Inclusive growth: a preliminary critique

Authors: Erica Pani*, Newcastle University, Andy Pike, Newcastle University, Danny MacKinnon, Newcastle University
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: Inclusive Growth, Economic Geography,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Bayside B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Over the past decade, ‘Inclusive growth’ has emerged as a leading academic and policy concept in the wake of the 2008-09 crisis, recession, uneven recovery and on-going ‘Great Instability’. The articulation and promulgation of the idea by researchers and policymakers as a framework capable of reducing and/or ameliorating inequalities by distributing the benefits of economic growth more widely – both socially and spatially – now dominates the search for more ‘inclusive’ forms of economy. Despite its rapid ascendancy and adoption by various academic disciplines and policy institutions across the world, ‘inclusive growth’ is bedeviled by fundamental and unresolved issues. Yet, there has been only limited and fragmented critiques and reflections upon its aims and purposes, conceptual and theoretical basis and anatomy, language, translation into policy, governance and politics, measurement and evaluation, and geographies and adaptation to context especially in global North and South settings. This contribution outlines a preliminary critique of this zeitgeist idea. It argues that while ‘inclusive growth’ is a potentially workable concept for pragmatic utilisation by urban and regional researchers and policymakers in efforts to bend sub-national economies in more social directions, its incoherence and internal contradictions may undermine its most basic premise of achieving more inclusive economies. It is not enough to simply (re)insert the social and spatial distribution of growth into the economic and political agenda whilst prioritizing an ‘economy as usual approach’. Rather, creative, disruptive and innovative thinking is required regarding new models and policies for more inclusive urban and regional development.

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