I’ve blogged more comprehensively on Touchstone about the World Bank’s latest report on jobs, but just had to share this (thanks to @UNI_PM). Apparently, the team that put together the report – the World Bank’s flagship report, so I’m guessing it wasn’t an intern’s summer holiday project – have discovered the earth-shaking fact that jobs are really important, see? And that getting people jobs is key to tackling poverty.
Seriously, the economist in charge of the project, Uruguayan Martin Rama, had this to say (my emphases.) It’s well-expressed, but it doesn’t half strike a trade unionist as coming from the department of the blindingly obvious:
“As we started putting the pieces of the puzzle together, it became increasingly clear that much of what we care about in development happens through jobs. Poverty falls as people work their way out of hardship and as jobs empowering women lead to greater investments in children. Efficiency increases as workers get better at what they do, as more productive jobs appear, and less productive ones disappear. Societies flourish as jobs bring together people from different ethnic and social backgrounds and provide alternatives to conflict. Jobs are thus more than a byproduct of economic growth. They are transformational —they are what we earn, what we do, and even who we are.”
He had the good grace to thank all the people who helped his team come to that conclusion, including Ela Bhatt, who helped found the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) which is one of the TUC’s sister national trade union confederations in India, and has over a million members drawn from one of the most difficult sectors for unions to organise in. SEWA features in the World Bank report.
It took the team just a year to reach this revelation. I suppose we should just be glad that the message got through at all.