Innovation and green growth: the new and necessary paths to growth: interview with Jose angel Gurria, Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Author:Buchanan, David
Position:INTERVIEW LT - Interview

What package of microeconomic actions would have the best possibility of generating growth?

Micro decisions are made in a context of macro decisions that would have to have been made by governments, and here we are talking about financial stability, public finances, but above all, about reforms. The issue of reforms is fundamental, above all to allow the private sector to do what it does best. Companies are looking for ways to do more business, earn more money. But they have to have an environment conducive to what is referred to as innovation, to competition, taxes that stimulate investment, job creation. An environment that allows modernization, an environment that permits the stimulation and generation of abilities, dexterity, skills and also a flexible regulatory environment.

Apart from education and health policies, what other policies have proven to be effective for integrating marginal groups into the mainstream?

It's not just education, it's vocational education, on-the-job training, life-long learning, and also the context of innovation, the regulatory context and the financial issue: having finance and credit available for small and medium-sized companies. These are the types of things that are required to reach takeoff.

Could you give an example of a case study of a member country of the OECD that has raised its population to improved well-being?

We are talking about the most developed countries in the world, countries where material well-being is higher, and in which the basic needs of health, education and infrastructure are reasonably well attended to, as well as (offering) opportunities for women to go to university and develop all their talents without any restrictions.

A good case of an OECD country that has policies that make it possible to conserve the environment without compromising its growth?

The Nordic countries are doing that well. When we launched an initiative called "green growth" (2010-2011, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the OECD), everyone was saying how crazy we were, that green growth was contradictory. People said that growth--if you want it to be green--is inhibited, and if you only want growth, it can't be sustainable. Today, everybody is talking green, there is no other way.

How can businesspeople support growth in their countries?

What business leaders have to do is to practice and develop what they do best, which is exercising the spirit of taking risks and linking productive factors--that is...

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