The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, has called for rethinking the economic model and implementing a new paradigm for the region that contributes to putting an end to economic, social and environmental inequalities, and moving toward sustainable development.
On Wednesday, ECLAC said that the senior United Nations official participated in a high-level event, entitled “Fractures in globalization and their implications for emerging economies,” held here in the framework of the 18th World Congress of the International Economic Association (IEA), organized jointly with the Mexican Center for Research and Teaching of Economics (CIDE).
While speaking on the first panel on “Rethinking global finance – The perspectives of emerging economies,” ECLAC said Bárcena affirmed that “capitalism and hyper-globalization have led us to social, political and environmental problems that are not sustainable, which means we must reimagine ourselves as a society in terms of consumption and production.”
She said the region needs an industrial policy and a serious policy for productive diversification, aimed at greater growth and development.
In her analysis, ECLAC’s top representative called for forging a new social compact that manages to halt the growing gap between rich and poor.
Bárcena said this gap is reaching new extremes, citing Credit Suisse figures that recently revealed that the richest 1 percent has accumulated more wealth than the rest of the world.
“Meanwhile, the wealth of the lower half of humanity has fallen in the last six years. This is just the latest evidence showing that today we live in a world with inequality levels that perhaps have not been seen in more than a century,” Bárcena warned.
She added that, according to Forbes magazine, eight individuals alone concentrate an amount of wealth that is equivalent to that of humanity’s poorer half and, among these billionaires, six are linked to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industries.
Bárcena said that macroeconomic management and industrial, innovation- and technology-related policies are crucial for resolving social problems, warning that the heterogeneity of productive structures among countries is accentuated due to the current technological revolution of the digital economy.
Furthermore, she said that globalization is increasingly being questioned, mainly in developed countries, “which has provoked an increase in nationalism, opposition to new trade agreements, resistance to immigration and the emergence of anti-globalization movements,” according to ECLAC.
In light of this scenario, Bárcena said international cooperation is the key for making progress on the regulation of markets, administering tensions, reducing inequalities and consolidating an open international system that protects public goods and shared and inclusive prosperity.
Bárcena also called for moving toward an open multilateralism, “an essential mechanism for confronting the economic, social and environmental tensions provoked by the uncertain international situation.”