“We were taught to take care of our GNP because it would take care of poverty. Let us reverse this and take care of poverty because it will take care of the GNP” wrote Mahbub ul Haq in 1971. Though the confidence in the ‘trickle down’ waned decades ago still, around the world, more than a billion languish at the bottom, without access to basic needs. The economic inequality that was once thought to promote growth is now a suspect cause of terrorism. Despite the popularity of Human Development Index the dreamed shift, from focus on the ‘rate of growth’ to the ‘content of growth’ remains elusive, at least in the developing world, including Pakistan. What poverty and inequality supposedly mean for crime, conflict and governance and what poverty means for environmental depletion, makes inclusivity as much the concern of the rich as it is of the poor.
Against this backdrop, the theme of the 30th AGM and conference of the Pakistan Society of Development Economists is “Poverty, Inequality and Economic Growth”. The conference aims to explore the inter linkages between poverty and inequality and what the two mean for growth as well as the society at large. The broader questions that the conference seeks to debate include but are not limited to; where the poor figure into the growth philosophy of a nation? How the majority may reap dividends of the growth process rather than live on doles from it.
The sub-themes for the 30th AGM and Conference are:
1. Inclusive Growth
2. Inequality: A Constraint to Growth
3. Breaking out of poverty : Micro-finance and Entrepreneurship
4. Poverty, Conflict and Development
5. Environment, Growth and Poverty
6. Household Vulnerability and Social Protection