“Making Globalization Socially sustainable”?

Reflection about a ILO-WTO publication.

By P.-E. Bouillot

What are the links between globalization, employment and social policies? About fifteen academic experts gathered to answer this question in a recent publication which was impulsed by the International Labour Office (ILO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). They suggested various channels to explain the social dimension of globalization.

They underlined the important role that free-trade can play for the economic growth. Nevertheless the publication is pointing at some negative effects of globalization on jobs and wages. For a better comprehension of these problems, the publication explores the policies options to improve globalization consequences with statistical evidences and other economics tools.

There is no doubt that the contribution is a high quality research. Indeed WTO is showing a great involvement in other concerns than world trade and is reasserting the importance of states policies. This publication sets a large range of economics and political sciences solutions. Nevertheless, despite the high level of this research, we can regret that no law expert has taken part in the working-out to give legal observations.

The Lascaux program, for example, gives a law approach to the analysis and interpretation of sustainable development and is working on the ways to make “globalization socially sustainable” in the agriculture and food area.

This publication is a first step to the cooperation between international organizations. This cooperation is very important for Lascaux, because we think that it can be an excellent way to improve the regulation of the food sector, if they could take into account the legal aspects of that cooperation in the future.

Instead of giving advices on the way the states should lead their policies, these international organizations should reinforce the links between their legal systems. For example in the food sector, we have to encourage the development of legal links between the WTO, the FAO and the negotiations in the frame of the climate change conference. “These negotiations bind together the fate of an economic issue – the development of trade and international trade, an environmental issue – that of global warming, and a social issue – that of poverty related to food crises.”(cf. F. Collart Dutilleul, 2010 and 2011).

It will be a long process, but we can see that if we give a legal dimension to sustainability, it can be a good strategy to make very different international organizations (in terms of history, objectives and culture) work together in order to reach a “social” globalization.

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