Pragmatic support for growth?

In: Uncategorized

23 May 2008

A leader in today’s Financial Times includes a useful summary of the just published Growth Report from the Commission on Growth and Development:

“The “Washington Consensus” – stabilise, privatise and liberalise – is dead. Long live the new pragmatism. That is the message of “the growth report” released this week by the commission on growth and development chaired by the Nobel laureate, Michael Spence.

“No single recipe will secure sustained and rapid economic growth in poor countries, it argues. Governments have to choose from a variety of ingredients. Yet only governments can do so. They “are sometimes clumsy and sometimes errant”, but “active, pragmatic governments” are indispensable.

“This pragmatism is one of the two principal contributions of this report. The other is its focus on growth itself. This is not to suggest that growth alone matters. But without it sustained improvements in human welfare are impossible: one cannot redistribute nothing. The report forces us to refocus attention on this overriding goal.”

I suspect the support for growth is more qualified than the comment suggests. However, since most of the commission’s members are developing country policymakers it is likely to be more pro-growth than if it was composed mainly of Westerners.

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