Between Vulnerability and Resilience: Economic growth in the region does not guarantee decrease in inequality

Latinamerica Press/ALC

2014 Human Development Report  Sustaining Human Progress  Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience (UNDP)Presented on July 24 by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the 2014 edition of the Human Development Report, entitled “Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience,” discusses two topics that are interconnected and are important to ensure progress in human development:  vulnerability and resilience.

“This report argues for the need to sustainably improve the skills of individuals and societies with the goal of reducing these persistent vulnerabilities, many of which are structural and linked to the cycle of life,” maintains the UNDP. “Progress must be focused on the promotion of human development resiliency. Although there is a broad debate regarding the meaning of resiliency, we focus on human resilience which seeks to guarantee the soundness of current and future options for people and their ability to handle and adapt to adverse events.”

Despite the achievements in human development matters, Latin America and the Caribbean continue to be the region of the world with the highest income inequality.

“Inequality reduces the pace of human development and can even bring it to a halt. Although overall inequality in the HDI [Human Development Index], has recently declined, it is not sufficient to offset growing income disparities with progress in health and education. To tackle vulnerability and sustain recent achievements, it is crucial to reduce inequality in all dimensions of human development,” the report says.

In 2010 the UNDP introduced the inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI), which calculates how the progress of each country is distributed among the three dimensions of the HDI:  life expectancy, years of schooling and income. According to the IHDI, Latin America and the Caribbean loses 25 percent of human development due to inequality.

“Inequality affects not only those at the poorest end of the distribution, but it affects the entire society as a whole — as it threatens social cohesion and hampers social mobility, fuelling social tensions that can lead to civil unrest and political instability. Large income disparities can even undermine democratic values if wealthy individuals influence political agendas (for example, by securing tax breaks for top income earners and cutbacks in social services) or try to shape social perceptions (through the media),” the report notes.

According to the UNDP, the poorest two-thirds of the world’s population receive less than 13 percent of world’s income, while the richest 1 percent receives almost 15 percent.

“Beyond income, about half the world’s wealth is owned by the richest 1 percent of the population, with the richest 85 people collectively holding the same wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population. Globalization, technological progress, deregulation of labour markets and misguided macroeconomic policies are likely to create and sustain these large gaps in income and wealth,” assures.

2014 Human Development Index (HDI)
Country Rank HDI* HDI-D**
Chile 41 0.822 0.661
Cuba 44 0.815 n.a.
Uruguay 50 0.790 0.662
Bahamas 51 0.789 0.676
Barbados 59 0.776 n.a.
Antigua and Barbuda 61 0.774 n.a.
Trinidad and Tobago 64 0.766 0.649
Panama 65 0.765 0.596
Venezuela 67 0.764 0.613
Costa Rica 68 0.763 0.611
Mexico 71 0.756 0.583
Saint Kitts and Nevis 73 0.750 n.a.
Brazil 79 0.744 0.542
Grenada 79 0.744 n.a.
Peru 82 0.737 0.562
Belize 84 0.732 n.a.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 91 0.719 n.a.
Dominica 93 0.717 n.a.
Jamaica 96 0.715 0.579
Saint Lucia 97 0.714 n.a.
Colombia 98 0.711 0.521
Ecuador 98 0.711 0.549
Suriname 100 0.705 0.534
Dominican Republic 102 0.700 0.535
Paraguay 111 0.676 0.513
Bolivia 113 0.667 0.470
El Salvador 115 0.662 0.485
Guyana 121 0.638 0.522
Guatemala 125 0.628 0.422
Honduras 129 0.617 0.418
Nicaragua 132 0.614 0.452
Haiti 168 0.471 0.285
*Measures the average advances in health, education and income; values range from 1 to 0, with 1 being the highest HDI.
**HDI adjusted for inequality.

Source: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Photo: 2014 Human Development Report  Sustaining Human Progress  Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience (UNDP)

Source: Latinamerica Press:

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