of things basically reinforce it," he said.

So, the progress made has been limited to small improvements.

"Women have made progress in norms and education," he said.

"But if you look at the whole education structure, the amount of advancement they have made is on a primary level. You do not see it at the secondary or the tertiary level," Jahan said.

Moreover, "women have developed capabilities in terms of education and knowledge," he said. "But (they) still face huge discrimination in terms of opportunities."

"If you look at the male participation rate compared to the female participation rate, the female rate has increased. But if you look at the sort of work women do, still they are very much constricted in the formal sector and productivity jobs," he said.

As of now, "(women are the last ones to be hired and the first ones to be fired in most cases," he said.

Subsequently, a variety of factors have contributed to inequality and the decline in economic opportunities for all people, especially women.

Thus, equal treatment for all people is the best way for the growing global community to enhance national and international prosperity, he added.

Editor: Mengjie
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