Building Blocks for an Inclusive and Resilient Economy
7th CUTS-CIRC Biennial Conference on Competition, Regulation and Development
The on-going Covid-19 crisis has had an unprecedented socio-economic adverse effect around the world, more severely in the Global South. Mitigating the gains that globalisation and liberalisation had brought vis-à-vis poverty alleviation, the pandemic has enhanced economic inequality within and between countries. It has vividly exposed the already existing economic divide within society. But as it is said, the worst crisis also presents best opportunities. Thus the pandemic brings an opportunity to craft a development paradigm that results in a resilient and inclusive economy. This opportunity can, however, be translated into reality only when there is a global political will, along with adequate resources and infrastructure.
In January 2021, Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, called for ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism and requested the world to act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Echoing the same resolve for an alternative pathway David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, called for an approach to economic recovery that results in a broad and lasting rise in prosperity, especially for the poorest and most marginalized.
Several other calls such as ‘stakeholder capitalism’, ‘building back better’, ‘building back broader’ or ‘build back differently’ etc. fall under the same bracket. Taking forward this resolve, the 7th edition of the CUTS-CIRC Biennial Conference on Competition, Regulation and Development will deliberate upon few macro and micro issues to crystallise the path for an inclusive and resilient economic recovery with a focus on the global south.
It is necessary to understand how multilateralism could be used as a building block for an inclusive economy, learning from its experience and growing dissatisfactions against it. Similarly, it would be interesting to understand how to deal with growing market power and concentration in economies, which is contributing to the increase in economic inequality.
There are also debates around the equitable access to vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, for which countries need to work together. It appears that the comity of nations is seeing reason in working together and particularly to negate the monopoly rights of producers.
Further, the growing digitalisation of businesses during pandemic has put e-commerce as an important mode not only to aid economic recovery but also as a tool for an inclusive economy. However, there are certain risks attached to this, which needs to be minimised, and gains maximised. Furthermore, creating more jobs and income opportunities has become imperative on the governments around the world, which demands focussed discussions in the context of the economic recovery approaches that can lead to more jobs and hence more equitable and resilient economy. Ecommerce certainly offers an avenue for new jobs.
In light of the above, the two-day event, in its six sessions, will deal with the following issues in the given context: Diminishing Multilateralism; Growing Market Power and Concentration; Equitable Access to COVID-19 Healthcare Solutions; E-commerce; Jobs and Income Opportunities. The last session will present the contours of the recovery path as the way forward.