ILO chief on world economy: Too much focus on finance, too little on society ILO
6 June 2012
GENEVA (ILO News) – It is possible to turn the inefficient growth patterns of today’s world economy around but this requires a redefinition of priorities and the political conviction to overcome the dogmas of the past, said ILO chief Juan Somavia, in his address to the plenary session of the International Labour Conference.
“There has been too much ideology in defining policies and too little human sensitivity to the individuals, families, communities,” said Mr. Somavia. “Too much financial, too little social.”
The financial crash of 2008 was “not just an unfortunate accident on a safe road” but rather a “pile- up” caused by a globalization model whose values were shaped in the 80’s, picked up speed in the 90’s and have now “gone out of control”. The prospect of several more years of lingering crisis or feeble recovery is opening minds, said the ILO chief, adding that this prolonged period of uncertainty can also be a potential period of creativity if world leaders redefine priorities.
Growth, however indispensable, can no longer be the key criterion for the world economy. Creating quality jobs, especially for youth, reducing poverty and informal work, promoting growth of middle classes, as well as providing fair access to opportunities, should from now on also be criteria to measure macroeconomic success.
The ILO 2009 Global Jobs Pact can be a useful tool in this process. The Pact was adopted by the ILO in 2009 as a response to the 2007/8 global economic crisis, and offers a range of crisis response initiatives that countries can adapt to their specific needs and situation. These measures include retaining persons in employment, sustaining enterprises, and accelerating employment creation and jobs recovery, all combined with social protection, especially for the most vulnerable.