The Financial and Economic Crisis: A Decent Work Response

Source: International Labor Organization, March 2009

What started as a mortgage crisis in the United States in the latter half of 2007 has now developed into a global economic crisis, bringing with it unprecedented labour market and social challenges across advanced, emerging and developing countries.

The objective of this paper is to provide evidence-based policy analysis of how ILO members can best mitigate the challenges facing enterprises and workers. The first section of the paper reviews recent developments, discusses the origins of the crisis and how the damaging effects have spread from developed countries to other parts of the world, and from the financial economy to the real economy, employment and society.

The second section examines current international and national responses to the crisis, including financial and fiscal policy measures, labour market initiatives and social dialogue. The aim of this section is to assess the breadth and depth of the responses and identify potential gaps.

In building upon the lessons learned and measures taken to date, the third section of the paper examines the key ingredients to overcoming the crisis, and the role of the ILO in addressing the challenges.

The last section discusses how best to respond to the crisis through measures that support a
recovery while meeting the longer term goal of achieving a more sustainable and equitable pattern of development, as provided in the Social Justice Declaration.

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