Margaret Scott

Croissance et progrès social doivent aller de pair !

WASHINGTON – La géographie de la pauvreté et des injustices sociales a évolué de manière spectaculaire au cours des 20 dernières années. Plus de 70% des pauvres de la planète vivent dans des pays moyennement riches. Cette caractéristique qui va sans doute persister au cours de la prochaine décennie soulève des questions importantes. La croissance économique s'est-elle accompagnée de progrès équivalents dans la lutte contre la pauvreté et dans le développement humain ? Peut-on accepter une croissance sans avancées sociales, sans amélioration de la condition des femmes ?

Considérons l'Asie du Sud. Le taux de pauvreté a chuté de 60% en 1981 à 40% en 2005, ce qui étant donné la croissance de la population, n'a pas suffit à réduire le nombre de pauvres en valeur absolue (une personne est définie comme pauvre si elle gagne moins de 1,25 dollars par jour à parité de pouvoir d'achat de 2005). Néanmoins entre 1981 et 2005 le nombre de pauvres a augmenté, passant de 549 à 595 millions (la variation étant de 420 à 455 millions pour l'Inde où se trouvent prés de trois-quart des pauvres de la région).

Autrement dit, la croissance économique permet de marquer des points dans la lutte contre la pauvreté, mais elle ne suffit pas à elle toute seule à faire reculer le nombre total de pauvres dans cette région qui en détient le record en nombre absolu.

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