GEG Director Dr Emily Jones spoke at the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry, the UK’s largest gathering of business leaders. On a panel entitled ‘How to ensure globalisation is a positive force’, Dr Jones argued that the UK, along with the US and other industrialised countries, is at a pivotal moment as many citizens have little faith in the economic system.
Over the past three decades globalisation has brought gains and average incomes have increased across the world, particularly in Asian countries. Yet many citizens in the UK are struggling and, crucially, many of them are in work. One in five people in the UK live in poverty, and half of them are living in a household where at least one adult works. Many are trapped in low pay. Moreover, citizens are losing their trust in governments and corporations – the very institutions that have the ability to bring about change. Economic inequalities need to be addressed, and trust restored in our institutions, if citizens are going to support outward oriented economic policies. The UK needs to address its productivity crisis and create new high-paying jobs, but it also needs to address low-pay and invest in public services.
Other panellists were Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary General; Steven Armstrong, Group Vice President and President of Europe, Middle East and Africa, Ford Motor Company; Marike de Peña, Board Chair, Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC); Robert F Smith, Founder, Chairman & Chief Executive, Vista Equity Partners.