Tuesday, October 06, 2009

World leaders still sticking to their dangerous old ways

Today’s economic crisis grows out of “an unbalanced globalization” that redistributed income away from work and workers to finance and financiers. So says a new report issued by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) to mark the World Day for Decent Work on October 7.

The report, titled “Jobs – the Path to Recovery: How employment is central to ending the global crisis,” calls upon world leaders to adopt “a global charter for sustainable economic activities.” It also emphasizes the readiness of the labor movement, at both the national and international levels, to take on a role so far denied it – helping shape “this new model to tackle the crisis and to build a fairer world economy for future generations.”

At present, “the push for a return to ‘business as usual’ is taking hold,” Gus Ryder, ITUC general secretary, warns in the preface. His examples:

-- Wall Street is again paying itself gigantic bonuses after having been bailed out with taxpayers’ money.
-- Parts of the financial trading system are still operating in the shadow industry or are borrowing cheap from taxpayers, lending at high rates and raking in the difference.
-- Opportunities for huge profits remain, for the wealthy and the few.

Most of the 57-page report is a restatement of policies that the ICTU, as representative of 170,000,000 workers in 157 countries and territories, has advocated before. Will the leaders of the G20, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization pay attention this time?

Hopefully, they will end their policy of excluding global labor from the table of global decision-makers. But it will take more than hope. It will take pressure. Including the pressure of events.

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