Harmony in Progress: Solutions for a Balanced World

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GRC 2023 Global Essay Competition Top 30

By Khahn Quynh Tran

As society progresses, social inequality and overuse of resources is often seen globally. With the Gini coefficient of wealth inequality for the whole world being 0.67 in 2020 and the amount of consumed raw materials worldwide being 101.4 billion tonnes in 2021, it is clear how economic growth has transformed our society (Newsroom 2022, World Inequality Lab 2022). In order for countries and companies to balance economic development, resource consumption and wealth distribution, there are some key solutions which I personally refer to as PIES: Policies, Investment, Education and Sustainability.

First and foremost - Policies - the backbone of every nation. Progressive taxation is one example - governments can increase tax rate for more budget on social expenditures, and allow tax exemptions for businesses that invest in social services. Regulating industries to reduce negative environmental effects, supporting sustainable businesses, and encouraging resource efficiency should be considered when making policies regarding responsible resource consumption. For example, a possible policy on permitting industrial zone constructions could state that around 30% of the zone or the capital has to be reserved for environmental investments, like building lakes or trees. Governments should also establish policies that follow the Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations.

Another nation-level resolution is to invest in small and medium enterprises and social enterprises. Small and Medium enterprises account for 90% of businesses and more than half of employment worldwide, and formal SMEs contribute up to 40% of GDP in developing economies (World Bank 2022). These statistics show how fundamental SMEs are for countries to grow economically and for unemployment rate to decrease, making wealth distribution more even among social classes. The increase of enterprises also contribute to the variety of industries and fields on the market, facilitating market diversity and economic growth. Social enterprises such as elderly homes, charity or businesses with disabled employees should be promoted. Additional to the benefits they bring to the increase of employment rate, these enterprises also focus on addressing social issues such as poverty, education, environment or healthcare, promoting social wellbeing and creating conditions in which individuals can thrive, fostering even wealth distribution and limiting resource consumption as for environmental social enterprises. As a result, countries should focus on the growth of these enterprises and provide certain benefits and privileges such as funding, reducing tax and minimizing administrative procedures.

The third key factor is to improve and promote the quality of public education. According to UNESCO, high-income countries spent nearly double the amount on education as low-income countries in 2020 (AJLabs 2023). Indeed, a well-educated workforce is more productive and innovative, resulting in increased economic output and prosperity. By ensuring equal access to education, everyone, regardless of their background, have equal opportunities to pursue economic success, which reduces income disparity. As an example, Norway spent 6.6% of total GDP on education, the highest in the world, and expectably, the GDP per capita of Norway in 2022 is reported to be US$ 106,148.0, making it one of the highest income countries worldwide (NCES 2023, World Bank 2010). This shows how important education is for a well-developed nation.

Sustainability is another ultimate key to a balanced nation. As nations develop economically, industrialization is an inevitable part. However, increased production of goods and services and infrastructure development can cause resource overconsumption, that is, to use substantial amounts of natural resources such as fossil fuels and minerals. According to Global Footprint Network, humans are using resources almost twice the rate Earth can renew them (Population Matters 2023). The ultimate way that countries can balance economic growth and resource consumption is to adopt the model of a Circular Economy - a system where materials never become waste and nature is regenerated. Not only does a circular economy ensure sustainable resource consumption, it can also stimulate economic development by opening up market opportunities for green businesses and save budget in the long run. Furthermore, technologies that promote sustainability such as renewable energy or energy-efficient technologies should also be implemented.

Finally, companies can also contribute to the process of balancing economic growth, resource usage and income distribution. Sustainable business practices, which involve implementing energy-efficient technologies, reducing waste and installing eco-friendly raw materials are recommended. They are also suggested to balance between financial and social benefits, through donations and charity projects, and develop strategies that can benefit society. An example of this is that from 2011 to 2013, Fortune Global 500 companies spent $2.6 billion on education annually (Watson 2015).

In conclusion, effective policies, investing in small, medium and social enterprises, ensuring education for all, sustainability as well as companies actions can significantly contribute to a balanced society in terms of economic development, resource consumption and wealth distribution. By effectively enforcing all of these solutions, our world can stay strong and sustainable through the hardships of times.


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“GDP per Capita (Current US$) - Norway | Data.” 2010. Worldbank.org. 2010. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD?locations=NO.

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The World Bank. 2022. “SME Finance.” World Bank. www.worldbank.org. 2022. https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/smefinance.

Watson, Bruce. 2015. “10 Companies Spending Millions on Education.” The Guardian. The Guardian. January 14, 2015. https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/jan/14/10-companies-business-s chool-education-philanthropy-inequality.

widworld_admin. 2021. “Global Inequality from 1820 to Now: The Persistence and Mutation of Extreme Inequality.” World Inequality Report 2022. October 20, 2021.

https://wir2022.wid.world/chapter-2/#:~:text=We%20reach%20the%20same%20conclusi on%20when%20we%20look%20at%20other.

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Harmony in Progress: Solutions for a Balanced World
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