The 2008 global economic crisis hit working people around the world the hardest. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), as many as 30 million people lost their jobs as a result of the crisis. Youth unemployment is especially high, raising the specter of a “lost generation.” At the same time, inequality between rich and poor has reached record levels in many countries, which bodes poorly for social cohesion. As recent events in the Middle East and North Africa demonstrate, joblessness and inequality can trigger political instability and unrest.
On April 13, Global Economy and Development at Brookings hosted Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, for a discussion of the global economic crisis and strategies for spurring employment and promoting more equitable and balanced growth around the world. Other panelists included Stephen Pursey, senior adviser to the director-general of the ILO, and George A. Akerlof, 2001 Nobel Prize recipient and the Koshland professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley. Kemal Derviş, vice president and director of Global Economy and Development, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.
Following the program, the panelists took audience questions.