As many have observed worldwide, the outcome of the US presidential elections has been, as expected - full of hope and fear. Many people had the bad feeling that if Trump were to be re-elected, the uncertainty, already enormous due to the pandemic and its effects, would jeopardize the economic recovery worldwide. The triumph of Democrat Biden does not guarantee great solutions, but at the least offers a little more of transparency, certainty, and stability.
“This is a crisis without a quick fix that could take years to resolve unless there are concerted efforts to address its root causes”, says Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF Director of Emergency Programmes.
Back in May 2019, we were visiting a large garment factory in Arsikere, Karnataka, when we asked some of the workers, “What would you do if you got Saturdays off?” Their responses to this simple question summed up their priorities. A majority said they would spend time with family or friends and take care of their children. Many said they would use this time to relax or do household chores. Only a few said they’d look for additional pay.
Fifteen countries will sign a mega-trade deal at the ASEAN conference this weekend imposing secretive restrictions on how governments help workers through the pandemic, trade union leaders and parliamentarians have warned.
During the past few months, I had worked on a documentary for the BBC which looks at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the apparel industry of Bangladesh. That documentary caught me at an exceptionally low ebb. I was struggling amid the cancellation of orders and some brands being unwilling to pay for orders which had already been shipped.
The World Bank has finally given up defending its controversial, but influential Doing Business Report
(DBR). In August, the Bank “paused” publication of the DBR due to a “number of irregularities
” after its much criticized ranking system was exposed as fraudulent.
US third quarter GDP numbers released two weeks ago delighted stock markets and President Trump. Output had picked up by 7.4%, annualised as 33.1%, the largest quarterly economic growth on record, almost double the old record of 3.9% (annualised as 16.7%) in the first quarter of 1950, seven decades ago.
This year, the United Nations is marking its 75th anniversary – a milestone of extraordinary economic and social progress in Asia and the Pacific. While the Organization enjoys a lifespan almost equal to the world’s improved average life expectancy, the future lies with those who have recently embarked on theirs: our young people.
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the way people value working from home, career building, and their overall approach to utilising downtime.
It has blurred out the lines between hobby, casual reading, and how time is spent away from work.
The inclusivity of Brazilian society is put to the test as the coronavirus pandemic highlights a labour sector ripe with historical and structural inequality: domestic work.
The fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic continues: as more people around the world lose their livelihoods, human trafficking is on the rise. Support services for survivors have been shut, and past gains to combat it have been reversed. Funding has dried up.
In the fight against COVID-19, success has so far been defined by responses in Asia and the Pacific. Many countries in our region have been hailed as reference points in containing the virus. Yet if the region is to build back better, the success of immediate responses should not distract from the weaknesses COVID-19 has laid bare. Too many people in our region are left to fend for themselves in times of need. This pandemic was no exception. Comprehensive social protection systems could right this wrong. Building these systems must be central to our long-term recovery strategy.
This week the world’s Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors meet virtually at the 2020 Annual Meetings
of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and decide on the fate of the world.
This year’s gathering is particularly important, given that the world is confronting an unprecedented crisis. Governments are struggling to finance emergency care and urgent socioeconomic support to cope with the COVID19 pandemic.
In the glitzy Dolby Theater in Hollywood Heights, with stars dressed in hundred thousand-dollar garbs, Parasite
—a film about inequality, class tension and the fault lines of capitalism—won big. I couldn’t help but recall South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s earlier 2013 film, Snowpiercer
was arguably the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century, associated with promoting ‘neo-liberal’, free-market, shareholder capitalism
Friedman’s monetarist economics is now widely considered irrelevant, if not wrong, especially with the low inflation associated with ‘unconventional’ monetary policies following the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.
Africa’s hopes of feeding a population projected to double by 2050 amidst a worsening climate crisis rest on huge investments in agriculture, including creating the conditions so that women can empower themselves and lead efforts to transform the continent’s farming landscape.
The recent refusal
by five international auditing firms to inspect for labor abuses in Xinjiang was the right response to the severe human rights violations there. But this is a moment for the auditing and certifications industry, which assesses the compliance of work sites with human rights and labor rights standards, to rethink its approach to “social audits”—periodic workplace inspections—everywhere.
Can the “energy transition” in Latin America help address the risks caused by greenhouse gases (GHG) on the climate, and the economic depression caused by the pandemic?
Just as COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted some communities more than others, globally, the virus has had an oversized negative impact on migrant workers.
The national occupation and employment survey prepared by INEGI, with figures updated to July 2020, shows an improvement that has occurred in the last two months. However, the employment situation, compared with the data existing before the pandemic still shows serious problems:
As the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the length and breadth of Asia and the Pacific, finance ministries are continuing their relentless efforts to inject trillions of dollars for emergency health responses and fiscal packages. With continued lockdown measures and restricted borders, economic rebound seems uncertain.