Building Back Broader: Policy Pathways for an Economic Transformation (WEF)

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As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenge now is to ensure a consistent, fair economic recovery. The World Economic Forum brought together experts to identify the most urgent economic and social challenges and explore a range of response options to build back on a much broader, more inclusive basis.

Key points:

  • Experts brought together by the World Economic Forum outline six paths to a fairer society.
  • The six recommendation areas focus on: a new approach to fiscal and monetary policy; shaping a new future of work, wages and job creation; developing, measuring and mainstreaming skills for the new economy; equity and social justice; new markets to drive long-term, inclusive and sustainable economic transformation; and confronting frontier risks.
  • Find the report here.

Further details:

Fiscal and monetary policy: While emergency fiscal and monetary interventions in the early stages of the pandemic were considered timely and generous across advanced economies, policy makers are now challenged to rethink the overall system, including tax architectures, fiscal spending to increase equality of opportunity and ways to bridge financing gaps in low- and middle-income countries. Economies should focus on investing in improving the capabilities of their people through education, physical and digital infrastructure and innovation.

Jobs and wages: The ‘double disruption’ of the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerated automation has destroyed jobs, deepened inequalities and ushered in the future of work, creating an urgent need to encourage the creation of quality jobs with decent wages and working conditions, especially for youth and other vulnerable groups.

Education and skills: COVID-19 had a dramatic effect on education and skills systems, highlighting existing gaps in learning needs and presenting new opportunities to reassess priorities on this agenda. There is now an urgency to improve access to the skills to thrive in an increasingly digitized, inter-connected and automated world.

Equity and social justice: The authors call on businesses and governments to view the post-pandemic recovery through an equity and social justice lense and to leverage the unprecedented opportunity to build new equitable systems that honour the dignity and equality of every human being. Reforms will need to include legislating to outlaw all forms of discrimination, for businesses to advocate for positive societal reform and for all decision makers to prioritize the interests of marginalized groups.

New markets: To create a new “green and equitable” economy, governments will need to play a driving role in orienting markets towards a deep transformation. The goal is for industries to develop and mainstream a new set of products, services and business models that provide solutions to the problems that societies face today. To this end, public- and private-sector actors must deliver new partnership models with a focus on shared intellectual property rights, a rebalancing of risks and rewards and a priority towards sustainability and societal benefit.

Frontier risks: As new technologies bring new opportunities, they also create new risks with unknown likelihood and impact, so-called frontier risks. Beyond exploring pathways to better preparedness, it is also important to consider why decision-makers so often fail to prepare for these risks. Societies will need to achieve greater resilience in particular with a view to new risks associated with space exploration, geoengineering, social networks and AI and genetic enhancement.

The paper is a result of discussions among six Global Future Councils of experts brought together by the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the New Economy and Society.

This article was originally shared by the WEF.