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  • R H
  • Chicago, IL
  • United States


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Why do we NOT invest effectively in the poor and marginalized so they can participate in the global economy?

Nearly half of the world's population cannot effectively participate or contribute to the global economy. Basic economic theory holds that each 'participant' in the economy is a 'unit of productivity' providing a return on investment. In other words, it's more profitable to have people working and consuming than not. Yet nations continue to allow and accept that the poor and marginalized are - to borrow from another popular phrase - 'too big to succeed'.

In my view, the (relatively) small investment in infrastructure, education, and basic healthcare in the poor and marginalized will be more than made up by their increased productivity and spending. The rich think they're rich now, just imagine the wealth created by having 3 billion more people buying their stuff? I know there are obvious problems with this: corruption, unified effort, immediate ROI, etc. - but why is this such a 'tough sell' to national leadership? They're always looking for ways to increase the tax base.

3+ billion people now contribute to the world gross productivity. What if that were doubled? To me, this is the next threshold of economic growth -bringing in those who have been left out. Yet, we don't even talk about it. What do you think?

Topics: economics society

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    Nov 1 2012: Basically, it is because that they dont have competitive advantage which is the leverage for them to participate without being squeezing by other stronger economies.
    To make their way out of jungles and deserts, they firstly should possess sth values to other countries, such as the low-priced labor, land and other resources. Only after trading or sacrificing sth can they have more to trade and participate in the world's economic operation.
    Maybe it is a little pessimistic, but in my view: each countries' developmental history is full of being exploited and exploiting others, to some extent.
    Let' s hope that in the future, we will have some more eco-friendly way for being exploited.
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      R H 30+

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      Nov 2 2012: Thanks Linda for responding to this conversation. I believe what you're saying is that the poor and marginalized have not 'positioned' themselves for competitiveness and being attractive to investors, and that our histories demonstrate the tenet of exploitation. I would certainly agree with such a pragmatic view. But, our histories have also demonstrated racism, women as 2nd class, slavery, worker exploitation, child labor, and other maladies that we have (in the developed world, to a large extent but not completely) nearly eradicated. There were obvious social incentives for these efforts. Can we find similar incentives for investing here? Rather than exploitation, can we create building blocks towards and inclusive and wealthy future for all?
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        Nov 4 2012: i hope that there will be a way to do so. maybe the open-source education is such a way.
        what do you say?

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