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...
At first glance, everyday life seems not to have changed in Istanbul. The streets are congested; people hurry to the ferry or the bus. For weeks, there has been no terror attack. Nevertheless, there are some visible changes. There are much more policemen in the streets. In some days, the Istiklal Caddesi, the main shopping street on the European side, seems to be under a state of siege. At every street corner, there is police van with the blue light switched on.
Recent disturbing trends in international finance have particularly problematic implications, especially for developing countries. The new United Nations report, World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017 (WESP 2017), is the only recent report of a multilateral inter-governmental organization to recognize these problems, especially as they are relevant to the financing requirements for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Trump government signals unequivocally the end of international US hegemony. An international hegemon is able to define rules that find relatively broad acceptance internationally and plays a role in safeguarding international economic stability. The Trump government announced measures that go against the present economic rules while not proposing new ones.
The global deficit in quality jobs and deteriorating economic conditions in a number of regions threatens to undo decades of progress in poverty reduction, warns a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Employment and Social Outlook (WESO) 2016.
Weakening of workers' rights in most regions is being aggravated by severe crackdowns on freedom of speech and assembly, according to the 2016 Global Rights Index. Restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, including severe crackdowns in some countries, increased by 22%, with 50 out of 141 countries surveyed recording restrictions.