Policy Article

Beyond Capital and Wealth: Challenges of the G20

G20 Insights

The world is economically integrated, but socially fragmented. Thus economic progress can become decoupled from social progress. The G20 has traditionally focused on economic policy issues – economic growth and financial stability. This is appropriate as along as social progress is closely tied to economic progress, for then the achievement of material prosperity will promote human flourishing. But when economic and social progress becomes decoupled – as we commonly observe through growing income disparities, growing disempowerment and disintegrating social affiliations – then an exclusive preoccupation with economic policy issues is unlikely to quell the widespread public discontent. On this account, it is appropriate for the G20 objectives to be broadened to include resilient, inclusive and sustainable prosperity. These objectives must be attained with regard to more than material needs; they must also address the human needs for empowerment and solidarity. This wider conception of human needs calls for a new worldview to underlie G20 policymaking, one that generates social acceptance for multilateral cooperation in tackling multilateral problems, while allowing different countries to nourish different national, cultural and religious identities.