‘Peo­ple should dis­cover how to make things bet­ter’

New Straits Times - - Business -


KUALA LUMPUR ru­pa­banerji@me­di­

ALOT of pes­simism in the world with re­gards to glob­al­i­sa­tion, equal­ity and ro­bots dis­plac­ing jobs and op­por­tu­ni­ties right are mis­placed, says World Bank chief economist Paul Romer.

“We should not let it make us blind to op­por­tu­ni­ties. We should cre­ate places that let peo­ple con­nect and learn, and then dis­cover how to make things even bet­ter,” he said at the Global Trans­for­ma­tion Fo­rum, here, yes­ter­day.

Whether in pur­suit of fac­tory or ser­vice sec­tor jobs, peo­ple moved to cities and that gave them new pos­si­bil­i­ties and made them bet­ter peo­ple, he said.

“Cities make us smarter, richer and bet­ter. Ev­ery fam­ily has the op­tion to move to dif­fer­ent cities, and be given a chance to learn to be smarter and bet­ter,” said Romer.

While schools were im­por­tant in­sti­tu­tions, there were many who did not want to re­turn to their books, he added. Draw­ing ref­er­ence to Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak’s key­note ad­dress, Romer said hu­man cap­i­tal and con­nec­tiv­ity are key in­gre­di­ents.

Rapid trans­for­ma­tion and the pace of ur­ban­i­sa­tion un­fold­ing now makes it even pos­si­ble for cities in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries to grow and be­come like Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai.

The pos­si­bil­ity of learn­ing new skills also en­able cities even in coun­tries like Bangladesh to take on more func­tions and grow to a metropo­lis like New York.

“The de­vel­op­ing world will lead in more built ur­ban ar­eas, per­haps 100 times more than what ac­tu­ally ex­ist in the de­vel­op­ing world now. That sounds daunt­ing but not im­pos­si­ble,” he said.


World Bank chief economist Paul Romer.

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