Viewpoint: Social Mobility and Economic Development

27 JAN,2020 | MEDC


Mobility is the fundamental pillar of globalization, as it seeks to bring about a world where ideas, people, goods and services can cross borders with ease and efficiency. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has created a Social Mobility Index, which is designed to provide policymakers with means to identify areas for improving social mobility and promoting equality shared opportunities in their economies, regardless of their development. The index shows that only a handful of nations have the right conditions for social mobility. The top five, unsurprisingly, are Nordic countries – Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Iceland. India ranks 76th, the lowest amongst BRICS, except for South Africa (77th). This should elicit a strong government response, as this is another importantranking where India needs a powerful policy intervention. On the inequality front, the situation is worrying … the world’s richest 1% have more than twice the wealth of the poorest 6.9 billion. Women’s unpaid care work has a monetary value of $ 10.8 trillion per year, which is thrice the size of the world’s tech industry. No matter how much economic productivity rises, we need to realize that such gross inequality will pose a grave danger to society. As long as labour markets are not made sufficiently flexible, and social mobility does not increase, whatever gains we may accrue in economic terms will not be sustainable. As our Constitution turns 70, the government should do everything possible to ensure that India’s rich demographic dividend is not hampered by a lack of social mobility and the concomitant opportunities it opens up to them.


*Photo Credit: Google


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