Social commons: because social protection is ours

Social protection is high on the international agenda to-day. In 2012 the ILO (International Labour Organisation) adopted a recommendation on ‘social protection floors’. In 2015 the international community in the General Assembly of the UN (United Nations) adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a separate chapter on inequality, and explicit mention of social protection and several components of social protection in different points of the text.

Nevertheless, we should not be too optimistic about all people everywhere getting living wages, good health care, quality education, maternity protection, pensions, etc. Continue…

On the very very slow death of neoliberalism

On the IMF evaluation report on the institution’s approach to social protection

For many years now, neoliberalism has been declared dead. The report of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the IMF on the institution’s approach to social protection shows this is far from true. And it does not look as if human rights, universalism and redistribution are going to be part of the IMF-agenda soon. Continue…

The IMF and Social Protection

Interesting report of the Independent Evaluation Office of the IMF on actions concerning social protection.

Three important points need to be mentioned: first,  the report does not cover what it calls ‘long term poverty reduction measures’ such as health and education; secondly, while questions may arise on whether social protection falls under the mandate of the IMF, the report confirms it is part of macro-economic stability. The IMF should ‘avoid excessive stress on vulnerable people’. Thirdly and most importantly, the IEO points to a possible conflict with the World Bank which has signed a joined statement with the ILO on the universalism of social protection, based on the fact it is a human right. While cooperation with the World Bank has been smooth (contrary to work with the ILO and UNICEF …), this may change if the World Bank moves indeed towards a rights-based approach and universalism.

A full analysis of the report will follow soon

Read the report

Basic Income in India

The basic income debate is now also emerging in the South. Read the report on India, with special attention for the last critical chapter by Jean Drèze.

Commons, Production and Re-production

Production is not possible without re-production, we all agree on this obvious truth. The emerging commons movement however has been focusing largely on production, whether it be material or immaterial, on the one hand, and on “care” on the other hand. In a commons approach, this production is looked at from the vantage point of capital control/ownership and self-determination/autonomy of workers. These two points automatically lead to the question that is linked to but goes far beyond “care”: the question of re-production. What about the status of workers and their labour rights in P2P, cooperatives or social and solidarity economy contexts? How to avoid exploitation and self-exploitation of workers? How to protect the health and safety of workers and their families? Or simply put, how to preserve and promote the re-production of workers and protect people’s livelihoods? And how to make a solid link between production and re-production? Continue…

Is Basic Income a Good Idea? (Anna Coote, New Economics Foundation)

Campaigners for a Universal Basic Income or Citizen’s Basic Income are calling for the state to give everyone, including rich and poor, earners and non-earners, adults and children, a uniform sum of money each week.  It is a simple idea that has wide appeal, not least to those concerned about the impact of automation on jobs and the misery caused to people who must prove their incapacity to work to qualify for income support.

Like most ‘silver bullet’ solutions, its apparent simplicity belies its many contradictions and dangers.  Here are some reasons why it is not a good idea. Continue…

La lutte contre la pauvreté: sur la voie de l’anti-modernité?

La pauvreté est une réalité. Des centaines de millions de personnes dans le monde souffrent d’un manque de revenu, de la faim, de maladies parfaitement curables, de manque de logement décent, de systèmes d’éducation défaillants… Au début du XXIème siècle, nos richesses abondantes et nos capacités technologiques sophistiquées sont en mesure d’éradiquer la pauvreté d’un coup. Pourtant, nous ne le faisons pas. Pourquoi ? Continue…