It is now widely recognised that Britain’s army of unpaid carers, family and friends of those with care and support needs, contribute the equivalent of over £57bn in service to our community each year. What is less appreciated is the cost that carers themselves and wider society are incurring within the current system. A new model built for the NHS by NEF Consulting places the total cost in England at between £24bn and £37bn each year, and growing.
Alex Chapman, New Economics Foundation
Interesting article on ILO’s social protection floors and the informal sector:
“While discussions about whether effect of globalization is negative or positive on a nation’s wealth are ongoing, existence of this effect is undisputable phenomenon. However, in most cases, unqualified and informal employers experience most devastating effects of globalization in local level. International Labour Organization (ILO) has developed Social Protection Floors Approach for producing global answers to these global problems. The paper aims to investigate the efficiency of an international solution…“
For those who still have doubts: excellent article on the importance of public services for all
The paper reviews several of the measures that States have taken with the intention of improving the sustainability of pension systems and evaluates their effectiveness. The paper highlights that many of the measures taken have had negative distributional impacts and have significantly compromised the primary function of pension systems: to provide a secure replacement income for people in old age and prevent their ability to fall into poverty.
While many governments and international institutions have framed pension reforms as an inescapable trade-off between adequacy and sustainability, unions insist that addressing the challenges of demographic ageing requires adopting a new overarching narrative, combining greater efforts to support labour market participation of excluded groups, enhanced revenue through progressive and innovative forms of taxation, and the guarantee of a decent income in retirement at the centre of this agenda.
The report can be found online in English here: https://www.ituc-csi.org/Pension-systems-adequacy-sustainability
Over the last four decades, growing concentration of market power in the hands of oligopolies, if not monopolies, has been greatly enabled by ostensibly neo-liberal reforms, worsening wealth concentration and gross inequalities in the world.
The ‘counter-revolution’ against Keynesian and development economics four decades ago, which inspired the Washington Consensus, claimed to promote economic liberalization, including market competition, but strengthening property rights entitlements, especially for intellectual property, has been far more important.
Such oligopolistic and monopolistic trends have recently accelerated in much of the world, while already feeble anti-trust efforts have lagged far behind. Over a century after US President Teddy Roosevelt’s anti-trust initiatives, with the neoliberal rhetoric of recent decades, many all over the world still have great expectations of similar US reform initiatives.
(Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Anis Chowdhury)
April was a month for some international institutions to publish data and forecasts to revise or confirm their economic projections made at the beginning of the year. So far, it has been bad news after bad news. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has repeatedly cut its projections for world gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2019. The World Bank and IMF revealed further worsened accumulation of public and private debt. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported declining official development assistance (ODA). The World Trade Organization (WTO) worried about decelerating international trade and intensified trade tension. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) highlighted consecutive drops of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. When so many dark clouds are gathering together at the same time, one can only say that the world economic prospects for 2019 are indeed gloomy. A closer examination of the performance of developing countries in these datasets would clearly show the economic conundrum that developing countries are facing.
Read the Policy Brief of the South Centre
Is the UBI part of the solution or part of the problem? A new study out this week, published by NEF and Public Services International, finds little evidence to support most of the claims made for UBI. It confirms the importance of generous, non-stigmatising income support, but everything turns on how much money is paid, under what conditions and with what consequences for the welfare system as a whole. There are more effective and sustainable ways of meeting people’s needs and fighting inequalities than just giving cash to everyone.
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Read the report
The historic achievements of the ILO as a political organisation and standard-setter still comprise a highly valuable asset. But if it wants to preserve its influence in the future, it has to defend its fundamental principles and its credibility. So yes to the ILO, but working in the right way!
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Access to good, quality health care is a basic human right and is best guaranteed if the services are organised by public authorities that are democratically controlled. Increased corporate involvement in health services provision and financing and increased corporate capture of health and development governance are worrying trends because corporate interests are generally not aligned with the public good. The primary aim of corporations is to make profit,instead of guaranteeing health for all. Moreover, corporations are not accountable to claim holders; they are accountable to their shareholders. In contrast, the human rights-based approach makes states or governments the primary duty bearers. Case studies show that only collective action lead by social movements can bring about sustainable policy change towards health for all.
Read the Article of Viva Salud