Liberty Discussion on ‘The Right Question About Inequality and Growth’

On January 26, 2017, the Liberty Discussion members discussed on the article ‘The Right Question About Inequality and Growth’ by Jason Furman at Gaia Restaurant and Coffee Shop, Thamel.

In the article, the writer begins by saying that the economists have not reached on a consensus regarding the relationship between economic growth and inequality. While talking about this issue, the writer puts forth his view that it is the duty of economists and social scientists to study the relationship between economic growth and inequality.  The policy makers should not worry about this relationship and, instead focus on policies that would generate growth and reduce inequality at the same time. While making this argument, the writer gives examples of the reforms on the education sector. He claims that policies that increase the quality of education will result into higher economic growth and bring down inequality at the same time.

The discussion started with looking into the relationship between inequality and economic growth. Some of the participants stated that inequality is a price that must be paid to achieve higher economic growth, while others stated that higher inequality results into the stagnation of the economy.

Some of the discussants asserted that inequality is not the real problem. They opined that poverty is the real problem.  Therefore, the focus should be on improving the living standard of the people rather than on reducing the inequality between the rich and the poor. However, some other participants did not quite agree to this view. Their perspective was that inequality can bring a situation of conflict in the society. So, in order to avoid this conflict inequality should be checked.

Likewise, discussants doubted the writer’s view where he claims that the focus of social scientists and policy makers should be different. The participants affirmed that policies made by the policymakers should be based on the scientific studies conducted by social scientists. Hence, their focus should not be different. Instead, they should collaborate in finding out relationship between various social and economic variables and formulate policies on the basis of the findings.