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World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization


« The Social Dimension of Globalization
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Globalization is a term that is used in many ways, but the principal underlying idea is the progressive integration of economies and societies. It is driven by new technologies, new economic relationships and the national and international policies of a wide range of actors, including governments, international organizations, business, labour and civil society.

Broadly speaking, the process of globalization has two aspects. The first refers to those factors - such as trade, investment, technology, cross-border production systems, flows of information and communication - which bring societies and citizens closer together.

The second refers to policies and institutions, such as trade and capital market liberalization, international standards for labour, the environment, corporate behaviour and other issues, agreements on intellectual property rights, and other policies pursued at both the national and international level which support the integration of economies and countries. In terms of the latter aspect, the existing pattern of globalization is not an inevitable trend - it is at least in part the product of policy choices. While technological change is irreversible, policies can be changed. Technological advances have also widened the policy choices available.

The social dimension of globalization refers to the impact of globalization on the life and work of people, on their families, and their societies. Concerns and issues are often raised about the impact of globalization on employment, working conditions, income and social protection. Beyond the world of work, the social dimension encompasses security, culture and identity, inclusion or exclusion and the cohesiveness of families and communities.

Globalization brings new potentials for development and wealth creation. But there are divergent views and perceptions among people as concerns its economic and social impact, and indeed widely varying impacts on the interests and opportunities of different sectors and economic and social actors. Some argue that the present model of globalization has exacerbated problems of unemployment, inequality and poverty, while others contend that globalization helps to reduce them. Of course, these problems predated globalization, but it is clear that for globalization to be politically and economically sustainable, it must contribute to their reduction. Hence the goal of a globalization which meets the needs of all people.

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Established by the ILO
 Updated 11 March 2003