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Global social policy in the making

Global social policy in the making: The foundations of the social protection floor

Bob Deacon
Copyright Date: 2013
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  • Book Info
    Global social policy in the making
    Book Description:

    The global economic crisis continue to dominate headlines, yet measures to build a social floor under the global economy and reform global governance have received little attention. In 2012 the Social Protection Floor was adopted as a global social policy measure ensuring that all could have access to essential health care and income security over their lifespan. This book by the world’s leading authority on global social policy examines why and how the Social Protection Floor became ILO, UN and G20 policy and how the World Bank and IMF took steps to lay its foundation. Bob Deacon explains this development in terms of four influences: firstly, shifts in the global social structure, secondly, processes inside international institutions, thirdly, global actors -sometimes individuals - using their positions to make change, and fourthly, shifting discourses about social protection. This much-needed contribution to the field of global social policy will be of interest to students of international relations, international organization and development studies and should be read by international civil servants in global agencies.

    eISBN: 978-1-4473-1235-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of tables, figures and boxes
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. List of abbreviations
    (pp. viii-ix)
  5. About the author
    (pp. x-x)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  7. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    This is the story of how the International Labour Organization (ILO) came in 2012 to use its standard setting and soft law powers to resolve upon a recommendation to all countries that they should establish a ‘social protection floor’ (SPF) containing basic social security guarantees that would ensure that over the life cycle all in need could afford and have access to essential health care and have income security. It is the story of how the concept of a ‘social floor under the global economy’ or the ‘global social floor’ was transformed from a term used by global social reformists...

  8. TWO The global economic and social policy context
    (pp. 13-36)

    As we shall see in the next chapters, it was not until 2012 that the ILO agreed to recommend to countries that they establish SPFs. We shall also see that it was not until 2005 that the first real steps were taken inside the ILO to bring this about. The concept of some sort of global social floor was not formulated until 2000. However, the context that gave rise to theneedfor such a policy and theopportunityto get it agreed reaches back to the 1980s and 1990s. Only by understanding the impact of the neoliberal globalisation project...

  9. THREE The development of the SPF Recommendation
    (pp. 37-60)

    This chapter tells the story of the development of the ‘SPF’ concept from initial conceptualisation in 2000 in the context of debates about the need for a global social floor through to its being accepted as ILO policy. It examines how en route to acceptance compromises had to be made and changes in thinking introduced. These changes included the shift of the SPF from being a definedbenefit packageto a set ofguaranteesto be ensured by governments in ways they see fit, the shift from the SPF being aglobal social floorto being a set ofnational...

  10. FOUR The SPF, social dialogue and tripartite global governance in practice
    (pp. 61-100)

    This chapter tells the story of the passage through the 2011 and 2012 ILCs of the SPF Recommendation idea. Having nurtured and refined the concept within the Social Security Department for several years, as we saw in the last chapter, how would the secretariat try to ensure its smooth passage through these events? The chapter starts with an initial discussion of why getting agreement of the ILO to the SPF might be a challenge in the context of the tripartite governance structure of the ILO. It then describes and analyses how the policy was steered through the 2011 and 2012...

  11. FIVE The SPF and the struggle for global social policy synergy
    (pp. 101-140)

    This chapter looks outwards from the ILO and asks and demonstrates how the SPF became a rallying point for the struggle for global social policy synergy, that is, for the struggle to try to ensure that all UN agencies, including the World Bank and the IMF, sung from the same songbook and lined up behind tackling the shortcomings of market-driven globalisation with a plan to construct a social floor under the global economy. It shows how the ILO influenced the UN initially through UNCEB; how it influenced the G8 and then the G20 under the French presidency of 2011; and...

  12. SIX Implications for understanding global social policy change
    (pp. 141-156)

    At the outset of the book it was suggested that the decision by the ILO to agree a Recommendation on SPFs required explanation. There were indeed several aspects of the development of the policy on SPFs that demanded an explanation. An earlier attempt by the UK’s Gordon Brown in 2000 to get the UN to agree to a set of universal social policy principles was unacceptable to much of the Global South. What shifted in the global political context between 2000 and 2012 to overcome, in effect, the objection of many in the Global South to a set of global...

  13. SEVEN Reflections and prospects
    (pp. 157-186)

    This final chapter does five things:

    It provides an assessment of the SPF Recommendation in its own terms as a piece of ILO policy and asks whether the ILO has really modified its prime focus on workers’ social security and embraced a campaign for the social protection of residents. Will it be sustained within the ILO in the future?

    It asks to what extent the ‘global social floor’ or SPF-I has become really embedded in the UN system in the context of parallel debates and processes concerned with environmental sustainability (Rio plus 20) and with the broader UN development agenda...

  14. Endnotes
    (pp. 187-194)
  15. References
    (pp. 195-208)
  16. Index
    (pp. 209-218)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 219-219)