Promoting Social Justice in the New Global Economy

By Hansenne, Michel | Monthly Labor Review, September 1994 | Go to article overview

Promoting Social Justice in the New Global Economy

Hansenne, Michel, Monthly Labor Review

Organizations constantly have to adapt to change. This has been true of the International Labor Organization (ILO) throughout its existence and is more than ever true today. In recognition of the organization's 75th anniversary, the theme of this article, "Defending values, promoting change: social justice in a global economy," depicts the nature of new challenges facing member nations. While the basic mission of the ILO--promoting social justice throughout the world--remains unchanged, the world in which it is to be carried out has changed profoundly in recent years. The international arena is contantly driven by rapid change in the geopolitical scene, far-reaching technical progress, and the intensification of economic globalization.

While many of these changes promise greater efficiency, higher growth, employment creation possibilities, and ultimately, enhanced social welfare, such improvements will not be realized automatically. On the contrary, they will impose a heavy burden of adjustment in all countries and on all groups within countries, with the serious risk of rising inequality both among and within countries as a result. These are fertile conditions for social conflict that could frustrate the necessary processes of change. Thus, social issues need to be given substantial weight by the international community, and to be fully taken into account in managing the global economy.

Indeed, there is a great challenge to the international community today, and it is twofold. The first is to create institutions that promote effective international cooperation to manage the global economic and social transformations that are under way. The second is to adopt national policies and programs that support efficient and equitable ways for making the required economic and social changes.

The ILO is clearly obligated to play in important role in mobilizing international action to meet the challenges of globalization. In doing so, it will continue defending its core values of basic worker rights, tripartism, and social justice. But the ILO must also develop innovative means to translate these values into social reality because prescriptions to regulate the labor market and develop social policy often require updating.

This willingness to innovate is essential for the continued relevance of the ILO in its major fields of competence: labor standards, industrial relations, employment, training, and social security. In each of these fields, there is a need to adapt existing paradigms to new realities and the lessons of experience. For instance, the standardsetting activity and machinery should be adapted to the profound changes that have occurred in the nature and organization of work, as well as to the pressing social issues resulting from freer international trade and globalization of production and markets. For example, I have called for a more rigorous procedure for choosing subjects for new standards, more emphasis on evaluating existing standards, and efforts to improve the compliance of member states with ILO Conventions relating to fundamental rights. I also have offered alternatives, consistent with the voluntary nature of the ILO, to encourage governments, employers, and workers to find a multilateral approach to developing fair labor standards and free international trade.

In industrial relations, changes in labor market institutions as well as the emerging "crossborder" dimensions of collective bargaining systems have to be taken into account through dialogue and interaction between governments, employers, and workers. Social dialogue, collective bargaining, and compromise all must be encouraged everywhere and at every opportunity, because they are the key to economic and social stability. Tripartism--the symbiosis of business, labor, and government--is indeed an invaluable institution and the ILO has to ensure that it is fully recognized at the international level. This is one of the fundamental aspects of the work that lies ahead.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Promoting Social Justice in the New Global Economy


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.