What we think of it:
The International Monetary Fund has said that it protects spending on education, health and social protection from cuts in its loan programmes through social spending floors. These measures are a welcome step forward, but are they effective?
Analysis of all 17 IMF loan programmes (Extended Credit Facilities, or ECFs, and Extended Fund Facilities, or EFFs) for low- and middle-income countries during the first two years of the pandemic shows that these floors are deeply inadequate, inconsistent, opaque and failing. They are little more than a fig leaf for harmful austerity, which is driving inequality, poverty and suffering.
Read Oxfam‘s Paper
How, against the same neoliberal background, one tries to make different social policies in Europe …
Radical-right parties are transforming the welfare state, recreating a moral separation between the ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’.
The populist-radical-right impact on the welfare state (socialeurope.eu)
In statements delivered to the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington, the ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo, highlighted growing inequality worldwide and the need for social justice.
He called for coherent multilateral action to strengthen the social dimension of sustainable development and economic growth – as envisaged by the ILO’s proposed Global Coalition for Social Justice.
World Bank / IMF Spring Meetings: Social justice indispensable to overcome global challenges, ILO tells World Bank/IMF
In a jubilee year for the World Health Organization, we are still far away from achieving Health for All. For the founders of the WHO, health was “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”, not simply the absence of physical illness. Their vision did not translate into practice, and people are still denied this fundamental human right, simply because they live in a particular region or because they do not have money to pay for care.
Activists around the world have seized the opportunity brought by this World Health Day to mobilize and point to alternative directions to take. Some of these included looking back at existing concepts, like Comprehensive Primary Health Care, which have been cast aside under neoliberal capitalism.
The struggle for health goes on: World Health Day special (peoples-health-dispatch.ghost.io)
There is an urgent need to coordinate an international response to the major financing gaps affecting social protection systems around the world.
ILO Development Partners Meeting: ITUC calls for stronger international financing of social protection – International Trade Union Confederation (ituc-csi.org)
Ninety percent of global Small and Micro Enterprise (SMEs) business and more than fifty percent of all employment happens in the informal economy.
Often dismissed by the establishment due to its fluid and amorphous nature, it is clear that as South Africa and the continent battles high unemployment, especially youth unemployment, there is a huge opportunity for state and private sector support and investment into this sector.
Harnessing the energy that drives this thriving sector is a far more appropriate response than whipping it with punitive law enforcement. One of the best ways to begin would be to support the design of appropriate social security systems to enable enterprise owners and workers in the informal economy to build up financial security for the futures of themselves, their businesses and their families. Building social security builds Decent Work and better societies worldwide.
Read the article by Isobel Frye
Interesting lessons from the COVID-19 crisis!
Latin America can lead the way on a new public health model | Coronavirus pandemic | Al Jazeera
How the World Bank turns meanings to its advantage.
With all the paradigmatic changes the World Bank has been promoting in the field of social policies, one element never changed in the past thirty years. Social policies were meant for the poor, governments had to find the best ways to target those who really needed their help.
The reasoning is simple: poor people, as was spelled out in its first World Development Report on Poverty of 1990, were those left behind by growth and by governments. The wrong policies were applied so that poor people did not get access to labour markets and, moreover, these labour markets were made more difficult to enter because of minimum wages and other ‘protective’ rules the poor did not really care about. If one really wanted to help the poor, one had to abolish all these well-meant but adverse policies. Open, deregulated markets, at the local and the global level, were the best programmes for the poor. In its ‘Doing Business’ Report of 2013, the World Bank still considered fixed term contracts and 50-hour workweeks as positive achievements, whereas premiums for night-work and paid annual leave were on the negative side.
As for the not-so-poor or middle classes, these people are said to have enough resources to buy the insurances they want on the market. Insurances are an economic sector and there is no reason why States or governments should get involved in it. Solidarity is one of the words that has always been shunned by the international financial organisations. Continue reading
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