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Generating Decent Work

In this paper, which was delivered as the V.V. Giri Memorial Lecture at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Indian Society of Labour Economics (IJLE), the author presents a vision for building a humane and just society in which the rights of working people are heard and respected. He argues that this would necessitate replacing the current pursuit of unbridled growth based on the economics of greed with the pillar of social justice. In his view, an effective means of moving towards this goal is through the creation of decent work, as it is the most effective means of ensuring inclusive, sustainable, and equitable growth. In this context, the author reviews the work of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) undertaken under the World Employment Programme (WEP), mainly in the 1970s and 1980s, in order to make employment central in economic policy-making, the main findings of the ILO’s research and the reasons as to why it achieved limited success in influencing the policies of developing countries. He then discusses in detail the concept of decent work which the ILO came up with in the late 1990s in which the focus changed from generating not just any employment but decent employment for women and men which was based on the four pillars of rights at work, productive and remunerative employment, social protection, and social dialogue. The author then presents the key elements of an employment strategy, which, in his view, would promote a virtuous circle of productivity, employment and output growth while also leading to the creation of decent work in the economy.

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59th Annual Conference of ISLE
Venue: 16-18 December 2017, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
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