Question 1: How to promote social justice in a globalised world?

, by  MESTRUM Francine

In the past, our social protection systems were organised at the national level. And even if, in developing countries, they have never been fully developed, before the ‘structural adjustment’ programmes of the 1980s and after, they all had social protection. To-day, these programmes are faced with two major problems. First, the end of the fordist model and the major changes in economies, societies and labour markets. Second, globalisation with free movements of capital, goods and services, and much less of people. Nevertheless, people do move, see the important migrants and refugees flows. But social and economic rights are threatened: because of the global dimension of people’s movements and because global financial institutions first introduced ‘poverty reduction programmes, totally compatible with neoliberalism, and now ‘social protection’, exclusively aimed at improving the economic system.

At this moment, only three solutions are on offer: these limited and economy oriented ‘social protection’ proposals of international organisations, the ‘universal basic income’ model giving an equal amount of money to all, whether rich or poor, and the social commons initiative, a participatory and democratic approach to social and economic rights. The left is very reluctant to discuss these ideas.

What can we do 1) to promote debates around the future of social protection and to avoid solutions that are compatible with neoliberalism and 2) how to promote social justice in a globalised world?

Francine Mestrum



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