How the World Bank turns meanings to its advantage.
With all the paradigmatic changes the World Bank has been promoting in the field of social policies, one element never changed in the past thirty years. Social policies were meant for the poor, governments had to find the best ways to target those who really needed their help.
The reasoning is simple: poor people, as was spelled out in its first World Development Report on Poverty of 1990, were those left behind by growth and by governments. The wrong policies were applied so that poor people did not get access to labour markets and, moreover, these labour markets were made more difficult to enter because of minimum wages and other ‘protective’ rules the poor did not really care about. If one really wanted to help the poor, one had to abolish all these well-meant but adverse policies. Open, deregulated markets, at the local and the global level, were the best programmes for the poor. In its ‘Doing Business’ Report of 2013, the World Bank still considered fixed term contracts and 50-hour workweeks as positive achievements, whereas premiums for night-work and paid annual leave were on the negative side.
As for the not-so-poor or middle classes, these people are said to have enough resources to buy the insurances they want on the market. Insurances are an economic sector and there is no reason why States or governments should get involved in it. Solidarity is one of the words that has always been shunned by the international financial organisations. Continue reading
We are happy to present to you a video we made on social protection and our Global Charter for Social Protection Rights. It was made with the help of the NGO Forum on ADB. So many thanks for this!
Please watch the video and distribute it as widely as you can:
In the meantime we are preparing the Asie Europe People’s Forum’s Social Justice Cluster’s conference in Nepal on social protection and labour rights. In Une there will be a new World Social Forum on Health and Social Security in Bogota.
All the best for 2019!
The final Declaration of the nAsia Europe People’s Forum, adopted in Ulaan Baatar in 2016, included an action point for the social justice cluster, saying:
“Work with social movements and workers’ organisations to develop a people-centred Global Social Protection Charter that will guarantee decent work, sustainable livelihoods, and universal and comprehensive social protection systems that include food, essential services and social security”. Continue reading
– According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, social protection is a human right.
– Social protection is a major element of social justice – if you have no pensions, no health care, no labour rights etc., it is difficult to lead a decent life in dignity
Excellent fable on how poor countries, with excellent social protection schemes, are losing … ‘through the looking glass’ …
Good to watch, an explanation on the human right to social protection and economic and social rights
Social protection is a human right, but how many benefit?
New report with disastrous but very interesting data
Social protection is high on the international agenda to-day. In 2012 the ILO (International Labour Organisation) adopted a recommendation on ‘social protection floors’. In 2015 the international community in the General Assembly of the UN (United Nations) adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a separate chapter on inequality, and explicit mention of social protection and several components of social protection in different points of the text.
Nevertheless, we should not be too optimistic about all people everywhere getting living wages, good health care, quality education, maternity protection, pensions, etc. Continue reading