Organization Promotes Fair Globalization
USING Costa Rica as one of its subjects,the International Labor Organization(ILO) presented the results of a globalizationstudy and a list of recommendationsto soften the impact of the “unstoppabledynamic” of economic integration on theplanet.The world is at a crossroads wherepeople are choosing to make it more just,ethical and prosperous, or more turbulentand violent, according to members of theILO’s World Commission on the SocialDimension of Globalization.At a conference in San José, attendedby labor officials from Costa Rica, Panamaand Honduras, as well as a wide representationfrom labor unions and academics, thecommission presented the conclusion of itsstudy, which attempted to “capture everyone’sthoughts at a moment of uncertaintyin the world,” as one panelist said.THE commission reported that in thecurrent global situation there are “persistent,deeply rooted imbalances which,from an ethical point of view, are unacceptable,and from a political point ofview, are indefensible.”Costa Ricans interviewed for thereport reflected a general opinion heldglobally that the world is unstable andinsecure.A Costa Rican interview subject,unnamed in the report, said, “There is agrowing feeling that we live in a worldextremely vulnerable to change that we can’tcontrol; a growing feeling of fragility sharedby people, countries and entire regions.”GLOBALIZATION has not deliveredon its promises, especially in terms ofgood jobs, the report found.According to a poll by Chile-basedLatino Barómetro in 2002, more than 40%of the Latin American population saidunemployment, instability in the job marketand low salaries are their main problems.Most of them blamed the economicpolicies of their governments, 22%blamed globalization and 23% blamed theInternational Monetary Fund (IMF).“Even in a country as prosperous asCosta Rica,” the commission reported, “participantsin the dialogue believed that mostcitizens, independent of their income levelsand social situations, perceived more threatsthan opportunities in globalization.”AN unnamed union leader interviewedfor the report said workers have difficultytrusting the current model of globalizationbecause they witness a growing informaleconomy, a decrease in social protectionand the imposition of an authoritarian culturein their work places.“The country has to expend a greatereffort to define an employment policy thathas to do with formalizing the informaleconomy,” said Rodrigo Aguilar, presidentof the Rerum Novarum Workers Confederationin Costa Rica. Some rights he wouldlike to have fortified here are an enforcedminimum wage, social security benefitssuch as health care, collective negotiation(through workers unions, for example), anend to discrimination and child labor.“In spite of the fact that governments inthe last 25 years have been elected democratically,they have forgotten the people andthink only about markets,” he said.ECONOMIES are becoming increasinglyglobal, the report states, while socialand political institutions remain local ornational.To gauge the needs of the differentregions of the world and form its list ofrecommendations, members of the commissionspoke with more than 2,000 directorsof social and political organizationsaround the world in six meetings inGeneva, seven regional dialogs, and 19national dialogs, one of which took placein Costa Rica in 2002. Those talks and thecommission’s results are on the Web inEnglish at www.ilo.org/wcsdgThe report’s lengthy list of recommendationsaims to make globalization servepeople, respect rights, cultural identity andautonomy while ensuring the existence ofacceptable jobs.It promotes democracies capable ofintegrating in the global economy; sustainabledevelopment that takes the naturalenvironment into account while also fosteringproductive and equal markets; fairplay between countries according to rulesthat promote equal access to economicopportunities; a shared responsibility forassisting impoverished countries; theresponsibility of influential people in allsectors to create and adhere to fair developmentpolicies; cooperation amongsocial and economic institutions and therecognition of their greater responsibilityto promote fair development; and effectivecooperation among governments.“THE ILO’s efforts to make theseissues known are among the greatestboosts to the development of opportunityin the world,” said Jeremías Vargas, CostaRica’s vice-minister of labor.Now, there is “a need to judge thestate’s worth to make sure it is a state thatguarantees the common good of CostaRicans,” he said.
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