This book analyzes the social impact of the Asian financial crisis and its policy implications. It documents the severe rise in unemployment and its repercussions in the worst-affected countries (the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia) and how this has, to a varying extent, overwhelmed the underdeveloped systems of social protection. It argues that, in light of this experience, urgent action is required both to relieve current social distress and to strengthen systems of social protection.
A central policy message is that current programs of policy and institutional reform have to include a basic rethinking of the social dimension of the future model of development. A new social contract, based on full respect for basic labor rights, democracy, and greater social protection needs to be forged. The book argues the case for the introduction of unemployment insurance, the expansion of social assistance, and the strengthening of active labor market policies. The policy issues raised are of relevance not only to the crisis-affected Asian countries but also to other emerging economies that are facing similar challenges in an era of rapid economic and financial globalization.