Just Adjustment Protecting the Vulnerable and PromotingGrowth

Author: Tariq Banuri
Publication Year : 1992

This paper is a follow up in the Pakistani context of theissues raised in UNICEFs classic contribution to the political economyof development, Adjustment With a Human Face [Cornia, Jolly and Stewart(1987), henceforth AWHF]. It tries to set out the issues involved inunderstanding why despite four decades of development has there not beena significant move towards meeting the basic needs of the population.Our argument is that reliance on the cultural norms of justice andhumanness – particularly as regards vulnerable groups – as the basis ofchoosing priorities and designing policies, is a means and not anobstacle to systainable growth and structural adjustment. Structuraladjustment, namely changes in a ~untry’s production and consumptionstructure, becomes necessary when expenditures begin to exceed incomessystematically. However, orthodox adjustment programmes have often beencriticised because they have tended to retard growth in poor countries,and to shift the burden onto vulnerable groups. In the tradition of thisliterature, we argue not against the necessity of structural adjustment,but against the adverse entailments of such adjustment. Hence the title,”Just Adjustment”.

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