The latest November 2019 UBS/PwC Billionaires Report counted 2,101 billionaires globally, or 589 more than five years before. Earlier, Farhad Manjoo had seriously recommended, ‘Abolish Billionaires’, presenting a moral case against the super-rich as they have and get far, far more than what they might reasonably claim to deserve.
Manjoo also argues that unless billionaires’ economic and political power is cut, and their legitimacy cast in doubt, they will continue to abuse power to further augment their fortunes and influence, in ways detrimental to the economic, social and public good.
What social model are we heading for?
Analysis of the World Bank’s ‘new social contract’
It has been said and it has been repeated: social policies have been the major victims of neoliberal globalisation. During the past forty years, attention for social protection and social development, everywhere, shifted towards ‘poverty reduction’, the IMF’s (International Monetary Fund) and the World Bank’s prescriptions continuously implied cuts in social spending and targeted policies in the South, while ‘austerity’ was introduced in the North with negative consequences on welfare states and labour law.
The changing world of work and the fundamental societal changes – migration, ageing, women on the labour market – recently gave rise to some timid discussions on social protection. The only real debate that took place in the North concerned the possible introduction of a ‘Universal Basic Income’, a basically liberal idea that almost inevitably would make an end to welfare states.
Democracy is a constant struggle for compromise —forever a construction site. An end is never in sight as people will always have to renegotiate how they live together. This highlights the necessity of seeking compromise that always takes some back and forth, some give and take. The process is exhausting, sometimes even painful, but requires a forceful people’s stand from a position of power –just keep in mind the early 20th century introduction of the women’s right to vote or the civil rights and anti apartheid movements –they sure were more than worth fighting for. (Deutsche Welle)
The danger (problem?) is that democracies die democratically (Boaventura de Souza Santos)
Read the article by Claudio Schuftan
I have been noting this for several years now. It is sometimes very difficult to talk about social protection with progressive forces.
Sure, they all support actions and policies ‘in favour of the poor’, they all support ‘social justice’. But once you start to talk about details and how to achieve all this, there is mostly total silence. And little support.
There are several reasons for this, and some are easy to understand though not necessarily to be accepted. Lees verder
In today’s world of planetary destruction and debasing of humankind, we have to re-think the meaning of our fundamental values and concepts. In this contribution, I want to look at production and its links to re-production and what this means for social and political transformation geared towards social justice. First, I will develop the idea of value attached to re-productive activities. Secondly, related to gender, I will show that one can de-commodify reproductive work without de-monetising it. In order to do so, one has to get rid of the ‘immaterial values’ too often attributed to women. It is the context in which we can start to think of commons and social commons in a way that re-values women’s work and fully integrates them into the world of economic and social rights. Moreover, the commons of rights contribute to the shaping and building of society. Lees verder
For 40 years, elites in rich and poor countries alike promised that neoliberal policies would lead to faster economic growth, and that the benefits would trickle down so that everyone, including the poorest, would be better off. Now that the evidence is in, is it any wonder that trust in elites and confidence in democracy have plummeted?
by Joseph Stiglitz
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The institutions contin ue sleepwalking, as the authors say in their report on the recent annual meetings of the World Bank and the IMF
The World Bank recently issued a White Paper on rethinking social protection systems to extend coverage. While at first glance this is an honourable goal, the proposals in Protecting All: Risk-Sharing for a Diverse and Diversifying World of Work would do little to achieve this aim. The paper proposes a rollback of existing rights and protections for workers, both in terms of social security and labour market protections. Leo Baunach, Evelyn Astor and Stephen Kidd argue that this approach would increase inequality and undermine poverty reduction.
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Amid a downgrade of global growth projections to their lowest levels since the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are pushing deregulatory structural reform. Working people in Ecuador and around the world are resisting this dangerous mix of austerity, deregulation, and attacks on labour rights.
The statement by Global Unions to the IMF and World Bank proposes an alternative path of inclusive and sustainable growth built around collective bargaining, public investment, and a just transition to a low-carbon economy.
In contrast, the IMF is urging deregulation, privatisation, and weakening of worker protections, especially in emerging and developing countries. The World Bank is moving in the same direction, promoting financial deregulation and a development model that prioritises the interests of private finance. A recent Bank publication recommended that countries combine weaker labour regulations with individualised, marketised schemes for social protection. Lees verder