The term social and economic development makes sense only from the universalization of some social gains, such as lower infant mortality rate, quality universal education, promoting compatible, income distribution, making the market dynamic and above all, fomenting actions to protect the environment against "aggression" imposed by economic and industrial activity.
Marcus Eduardo de Oliveira
To achieve these and other social, economic and ecological achievements, it is urgent to promote quality education, to develop research in crucial areas of knowledge, prioritizing science and technology, generating good jobs which involve in return fair distribution of income, including the excluded, seeking to achieve sustainability standards, prioritizing people, not goods, enhancing the human and natural capital, not the physical capital.
Without generalizing these assumptions, nothing advances, except the rates of poverty and chronic poverty and environmental degradation, sponsored by the claims of a consumer market that demands more and more production. It is the social and ecological which must be above the economic. It's the economy that should serve people, and not vice versa.
In other words, what is intended here is to say that it is no use, for example, occupying the sixth position in the world ranking of vehicle production if we (Brazil) do not improve the roads and highways for this movement (we have a more than 1.7 million km road network, but only 170,000 km are paved).
No use being the fourth country that sells more cars worldwide (3.5 million in 2010 alone); the largest steel producer in Latin America; we are the 3rd largest airline fleet in the world (more than 11,000 aircraft and 32,000 active pilots) if absurdly (1/3, over 30%) of our homes still do not have access to plumbing (sewers) and drinking water.
No use thriving economically on one side, if on the other, of every thousand children born, 14 die before reaching 1 year of life. No use of selling enviable quality airplanes to foreign markets still not even knowing how to handle 43 million tons of garbage produced in this country every year.
Despite the advances on the social side - and they were many - especially those that account for life expectancy - today it is 75 years compared to 31 years on record in 1900 - plus the increase in per capita income and the possibility of constructing a market consumption of large mass, but the hard fact is that it is necessary to promote economic development rates, combined with the physical growth of the economy, which will turn into substantial improvement for the needy.
We know, however, that growth for only growth's sake does not make sense; even cancer cells act like that. What we need to do is to make the economy grow, but grow with quality, that rescues the needy act, giving them opportunities for continuous improvement.
This is the true type of growth/development that matters. The economy, as a science and production activity has this duty; incidentally, it was born while being a systematic body of knowledge, to do just that: to better the lives of the needy.
So we always need a social and human economy, not a marketing and financial, technical and rebarbative one. We need an economy that is far from the wills dictated by the global financial markets and which approaches the conditions that lead to social and human welfare and well-being.
Marcus Eduardo de Oliveira is an economist and professor of economics at the FAC-FITC and UNIFIEO in São Paulo.