The 1996 Report opens with a fundamental statement: "Human development is the end - economic growth a means." The Report argues that economic growth, if not properly managed, can be jobless, voiceless, ruthless, rootless and futureless, and thus detrimental to human development. The quality of growth is therefore as important as its quantity; for poverty reduction, human development and sustainability.
The Report concludes that the links between economic growth and human development must be deliberately forged and regularly fortified by skillful and intelligent policy management. It identifies employment as critical for translating the benefits of economic growth into the lives of people. But for this to happen, new patterns of growth will need to be developed and sustained well into the 21st century-- and new mechanisms must be developed to integrate the weak and the vulnerable into the expanding global economy.
To support economic growth as a means to enrich people's lives, the Report demonstrates why: