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Taking National Investment Seriously

Summary:
“Build back better” has become a popular slogan precisely because most people want to look forward and create a brighter future after the COVID-19 pandemic. Achieving this will require governments to increase investment and recalibrate national balance sheets by doing more to nurture natural and social capital. CAMBRIDGE – This has been a brutal year, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing governments around the world to close down many aspects of normal everyday life while supporting workers and businesses with extraordinary emergency measures. And the crisis certainly is not over yet. How Inequality Reduces Growth PS OnPoint Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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“Build back better” has become a popular slogan precisely because most people want to look forward and create a brighter future after the COVID-19 pandemic. Achieving this will require governments to increase investment and recalibrate national balance sheets by doing more to nurture natural and social capital.

CAMBRIDGE – This has been a brutal year, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing governments around the world to close down many aspects of normal everyday life while supporting workers and businesses with extraordinary emergency measures. And the crisis certainly is not over yet.

But with COVID-19 vaccination programs now in sight, policymakers and business leaders should change gear in the new year, and move from reacting to events to determining a strategy for the future. “Build back better” has become a popular slogan nowadays precisely because most people want to look forward and create a brighter future rather than going back to the way things were. So, what will it take to restore a sense of progress to bereaved families, struggling communities, and fractured economies in 2021?

The short answer is investment, which means incurring effort and expenditure now for a return later. Investing in assets in the expectation that they will yield benefits down the line is a vote of confidence in the future, which is exactly what the world needs now.

Public-sector investment in improved and greener infrastructure will be particularly essential for...

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