Beyond Economic Growth

Manila Bulletin, March 17, 2017 | Go to article overview

Beyond Economic Growth


By Florangel Rosario Braid

How does the country fare in areas beyond economic development? True, we have made con - siderable gains in the economic realm (compared to the years when we were the "sick man" in Asia) as shown in the growth of our GDP (which in 2016 was at 6.8%) and in our ranking from at least three credible credit rating groups. There is, however, a growing questioning of this dominant paradigm of economic growth and that the non-economic aspects are as equally if not more important in measuring individual and society's wellbeing. Even some of the most respected economists and thought leaders in various countries are beginning to shift focus on the material progress as they search for more meaningful indicators such as happiness, inner peace, harmony, environmental sustainability.

Human development is about enlarging human choices - focusing on the richness of human lives, rather than simply the richness of economies. Central to this process is work, which engages people all over the world in different ways and takes up a major part of their lives. The notion of work is however broader and deeper than that of jobs. The enhancement of health, knowledge, skills, and awareness will therefore broaden opportunities and choices. Work enhances human development when existing policies expand productive, remunerative, and satisfying work opportunities. This also means that they help enhance workers' skills and potentials, and ensure their rights, safety, and well being.

Four indices are used to measure human development - the Human Development Index (HDI) which has three basic dimensions - health, knowledge, and income. The other three are Gender Inequality Index(GII), Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), and Other Work-Related indicators.

The country's HDI increased by 20% between the years 1980 and 2014 but fell by a few notches (115 ranking out of 190 countries) in 2014. Inequality pulled down the HDI, demonstrated in disparities in income and education. Another factor affecting the ranking was the weak implementation of laws protecting property. This continued to prevail together with a culture of impunity despite judicial independence which was strong, according to Heritage Foundation. …

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