Date: Sat, 4 Mar 1995 12:33:42 CST
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From: Peoples Weekly World <>
Subject: Global joblessness worst since 1930's
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Global jobless crisis worst since 1930s

By Jim Genova, Peoples Weekly World, 4 March 1995

UNITED NATIONS—In a report published Feb. 22, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said that 33 percent of the world's workforce—some 820 million people—are unemployed or underemployed, the highest percentage since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Michel Hansenne, ILO director-general, said, The present situation is both morally and economically irrational. It is creating an enormous waste of resources and deepening human suffering.

In the summary to the report, Hansenne called for a commitment to full employment which would provide a common vision to inspire action. A defeatist attitude on full employment risks becoming a self-serving prophecy. The neglect of employment issues (as opposed to inflation and industrial productivity) has gone too far.

The report directly challenged pro-capitalist agencies such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank saying that they downplay the gravity of the global unemployment crisis. Further, the report dismissed the claims that high wages causes increased unemployment and said that there is no evidence that higher wages or a national minimum wage has any adverse effect on the employment situation. The unemployment crisis will occupy center stage at the March 6-12 World Summit for Social Development which will meet in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Citing the fact that the industrialized countries of western Europe and the U.S. have experienced sharp increases in unemployment in recent years, the ILO report said the crisis can no longer be viewed as simply a problem of the developing countries.

The report added, High unemployment in industrialized countries is the result of a persistent inadequacy of economic activity for 20 years due to the lack of coordination and the deflationary bias of European economic policies, ie., the corporate drive to deregulate economies and suppress wages is the direct cause of high unemployment.

The report firmly rejected pure laissez-faire policies and backed government-based adjustment programs, such as public works programs and state-sponsored job creation activities.

The ILO stressed that the goal of full employment must be undertaken on a global scale arguing, Employment security measures increases the propensity of firms to train and the willingness of workers to invest in upgrading their skills. Rules that protect the income and employment security of workers can increase productive efficiency by creating incentives for competition to occur more through product innovation and market strategy.

This is the first of what are expected to be annual reports on the global employment situation, itself a recognition of the gravity of the crisis.