Trade and Development Report 1997

Globalization, Distribution and Growth

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This illuminating report sheds light on some of the pressing policy issues facing developing countries and the international community as a whole. It explores the interaction of trends in the international economy with the prospects of developing countries. The Report compares current economic performance with that of the preceeding year and examines future economic prospects at the regional and global level. This special report makes compelling reading for those seeking new knowledge and insights into the effects of globalization.



Globalization and economic convergence

The gap between the richest and the poorest countries in the world is vast. Average per capita income in the richest countries is some 50 times that in the poorest. The persistence of very low standards of living for much of the world’s population should be seen as among the most pressing challenges facing policymakers at both the domestic and the international level. Recent trends also suggest that it is not only those developing countries on the lowest rungs which are finding it difficult to raise living standards for the majority of their citizens. With the notable exception of the newly industrializing East Asian economies, growth in most developing countries slowed significantly in the late 1970s or early 1980s, often involving an absolute drop in per capita income. Although some countries have recovered quite strongly since the late 1980s, many have continued to experience slow and fragile growth which has further widened the gap between their average living standards and those of the richest countries.


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