The Report of the World Commission is a positive but critical message for changing the current path of globalization. It says that the potentials of globalization, in terms of growing connectivity and productive capacity, are immense. However, current systems of governance of globalization at national and international levels have not realized such potentials for most of the world's people-and in many instances have made matters worse. "Seen through the eyes of the vast majority of men and women around the world, globalization has not met their simple aspiration for decent jobs, livelihoods and a better future for their children". In 2003, official figures for global unemployment reached a record high of over 185 million people. Unofficial figures would be much higher, especially if one includes the underemployed and the working poor.
These trends, the Report argues, are largely the result of deep-seated and persistent imbalances in the current workings of the global economy which are both "ethically unacceptable and politically unsustainable." It warns that we have reached a crisis stage in the legitimacy of our political institutions, whether national or international. There is an urgent need to rethink current institutions of global economic governance, whose rules and policies it says are largely shaped by powerful countries and powerful players. The unfairness of key rules of trade and finance reflect a serious "democratic deficit" at the heart of the system. The failure of policies, it argues, is due to the fact that market-opening measures and financial and economic considerations have consistently predominated over social ones, including measures compatible with the prerogatives of international human rights law and the principles of international solidarity.
The vision put forward by the Commission is to bring into being a system of global governance that is genuinely supportive of and conducive to national development strategies ("there can be no successful globalization without a successful localization"), where powerful actors are held accountable, and where efforts to achieve coherence between economic and social objectives would place the needs and aspirations of ordinary people at the centre of rules and policies.
The Commission's Final Report is available for downloading in PDF format in seven languages:
* English - PDF 2'047 Kb
* French - PDF 2'300 Kb
* Spanish - PDF 1'210 Kb
* Chinese - PDF 6'536 Kb
* Arabic - PDF 4'500 Kb
* Russian - PDF 4'736 Kb
* German - PDF 1'731 Kb
To purchase the publication by mail, please contact ILO Publications Bureau.