Our mandate is to translate economic growth into social justice
This message was conveyed by the ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, at the roundtable discussion on the “Impact of the global crisis on employment and welfare in a mature economy: international and national perspectives”, which took place on campus yesterday.
Additional key messages were:
The recipe of austerity and structural reforms is not working. It makes things worse and not better. Paraphrasing C. Lagarde, I want to say that we don't want a quick fix, we want a real fix.
We are very dangerously close to the edge of what our societies, especially in Europe, can absorb socially in terms of increasing debt and deficit.
The danger, through competition, is the shift from monetary devaluation- as it was called before the creation of the Eurozone- to internal devaluation, impacting labour.
I regret that social dialogue has become a victim in Spain and Greece. I hope that Italy can maintain its social dialogue. We need to be attentive to the cost of this crisis and growing inequality. We need to take care of the most vulnerable, in particular the youth, and strengthen our systems of social protection.
The ILO mandate is to translate economic growth into social justice. This mandate is as relevant as it was 80 years ago. But it is relevant in an unprecedented context. 80 years ago, European democracies were leaders with some help from the USA. Now China, India, Latin America and Africa are a part of the effort to convert economic growth into social justice. It's not just purely economic: it's also a political message. It's a question of re-balancing the global economy.
Restoring or maintaining social dialogue: this is part of the solution.