Conclusion: Bridging the gap between aspiration and action
Despite recent progress, many economies have significant unexploited potential to simultaneously increase economic growth and social inclusion. But activating the virtuous circle of inclusive growth more fully will require them to:
- Reconceive and prioritize structural economic reform as a systemic effort to strengthen the institutions and structural features of an economy that play an important role in driving both wider social inclusion and higher growth.
- Adopt a broader metric of national economic success that corresponds better to society’s bottom-line measure of economic progress: broad-based living standards.
The implicit income distribution system within many economies is in fact severely underperforming or relatively underdeveloped, but this is due to a lack of attention to and investment in key areas of policy rather than to an iron law of capitalism. Socioeconomic inequity is largely an endogenous rather than an exogenous challenge for policymakers. It needs to be recognized, prioritized, and measured as such in order to sustain public confidence in the capacity of technological progress and international economic integration to support rising living standards for all.
A new growth model that places people and living standards at the center of national economic policy and international economic integration is required to transform inclusive growth from aspiration into action in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Such an effort to reshape the assumptions and priorities of the way modern market economies organize themselves to generate socioeconomic progress can only be realized with the engagement of all stakeholders. The World Economic Forum System Initiative on Shaping the Future of Economic Progress is intended to serve the international community as a platform for such public-private cooperation.