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Politics, Inequities Present Barriers To Achieving SDGs

Project Syndicate: Politics in the Way of Progress
J. Bradford DeLong, professor at the University of California at Berkeley and research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research

“There are 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to tackle problems including poverty, hunger, disease, inequality, climate change, ecological degradation, and many others in between. … [It can be said that] those who emphasize everything emphasize nothing. This points to the problem of forging goals through consensus: they can end up being a wish list for everything short of heaven on Earth. … To me, a common underlying concern … is not so much economics as politics and people — and a politics of people. … [W]hile many people work toward the SDGs, [some men and women] are throwing up new barriers, by stoking the resentments of those who have benefited the most from inequitable growth, as well as those who have missed out. … [P]erhaps we should stop thinking in terms of what is ‘deserved’ at all. … [A]chieving the SDGs may require a radically different approach…” (10/3).

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