Social Deficits, Social Cohesion, and Prospects from ICTs

Social Deficits, Social Cohesion, and Prospects from ICTs

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3643-9.ch011


This chapter investigates the multiplicity of the social deficits occurring in most Arab countries. It also assesses the extent and magnitude of such deficits and looks at their interactions. Further needs for human development and social cohesion1 are discussed as means and policies that can alleviate these shortages and create new avenues for enhanced and coordinated development. The Millennium Development Goals pursued by developing countries, represent a promising framework that is targeting 2015 for the attainment of the objectives. This chapter identifies the main directions of social deficits as they relate to health, education, and poverty, with a focus on the Arab economies. The potential provided by the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the coordination of the alleviation of the social deficits are also discussed. ICTs are then recognized as important sources for the improvement of identification, extent, and the use of the policy tools for poverty reduction. The framework of social cohesion is also placed in parallel with human development through a discussion of policies needed to reduce deprivation.
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The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 has generated major changes in social cohesion policies in both developed and developing countries.

In developing economies, poverty and exclusion are both rural and urban with major interconnections that are driven by rural migration and inappropriate inclusion in urban areas. The social policies that were pursued before in these economies were found to be limited and inefficient complements to the economic policies pursued (OECD, 2008). But, with the publication of the first World Development Report as analyzed by Hopkins (1991) shows that following the consequences of structural adjustment policies, developing economies have been invited to pursue further social policies and to engage in human development programs. The pursuit of MDGs has been an opportunity for developing countries to reduce their social deficits through the promotion of targeted social policies that are integrated with the economic policies pursued with major focus on the monitoring of the overall outcomes in each economy. In this process and in the context of southern Mediterranean countries, a large set of questions can be formulated in relation to the extent of implementation of these targeted policies, their monitoring, and adjustments processes. The extent of further inclusion of the poorest and marginalized segments is also an important dimension that accompanies the economic reforms that have been taking place in these economies.

These different dimensions are analyzed in this chapter as follows:

  • Rural migration as determinant of poverty and exclusion,

  • Further determinants of poverty and exclusion,

  • Global outcomes under the on-going social policies,

  • Interdependencies of deficits and need of social cohesion policies.

These issues are also discussed in relation to the inputs from ICTs for coordination purposes.

The determinants of poverty in the southern Mediterranean region appear to be different from those that are behind the poverty in the EU economies. The share of rural population in most of these countries (except some Gulf countries) is relatively higher than that in Europe and the overall population growth is also relatively high. Furthermore, the level of industrialization is still low in the southern Mediterranean economies. This implies that job creation is far below the labor supply; i.e. the youngest segments, both educated and non-educated people, have less economic opportunities in most of the southern Mediterranean economies. These factors are respectively reviewed before tackling the occurrence of human and social deficits.


Rural Migration And Urban Implicit Exclusion As Determinants Of Poverty And Exclusion

While poverty in developed economies has mainly an urban origin as it is related to the degradation of the living and earning conditions of certain segments of the population, most developing economies are mainly concerned with the rural dimension of poverty besides its urban expressions. In developing countries, poverty appears to have both rural and urban dimensions. Given the weight of rural population in the above economies and the state of urbanization and the low development of manufacturing industries, the rural origin of poverty appears to be dominating.

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