Principles and Guidelines for Achieving a Socioeconomic Leapfrog
ISRAEL 15 Vision
Israel’s inferior position in the global competition for human capital may cause the collapse of its social and economic foundations – There is a disparity between Israel's excellent human capital and the quality of its private sector, on the one hand, and the mediocre quality of life Israel offers its citizens in comparison to the leading developed countries, on the other hand. Hence, currently, Israel is one of the world's leading exporters of human capital. If this disparity grows, Israel may be vulnerable to emigration of a critical mass of its qualified and educated members of the society, leading to erosion and even collapse of the backbone of its society.
Therefore, Israel's leapfrogging – achieving sustainable high growth that would allow Israel to close the gap in quality of life with most developed nations – is not a luxury. It is a necessity.
Nevertheless. Israel is not organized for leapfrogging. Its public sphere and discourse are focused on macro-economic stability and moderate growth but not on leapfrogging.
Therefore the Reut-Institute has embraced the ISRAEL 15 Vision, which calls for Israel to become one of the fifteen leading countries in terms of quality of life within fifteen years, to inspire its work in the areas of economic and social development. In order to realize this vision, Israel's social and economic performance must leap to a point where it catches up with the most developed nations.
The 'leapfrog' occurs when average annual real GDP growth exceeds 3.5% for at least eight years. In order to be considered an 'economic miracle', average 7% real growth needs to be sustained for at least 25 years. Thirteen countries have achieved this feat, among them: Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Brazil. Israel also leapt between 1951 and 1972. During this period we enjoyed average annual real growth of 5.5%.
Sustainable high growth is a necessary condition for leapfrogging, but insufficient – As mentioned, in order to be considered a leapfrog, growth has to be sustained at a level of 3.5% for 8 years. Another necessary condition for a leapfrog is 'inclusiveness' i.e. that it leads to an improvement in the quality of life of all citizens.
There is no 'recipe' for leapfrogging. Each country that leapt shaped its economic and social path according to its own unique history, social structure, system of government and unique assets and burdens.
Achieving a socioeconomic leapfrog that will help to close the gaps in life quality is a necessity for Israel.
"This is a very impressive document, based on clear thinking and knowledge of the recent experience and writing about growth at various stages of development." (Professor Michael Spence)
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