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The Global Social Crisis   

The Global Social Crisis

Report on the World Social Situation


This work is published for and on behalf of the United Nations.

Paperback Book (6 x 9") :   Pages : 130
2012  Edition         :   ISBN - 978-81-7188-962-4
Price : Rs. 595  (For Sale in South Asia Only)
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During 2008-2009, the world experienced its worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The crisis followed the effects of the food and fuel price hikes in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, global output contracted by 2 per cent.

This 2011 Report on the World Social Situation reviews the ongoing adverse social consequences of these crises after an overview of its causes and transmission. While a deeper, more pro-longed global recession has been averted by coordinated stimulus measures, the recovery is nonetheless fragile and uneven. The economic slowdown has reduced social spending in most developing countries while the turn to fiscal austerity has undermined social spending in developed countries.

The Report points to the rapid rise in unemployment and vulnerability, especially in developing countries without comprehensive social protection in the wake of the global economic crisis. Tens of millions more people fell into, or were trapped in, extreme poverty because of the global crisis, while the number of people living in hunger in the world rose to over a billion in 2009, the highest on record.

The global economic downturn has had wide-ranging negative social outcomes and set back progress towards achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals. Given the fragility of the economic recovery and uneven progress in major economies, social conditions are only expected to recover slowly. The increased levels of poverty, hunger and unemployment will continue to affect billions for years to come.

The Report strongly underscores important lessons from national responses to the global crisis, the importance of inclusive social policies and the need for universal social protection. A key conclusion is that countries need to be able to pursue countercyclical policies in a consistent manner.


 Explanatory notes


Beyond recovery: addressing the social crisis

The continuing social crisis

Addressing the crisis: the way forward

Role of government

Focus on employment growth

Need for social protection

Poverty and food security

Rethinking social policy

I. The global economic crisis: causes and transmission

Impact, response and recovery

International response averts deeper recession

Recovery: tepid, uneven and uncertain


United States crisis becomes global



International finance

Development aid


Concluding remarks: bleak prospects for social development

II. The Great Recession and the jobs crisis

Employment impacts

Informal and vulnerable employment

Working poor

Impact of the crisis on wages and salaries

Adverse impacts on demographic and social groups

Impacts on household dynamics and human development

Concluding remarks: the jobs crisis persists

III. Incomes, poverty and well-being

The context of the crisis

Income poverty



Impact of crises on social indicators

Evidence from previous crises

The impact of the food crisis

Much depends on the pace of recovery

Social integration and crime

Concluding remarks: full impact unfolding

IV. The global food crises

Food prices remain volatile and high

Social impacts of the food crisis

Underlying causes of the global food price spike

Speculation in commodity futures

Higher energy prices and demand for biofuels

Trade liberalization

Long-term problems

Other longer-term trends

U-turn in Washington?

Concluding remarks: urgent action needed

V. Crises, fiscal space and national response

Impact on fiscal space

Effects on social spending

Education spending

Spending on health and social protection

Spending on infrastructure and agriculture

Policy responses to the crisis: an overview

Social protection and labour market measures

Policy responses to the food crisis

Concluding remarks: policy space is crucial

VI. International responses

Crisis response of the Group of Twenty

Responses of the International Monetary Fund

Policy responses to the food crisis

Concluding remarks: a balance between stimulus and austerity


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