Leveraging 'People' Power of Sustainability
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These days, we often come across the terms recession, economic decline, lower productivity, significance of integrity, fair practices and so on. Many may find these sounds quite intriguing and at times, perplexing. Hence, thought of briefly re-looking into some of these thematic areas which have become keywords of the day.
Generally speaking, a recession is usually defined as a business cycle contraction when there is a general decline in economic activity. The few things that happen during a recession are -the economy struggles, people lose work, companies make fewer sales and the country's overall economic output declines. The causes could range from a sudden economic shock, asset bubbles, rising debt, rising inflation and so on (Rodeck & Curry, 2022). Here, I thought of looking at one prime angle which precedes the above and if it is controlled on time could save many lives, entities and at the macro level- economies while being detriment to national development if ignored. Yes, I am talking about the role of integrity and fair practices to combat recession and promote sustainable development.
There has been substantial research available, which, time and again conclude the very same thing- unfair practices deter economic contribution and fairness in the society, diminishes opportunities, discourages the growth of talent, reduces productivity and harms sustainable development. For countries dependent on immigration, it devalues its position as a favourable destination and diverts talents to other economies providing better opportunities.
In the gloablised world, where information spreads with a click of a button, unfair practices may hinder not only the flow of talent but also negatively impact a country’s ability to absorb the benefits of globalization by reducing foreign direct investment, increases the likelihood of currency crises, lower lending support and more. Reinstating the negative role unfair practices play, one of the world's leading economists and the current Deputy Director in the International Monetary Funds’s (IMF) Fiscal Affairs Department notes, "(At the macro level) Corruption (unfair practices) is also known to distort the decision-making process associated with public investment and affects the composition of government expenditure. Such practices may lead public officials to allocate public resources less based on public welfare" (Mauro, 1997, 1998), and more for the benefit of the vested interests.
Neither the Great Depression nor the Great Recession were at all unique. Such crises manifested based on unfair practices that undermined regulations. The resulting panic collapsed the economy, with unemployment peaking. Similarly, the crash of 2008 devastated millions of lives (Kachman, 2021). With Covid-19, a similar economic situation holds today, especially for those just entering the job market. Public integrity was also key to a resilient response to the COVID-19 crisis, ensuring that government action benefits those in need. This crisis also created opportunities for many integrity violations and had the potential to intensify fraud and corruption, particularly in public procurement, economic stimulus packages and public organisations (OECD, 2020).
Another significant research also notes, "Few people doubt that adverse macroeconomic shocks have a profound effect on the material, psychological and physical well-being of people. Deterioration in people’s mental health, anxiety and alcohol-related disorders, job loss, salary reduction, business bankruptcy or falling remittances introduce uncertainly and make people insecure and vulnerable, which in turn can influence different aspects of their behaviour such as a higher probability of committing suicide, falling birth rates, as well as lower trust in national and supranational institutions" (Ivlevs & Hinks, 2013).
The above points thus makes it quite clear that there could be multiple factors triggering recession could but unfair practices play a fundamental role in facilitating it and magnifying its effects. There should therefore be zero tolerance for unfair practices and this very significant core issue should not be ignored. Timely decisions in this direction could save many lives and make the foundations of a healthy society stronger. On the other hand, ignoring this matter might force generations to pay the prices. It is certainly a choice to be made and, in a society, each one, be at the micro to macro level could play a role in it, however small it may be. Adhering to fairness practices is not just an option to choose but the very basis of a society to exist and for its sustainable development.
Ivlevs, A. and Hinks, T. (2012) “Sample Selection and Bribing Behaviour” UWE Economics Discussion Paper 1208. University of the West of England.
Kachman, E (2021), The corruption behind the crash of 2008, Available online at <https://thefulcrum.us/Elections/Campaign-Finance/economic-crisis>
Mauro, P. (1997), “Why worry about corruption?”, International Monetary Fund, Washington, D.C
Mauro, P. (1998), “Corruption and the Composition of Government Expenditure”, World Bank Available online at <http://www1.worldbank.org/publicsector/anticorrupt/CoreCourse2005/Mauro.pdf>
OECD (2020), Public Integrity for an Effective COVID-19 Response and Recovery, OECD, Available online at <http://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/en/>
Rodeck, D. & Curry, B. (2022), “What is a recession?”, Forbes, Jul 12, 2022, Available online at- https://www.forbes.com/advisor/investing/what-is-a-recession/
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Dr. Jayantee Mukherjee Saha