28 April 2017

SeConS Development Initiative Group and Foundation for the Advancement of Economics FREN presented the new online platform for Monitoring social situation in Serbia MONS (www.mons.rs), which will deal with the most important socio-economic issues in the country and the world, both those in the public eye, and those topics that are currently ignored. Launching MONS, SeConS and FREN are enabling decision makers, academia, civil society organizations and the media to follow, in one place, the current global social trends and their impact on Serbia. MONS quarterly presents one socio-economic issue, which the experts in the given field comprehensively analyze by using relevant and reliable data sources.

At the presentation of the platform and the 1st number of MONS entitled "Growth and inequality effects on social and economic development and stability", it was pointed out that the large increase in inequality has negative consequences for economic growth and social stability. According to Prof. Dr. Jelena Žarković Rakić, editor of the first issue of MONS, the inequality can be both good and bad. The presence of "good" inequality means that the difference in income levels between individuals is a result of their different work, effort and commitment. In terms of "bad" inequality, inequality in income is a consequence of the lack of equal opportunities for everyone in the society to achieve their full potential, which reduces the ability of society to create a higher national income - said Prof. Dr. Žarković Rakić.

As the MONS platform shows, the main causes of high income inequalities in Serbia are low volume and quality of employment, the education system that fails to nullify the effects of socio-economic inequalities, even make it deeper in some segments, inadequate tax and social policy. Regarding the question of how to reduce the gap between rich and poor, which hinders the development of Serbia, MONS authors suggest improvement of policies that contribute to greater employability, such as education policy, lifelong learning and active employment policies. In addition, progressive taxation of income and better support of poor citizens should reduce the income gap between the richest and the poorest citizens.

Launching the platform was supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation "PERFORM" project, implemented by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation organizations in partnership with the University of Friborg.