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The global social crisis

The other side of the global financial crisis

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ (DESA) 2011 World Social Situation Report (WSS 2011) speaks of the “Great Recession” (p.13, 24, 26 ff). However, it does not refer to this evocative term in its two policy chapters (on Crises, fiscal space and national responses and on International responses). Given the severity of the 2008-2009 recession – the global economy contracted by 2% in 2009 – and the looming risk of a second dip in 2012 – this is a missed opportunity, and one needs to say upfront that the WSS 2011 lacks boldness and is unimaginative. By Gabriele Köhler


One would have hoped the UN seize the baton, use the heterodox opportunity presented by the massive crises on all economic and many social and political fronts, and present a bold design for macroeconomic policies dedicated to achieving social justice, or even just the – after all quite modest – MDGs. The Report does not meet expectations one has of a global social body – the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs – to offer a critical assessment of the structures that are causing poverty, vulnerability and social injustice, and to offer remedies to the worst recession since the 1920s...

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Find in this article:

Overly optimistic on poverty alliviation
Recession created a jobs crisis
Return to a holistic policy view
Threats to social cohesion

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