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World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization


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Local markets and policies in a global context

In a globalizing economy, emphasis is increasingly placed on integration into international markets. This has raised a number of social concerns, including the quantity and quality of employment, the distribution of opportunities, security and vulnerability. There are calls in some quarters for a different approach to globalization, one that places greater emphasis on the development of local markets and the integration of people in ways that are both sustainable and equitable. This approach emphasizes not only the role of market integration, but also solidarity, networking, collective initiatives, and non-market integration through the flow of ideas and knowledge. It is based on the idea that mobilizing market opportunities (local, national and international) for people involves mobilizing people.

There are many streams of thought here. Strategies that mobilize markets for people include micro-credit, support for self-employment and entrepreneurship, local marketing networks, etc. In order to harness the potential these initiatives hold for balancing the global with the local, a better understanding is needed of how local markets operate, how they interact with the national and global economy and how they can be used for growth, employment creation, the inclusion of workers and families, and greater social cohesion.

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Established by the ILO
 Updated 12 March 2003