Is globalisation breeding social inequality?

Globalisation has been a major source of economic growth for decades, especially in a country like China, which has powered the most rapid growth for large economies the world has ever seen on a sustained basis,” US economist Jeffrey Sachs said.

“The results, however, are not uniform across all countries, and within countries the benefits are also not equally shared, which is a big part of the problem,” Sachs, who attended the Old Mutual Corporate Wisdom Forum Gala Dinner in Johannesburg, said regretfully.

“Even if globalisation increases the size of the overall economic pie, it doesn’t mean the slices are divided in a way that’s benefitting everybody.”

Sachs, who reiterated that this inequality was one of the main contributors to a growing anti-globalisation sentiment, explained: “There are large worldwide inequalities of income and differences of population dynamics. Europe has a stable but declining population, compared to Africa, which has a rapid rising population of very poor people and inevitable increasing pressures for migration.”

Despite this, Sachs admits that globalisation is a continuing reality even if certain of its effects seem to be increasingly coming under widespread attack and scrutiny.

As Britain voted to leave the European Union and US President Donald Trump appears to be building a wall around his country, and negative sentiments against migrants are on the increase in the developed world as well as in South Africa, among others, the sad reality is that globalisation seems to be losing steam without anyone lifting a finger to help it.

Sachs, who acknowledges nevertheless that that there are areas where globalisation has worked well, appears to regret that around the world, people feel there is a need to approach interdependence more rationally

The upshot of this anti-globalisation sentiment is that the economy of virtually any country will likely stumble without access to international markets, trade and opportunities, directly impacting the livelihood and prospects of its people. Sachs warned.


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