The World Bank claims poverty is decreasing around the world but UN research shows it depends on what you measure. If we are serious about reducing poverty, we need to start by properly identifying it.
The World Bank has repeatedly claimed that extreme poverty is on the decline. In its Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report, it states that ’the world has made tremendous progress in reducing extreme poverty. The percentage of people living in extreme poverty globally fell to a new low of 10 percent in 2015 — the latest number available — down from 11 percent in 2013, reflecting continued but slowing progress. The number of people living on less than $1.90 a day fell during this period by 68 million to 736 million.’
The World Bank’s extreme poverty line of US$1.90 a day is in fact not based on real estimates of people’s cost of living within countries. This explains why it fails to capture the desperation experienced by so many.
by Sharon Burrow/ITUC
Following the influx of over three million asylum seekers into the European Union in the three-year period 2015–2017, Member States faced a number of challenges related to integrating the newly arrived into their country. This report explores the role of public services – specifically housing, social services, health and education services – in the social and economic integration of refugees and asylum seekers. It aims to identify the factors that hinder this process and the elements that contribute to successful integration. The overall focus is on destination countries, particularly the three countries most affected by the inflow of refugees and asylum seekers: Austria, Germany and Sweden.
New publication of Eurofound
The systematic dismantling of the foundations of workplace democracy and the violent repression of strikes and protests put peace and stability at risk, according to the annual ITUC Global Rights Index. Extreme violence against the defenders of workplace rights saw large scale arrests and detentions in India, Turkey and Vietnam.
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation said, “From Hong Kong to Mauritania, the Philippines to Turkey, governments are attempting to silence the age of anger by constraining freedom of speech and assembly. In 72% of countries, workers had no or restricted access to justice, with severe cases reported in Cambodia, China, Iran and Zimbabwe.”
“The breakdown of the social contract between workers, governments and business has seen the number of countries which exclude workers from the right to establish or join a trade union increase from 92 in 2018 to 107 in 2019. The greatest increase took place in Europe where 50% of countries now exclude groups of workers from the law, up from 20% in 2018. Decent work is being affected and rights are being denied by companies avoiding rules and regulations.”
The money workers send home to their families from abroad has become a critical part of many economies around the world. Based on the most recent data, remittances, as this money is called, will only grow in importance. Officially recorded remittances amounted to a record $529 billion in 2018, and are on track to reach $550 billion in 2019.
This money is flowing at about the same levels as foreign direct investment (FDI), but if China is excluded, they are the largest source of foreign exchange earnings in low- and middle-income countries, according to Migration and Remittances Brief 31, published by the World Bank Group and KNOMAD, the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development. In other words, if China is excluded from the analysis, remittances have already overtaken FDI as the biggest source of external financing.
Today, remittances equal or surpass 25% of GDP in five countries: Tonga, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Haiti, and Nepal.
The 2030 Agenda and its 17 interrelated goals are grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, international human rights treaties, the Millennium Declaration and the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. The Agenda recognizes that economic growth alone misses those left furthest behind, and its transformative vision is to reach the furthest first, to leave no one behind, to empower the disadvantaged and to end poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030.
Social protection is key to accomplishing this vision and is mandated in SDG 1, target 1.3. When properly designed, social protection effectively prevents and reduces poverty and inequality. Guaranteed social protection supports improved nutrition and access to essential services and can therefore interrupt the vicious cycle of poverty and its intergenerational transfer.
Read the chapter
(Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors)
Excessive concentration of income and wealth at the top – which is even underestimated since much of it is not observed in official accounts or surveys – lies at the root cause of high inequality. Income and wealth inequality often go hand-in-hand with inequalities along other dimensions such as opportunities, access to services and resources, and political representation.
Read the Policy Brief of the Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors
With growing economic conflicts triggered by US President Donald Trump’s novel neo-mercantilist approach to overcoming his nation’s economic malaises, many voices now argue that bad free trade agreements are better than nothing.
After US withdrawal following Trump’s inauguration in early 2017, there is considerable pressure on signatory governments to quickly ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the successor to the TPP.
(Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Nazran Zhafri Ahmad Johari)
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