The Singapore National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation (SINCPEC) and the Philippine Pacific Economic Cooperation Committee (PPECC) co-organized annual PECC Singapore Conference, "Achieving Inclusive Economic Growth in the New Normal," on February 27th 2015 in support of APEC 2015 chaired by the Philippines.
When we talk of the 'new normal' it tends to be in terms of the slower growth many economies in the region are facing today and inclusive growth has been defined in terms of ensuring that more citizens have the opportunity to benefit from and contribute to economic activity. This was the intent of the way this conference was framed. However there are other ways to think about these concepts and this became apparent through the course of our discussions.
The challenge of inclusive growth agenda is enormous. When the region's policymakers set the Bogor Goals it was a top-down process. The region's leaders agreed that the best path to achieving prosperity was through free and open trade and investment. Today, policies are just as likely to come up from the bottom. One side of the story is that policymakers are now playing a catching up game by reacting to the rapid transformations taking place in the business world, while another side of the story is the way in which social networks are facilitating an unprecedented level of participation in the policy process - from crowd-sourcing ideas to online social movements. This might be defined as inclusive policy process rather than inclusive growth itself. These phenomena present enormous opportunities and challenges for new ideas and cross-sectoral fertilization of innovation.
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