News / Economy

Economy Experts Call on Asia to Lead the World in Reducing Poverty

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gestures as he speaks during a session at the World Economic Forum On East Asia In Jakarta, Indonesia, June 12, 2011
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono gestures as he speaks during a session at the World Economic Forum On East Asia In Jakarta, Indonesia, June 12, 2011

Participants at a meeting of the World Economic Forum in Indonesia are calling on governments in Asia to lead the world in reducing poverty.

In the year 2000, 192 countries agreed to support the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to eradicate extreme poverty and significantly reduce child mortality rates by 2015.

In the years since, many Asian countries have experienced sustained double digit economic growth that has raised the living standards of millions of people.

But Rajat Nag, Managing Director General of the Asian Development Bank, joined a panel of economists and leaders at the World Economic Forum in Jakarta who say governments must do more to meet the Millennium Development goals.

Nag says despite the robust growth, 900 million people still live on $1.25 a day, 450 million people lack access to clean water, and more than 100 million children still die each year during childbirth.

He says governments in Asia must do more to fund basic nutrition programs, provide health care and education. Nag says paying for these programs will mean significantly raising taxes.

“In Asia the average taxes collected as a percentage of GDP is likely under 10 percent. In the developed world it is easily 20 percent. So there is a huge amount of public resource mobilization which needs to happen. Not just by raising tax rates but by increasing the tax base, improving the tax collection,” said Nag.

Indonesian Vice President Boediono says while significant progress in reducing poverty has been made in his country, he agrees that more programs and increased tax revenues are needed to address the problem.

“I belong to the school that the government should play an appropriate role and even in and especially in the social program, should intervene, proactively. And this requires financing and that I think has to be, to come from our own resources,” stated Boediono.

American economist and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University Jeffrey Sachs says Asian countries experiencing robust economic growth should shoulder the responsibility for poverty reduction with a mix of public and private initiatives. He says the slow economic recovery in the developed world has left Europe looking inward and the United States overly focused on cutting taxes.

“My own country the United States wants it for free. We're on a constant tax cutting binge. The rich want no taxes," said Sachs. "They say let the market do it but we end up without the social policy. We have lots of poverty. We end up without the environmental policy.”

While U.S. income tax rates are still higher than those in Asia, they remain lower than those in European countries. Opponents of higher taxes say they inhibit economic growth from private business that ultimately does more to lift people out of poverty.

Sachs says Asia's dynamic economic growth in recent years also brings an increased responsibility to meet its pledge to eradicate extreme poverty in the next four years.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8896
JPY
USD
119.26
GBP
USD
0.6475
CAD
USD
1.2451
INR
USD
61.816

Rates may not be current.