For Richer or Poorer: The capture of growth and politics in emerging economies

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The emerging economies Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Turkey – in short, the BRICSAMIT – have come to be considered the economic powerhouses of recent decades. Not only have these countries managed to reduce poverty
  1   January 2016 THE CAPTURE OF GROWTH ANDPOLITICS IN EMERGING ECONOMIES  Supported by:This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.This report has been developed with the assistance of Oxfam in order to share research results and to contribute to debate on development and humanitarian policy and practice. The content and views expressed in this report are the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Oxfam. AUTHOR Alice Krozer is a Doctoral Researcher at the Centre of Development Studies at the University of Cambridge, where her research and teaching focus on questions of income distribution and multi-dimensional inequalities. She has been consultant for the UN Economic Commission for Latin America, Political Advisor to the Austrian Embassy in Mexico, researcher at the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Public Policy in Argentina, as well as development practitioner in several Latin American countries. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Many people have helped improve this report throughout the different stages of the research and writing process. I would like to thank particularly Gianandrea Nelli, Meryem Aslan, Mariano De Donatis, Adhemar Mineiro, Pooja Parvati, Daria Ukho-va, Nick Galasso, Urvashi Sarkar, Darmawan Triwibowo, Sugeng Bahagijo, Kevin Mei, Chen Wu, Sibulele Poswayo, Carolina Maldonado, Rocio Stevens and Brisa Ceccon for their most valuable comments. Many thanks also to Daniel Hernandez for the wonderful graphic design, and Jane Garton for her excellent text editing. A very special thanks to Thomas Dunmore Rodriguez, without whom this report would not exist, for his kind support, constructive feedback and great enthusiasm from begin-ning to end of the project. As a coalition of civil society networks from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and South Africa, our aim is to ensure the voices of poor and marginalized people in our countries are taken into account in global policy-making processes. We encourage others – leaders and governments from our nations, businesses, academ-ics and fellow citizens – to join us in taking a stand on the issue of inequality and the negative impact it has on society. Cover photo: India, Mumbai, Maharashtra. A modern office building being constructed behind an old crumbling residential area (2011).Fredrik Naumann/ Panos Pictures  CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2.  MAPPING ECONOMIC INEQUALITY IN THE BRICSAMIT COUNTRIES 4.  THE HIGH COSTS OF INEQUALITY 1.  THE NEED TO TACKLE INEQUALITY IN THE BRICSAMIT COUNTRIES 3.  THE VICIOUS CIRCLE OF ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL POWER 5.  FIRST STEPS TO ADDRESS INEQUALITY IN THE BRICSAMIT COUNTRIESNOTES 626434841235  4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY  The emerging economies Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey – henceforth the BRICSAMIT – have come to be considered the economic powerhouses of recent decades, fostering a narrative of the growth of the South. Not only have these countries managed to reduce extreme poverty; most have embarked on a steep economic growth path and play an increasingly in󿬂uential role on the global scene. But an emphasis on growth masks another, worrying trend. Today, all eight BRICSAMIT countries occupy the top ranks as some of the most unequal countries in the world. The price these countries – and millions of their citizens – pay for this is high. Excessive inequality hampers development prospects: negatively impacting growth potential, threatening poverty reduction, leading to mass migra-tion 󿬂ows and ‘brain drain’, and reducing opportunities for young people. Inequality affects all aspects of a person’s life and life chances, from health and education to living environment and prospects for old age. Extreme inequality perpetuates high levels of violence and crime, fuels mistrust and undermines social cohesion. It is now clear that the gains of economic growth in the BRICSAMIT have been captured by the very richest. Fortunes have been made by large corporations engaged primarily in the extractives, agribusiness, infrastructure, media and telecom-munications sectors. The capture of power by economic elites, including companies, drives inequality by ensuring the rules remain rigged in favour of the rich, who grow increasingly in󿬂uential.This concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few is clearly at the expense of the many. It reinforces existing social structures, perpetuating inequality and excluding millions of people from an equitable share in prosperity. Despite the Children play around a waste water canal, Masephomolele township, Cape Town. (2014)Zed Nelson/ Oxfam
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