Is Competition Compatible with Equity?

LE MONDE ECONOMIE, June 26, 2013

By Pierre Jacquet

Chief Economist, Agence française de développement.

In the eternal debate on the links between growth, poverty and inequality, it is particularly important to hear the views from developing countries.

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The online forum organised by the international NGO, Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) based in Jaipur (India) can head off the beaten track.

In July 2011, Pradeep S Mehta and Bipul Chatterjee of CUTS wrote a book from the first forum (Growth and Poverty: The Great Debate). In May 2013 a new thread of discussion was launched in response to a simple remark of Dr C Rangarajan, Chief Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh “The growth cannot be pursued at the cost of damage to the equity”.

Should we be offended on behalf of equity, requires one of the protagonists, if the richest are experiencing an increase in revenues of 15 percent and if the others 99 percent see their revenues increasing of 10 percent?

In response, some suggest the risk of social tension, noting that at the moment of the Arab Spring the economic growth was around six to seven percent per year in Egypt but that inequalities were significantly increased. Similarly, in Tunisia, the perception of social injustice has caused the revolt.

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