[OPE] ILO and the turn in the world situation

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Mon Oct 20 2008 - 17:29:33 EDT

The global financial crisis could increase world unemployment by an estimated 20 million women and men, the Director-General of the International Labour Office (ILO) said today. "We need prompt and coordinated government actions to avert a social crisis that could be severe, long-lasting and global", he added. Based on revised global growth estimates by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the UN and early reports suggesting rising job losses for most countries where data was available, ILO Director-General Juan Somavia said the ILO's preliminary estimates indicated that the "number of unemployed could rise from 190 million in 2007 to 210 million in late 2009." Mr. Somavia added that "the number of working poor living on less than a dollar a day could rise by some 40 million - and those at 2 dollars a day by more than 100 million". Mr. Somavia also said that the current crisis would hit hardest such sectors as construction, automotive, tourism, finance, services and real estate. He also noted that the new projections "could prove to be underestimates if the effects of the current economic contraction and looming recession are not quickly confronted". http://www.ilo.org/global/About_the_ILO/Media_and_public_information/Press_releases/lang--en/WCMS_099529/index.htm

Keep in mind that the population is growing all the time - so on the one side there are fewer good jobs, on the other side more people wanting them, with a mountain of work that needs to be done anyway. Also,

Despite strong economic growth that produced millions of new jobs since the early 1990s, income inequality grew dramatically in most regions of the world and is expected to increase due to the current global financial crisis, according to a new study published today by the research arm of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The new report, entitled World of Work Report 2008: Income inequalities in the age of financial globalization, produced by the ILO's International Institute for Labour Studies also notes that a major share of the cost of the financial and economic crisis will be borne by hundreds of millions of people who haven't shared in the benefits of recent growth. (...) The report says that as global employment rose by 30 per cent between the early 1990s and 2007, the income gap between richer and poorer households widened significantly at the same time. What's more, compared with earlier expansionary periods, workers obtained a smaller share of the fruits of economic growth as the share of wages in national income declined in the vast majority of countries for which data was available. http://www.ilo.org/global/About_the_ILO/Media_and_public_information/Press_releases/lang--en/WCMS_099406/index.htm

I still remember being a child in the long boom of the 1960s. It was an optimistic time - the belief was that you could do anything if you pursued it. Then, when I came out of school in New Zealand in 1977, unemployment was rising fast. The previously cheery atmosphere rapidly changed, things got serious, and, well, you did any kind of job you could get, wherever you landed. Some dreamy Greens argued for a "zero-growth society"... and they got it, because GDP shrank. I suppose it could be similar now for a whole new generation, except now you have mobile phones, faxes, personal computers, Ipods and all that. But we made our lives anyway, despite the uncertain future and the gloom and doom, and even if we lived off the smell of an oily rag at times. What came out of all that? A profound sense of the gap between the actual and the potential, of unrealized potential, of all the things that could have happened but didn't, the promise of a life that turned out very different than expected, things you wanted to do, but didn't get around to. Well, never mind, let's get on with it, anyhow. As I have said before, the unique thing now is that this crisis cannot be blamed on the workers. It is very clearly a crisis of capitalism. So what we studied and campaigned about in the old days wasn't so irrelevant, after all.


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Received on Mon Oct 20 17:32:49 2008

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