A groundbreaking report about the causes and consequences of globalization is calling for an “urgent rethink” of current world trade policies, switching the focus to meeting people’s needs in the communities in which they live. The World Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalization says globalization must change its course if its benefits are to be felt by everyone. ILO TV explains:

Date issued: 09 January 2004 | Size/duration: 00:02:52 (6.95 MB)
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The baseball cap – an international fashion statement, an icon of globalization. Caps in Indonesia are shipped around the world by giant multinational corporations.

Likewise, modern facilities and state of the art technology are deployed around the globe to be manned by cheap labour. For workers who get the jobs, it’s welcome income.

But side-by-side with prosperity is poverty. The gap between rich and poor has never been wider.

Globalization has come under fire, but for the first time, it is under scrutiny by a World Commission of Presidents, representatives from labor and business, and a Nobel laureate.

Joseph Stiglitz: Commissioner and Nobel laureate

It was actually quite remarkable that this very diverse group came very quickly to an agreement on this vision, this vision of the importance of the social dimension, a recognition that the social dimension was often left out of the discussion.

At its best, the commission found globalization has transformed our world in terms of access to ideas, knowledge….

But that is little comfort to those trying to eke out a living at the edge of the global market. The shellfish these workers prepare in Peru isn’t likely to end up on their own table….

The Commission was proposed by the Director-General of the International Labour Organization, Juan Somavia.

Juan Somavia: ILO Director General

…seen by people, it generally appears that everything is being done to facilitate the global – global trade, global communications, global finance, global investment. Nothing wrong with that, but people and families live locally so they feel that there has to be a balance between promoting the global and promoting the local, and that balance has been totally lost…

With 185 million people out of work worldwide, unemployment has never been higher. Those without decent work have no say in decisions affecting their daily lives.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz: World Commission member

Globalization is going to be there that it has to be more inclusive to really have beneficial impacts to the majority of peoples in the world. And if it is just benefiting a few, the few who are rich and powerful then I think a lot of people will just rise up and fight against this kind of globalization.

The World Commission’s report has brought divergent views to a common table….

Benjamin Mkapa: President of Tanzania

Only then shall we succeed to globalize wealth rather than globalize poverty. No one likes to eat crumbs from a feast… Everyone wants to sit at the table.