1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Blogs and Think Pieces by Keyword - State

  • We Cannot Take on Inequality Without Tax Justice (2 Jul 2019) | Fariya Mohiuddin
    At the heart of inequality is uneven access to key human rights such as health, housing and adequate living standards. Effective taxation is fundamental to addressing inequality in this form: by funding access, it creates a pathway for the progressive realization of human rights. Yet the links between inequality, rights provision and taxation have not always been clearly made in policy or in activism. This think piece is a contribution to filling this gap.
  • La promoción de cooperativas como política de inclusión por el trabajo en Argentina. Desafíos en el escenario socio-económico y político actual (7 Mar 2019) | Malena Victoria Hopp
    Desde 2003 se implementaron en Argentina programas de generación de cooperativas como estrategia de inclusión por el trabajo. Este ensayo analiza las potencialidades de estos programas y explora qué sucede cuando se les elimina, como ocurrió luego del cambio de gobierno en 2015. La nueva orientación de política pública debilitó el apoyo al trabajo cooperativo y favoreció la concentración de poder, derivada de la unificación de la elite política y económica. El reemplazo de cooperativas por transferencias de ingresos rompe con los espacios colectivos de trabajo y contribuye a profundizar desigualdades, mediante la individualización y asistencialización de las intervenciones sobre el desempleo y la pobreza.
  • Fault Lines and Front Lines: Shifting Power in an Unequal World (31 Oct 2018) | Katja Hujo, Maggie Carter
    Economic and social inequalities have grown within and between countries over recent decades, with the growing divide between the privileged and the rest fracturing society in new and more dramatic ways. In a context where governments have agreed to redouble efforts to address inequalities as part of their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, this introductory think piece to the UNRISD series Overcoming Inequalities in a Fractured World: Between Elite Power and Social Mobilization raises questions around the drivers and consequences of inequalities, and how people, communities, social relationships and institutions are shifting, adapting and innovating in response to them.
  • Technology and Freedom of Expression: Opportunities and Threats through the Journalist’s Lens (26 Mar 2018) | Mariateresa Garrido Villareal
    The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the role that journalists play in ensuring fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression and access to information. SDG 16 in particular calls for the effective monitoring of crimes against journalists as an indicator to measure progress towards promoting peaceful and inclusive societies. Despite this, threats against journalists and media personnel are on the rise, and an accurate and comprehensive measurement system is still missing. Technology can help us to address this gap, and this Think Piece proposes a way forward.
  • War, Gender and Economics: Women at the Sharp End of Neo-liberal Reforms in Post-Conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina (8 Jan 2018) | Nela Porobić Isaković
    In 2014, political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) adopted a socio-economic Reform Agenda, in a context of social unrest as well as preparations to pave the way to EU accession. This think piece argues that the Reform Agenda, based on neoliberal solutions such as austerity measures and stabilization policies, and lacking a rigorous feminist conflict and gender analysis, will fail to create a firm foundation on which a sustainable and just transition from conflict to peace can be made.
  • Reflexiones sobre la transformación social-ecológica en América Latina (1 Jun 2017) | Álvaro Cálix
    Latinoamérica ha sido un espacio de experimentación de varios modelos de desarrollo. En su mayoría estos modelos han enfatizado en el crecimiento y la estabilidad de la economía, lo que ha llevado a desequilibrios ambientales y a exacerbaciones de diferentes tipos de desigualdad en el continente. Este blog propone tres orientaciones macro que, de ser tenidas en cuenta por gobiernos y hacedores de política, podrían construir un enfoque alternativo y transformador de desarrollo.
  • When Can Public Policy Work for SSE? (5 Oct 2016) | Peter Utting
    An increasing number of governments are adopting policies and programmes that aim to support different types of SSE organizations and enterprises. This potentially bodes well for implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. But whether or not such initiatives are effective is an open question. The state-SSE relationship is fraught with tensions and contradictions, which under certain conditions may be mitigated. This blog post explores how.
  • Destination: Socially Sustainable Development. Will Addis Lead the Way? (25 Sep 2015) | Katja Hujo
    In this concluding think piece of the Road to Addis and Beyond Series, UNRISD Research Coordinator Katja Hujo brings together some of the main strands of argument covered by contributors and situates them in relation to UNRISD research, highlighting the importance of the politics of tax reform over and above the technicalities of reform blueprints. The piece concludes by outlining promising routes to more and better finance at the national level as well as blind spots to be aware of, and provides a concise, compelling view of what direction the road beyond Addis should take if we are to arrive at the destination set out in the sustainable development agenda for people, planet and prosperity.
  • Financing Development: Tangible Tools to give Meaning to Fine Words (19 Aug 2015) | Eddie Rich
    How can we move from fine words spoken at global conferences to actual results? For resource-rich countries, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) process can provide a tangible set of policy actions that countries can take to help maximise the value of their extractive resources. These actions can contribute to strengthening government tax collection systems, making countries more attractive investment prospects, and generating informed public debate. Experiences in EITI countries show that these are the kinds of good practices that forthcoming global conferences should catalyse to help countries use their resources to finance development.
  • Using Human Rights in the Courts to Broaden Social Protection—The South African Example (19 Sep 2014) | Beth Goldblatt
    This article discusses the case of South Africa where the courts have been a significant site of contestation over the nature and extent of the social assistance system. The combination of the right to social security and the right to equality has been of central importance in a number of key cases concerning social security brought to the South African courts.
  • Sustainable Development Goals and the Case for a Developmental Welfare State (17 Sep 2014) | Gabriele Köhler
    This think piece argues that while the newly proposed Sustainable Development Goals for the post-2015 development agenda have their good points, they do not go far enough.They are not conceptualized as rights-based and, like the MDGs, they are state-blind. These issues mut be addressed in order for the next development agenda to stand a chance of becoming progressive.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Oil in the Niger Delta: Solution or Part of the Problem? (23 Jul 2014) | Michael Marchant
    Much recent development thinking has considered the ability of the private sector to play a developmental role in areas lacking a state presence. This think piece casts doubt onto this perspective by assessing the obstacles that the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC) has faced in enacting CSR policies in the Niger Delta. It suggests that the complex nature of conflict in the Niger Delta, along with Shell’s organizational structure and culture have been two primary obstacles. However, it also argues that Shell’s reluctance to acknowledge its own role in the conflict within the Delta has undermined its CSR. Ultimately, it is suggested that this speaks to a fundamental problem with the belief in CSR as a solution to the current absence of state institutions in many areas; namely that it ignores the corporation’s own contribution to the social, political and economic problems facing the communities that they operate in.
  • The Compatibility between ILO Recommendation 202 on Social Protection Floors and the ICESCR (5 May 2014) | Francine Mestrum
    Are ILO Recommendation 202 on Social Protection Floors and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) compatible? At the discursive level, one can conclude that ICESCR is more complete than R.202, but the language used does not permit any conclusion in terms of incompatibility. Both texts leave room for flexible interpretation. Hence problems may occur at the implementation level. This piece explores issues which may arise as a result.
  • Adopting Comprehensive, Coherent and Coordinated Policies in Social Protection: A View from the Americas (27 Mar 2014) | Alexandra Barrantes
    In the context of the principles of social protection, through the Social Charter of the Americas, the countries of the region acknowledge they have “a responsibility to develop and implement comprehensive social protection policies and programs, based on the principles of universality, solidarity, equality, nondiscrimination, and equity that give priority to persons living in conditions of poverty and vulnerability, taking into account their national circumstances.” Countries in the Americas have also recognized the central role of the state in the fight against poverty, inequity, inequality and social exclusion. Even though coordination of social protection policies has improved throughout the region, it continues to be a challenge, mainly due to the complexity of the issues at stake and the multiplicity of approaches and sectors involved.
  • Happy Country, Happy Government: How Useful are International Happiness Rankings? (26 Mar 2014) | Nadine van Dijk, Lizzie Spencer, Viviana Ramirez
    Studying the progress of nations from a well-being perspective is becoming more and more popular. A well-being perspective offers potential advantages, including insights into what matters to people directly, and a comprehensive and relatively non-judgmental view on development. However, the contribution of a well-being lens remains limited by issues of well-being data availability, a focus on happiness, and hierarchical presentations through international happiness rankings. The authors argue for a more critical perspective on data collection and presentation.
  • Social Economy Policies in Argentina: Potential and Limits for the Development of Associative and Cooperative Work (7 Mar 2014) | Malena Victoria Hopp
    This think piece analyses the potential and limits of Social Economy policies implemented in Argentina since 2003. The hypothesis that guides this work suggests that the main limits seen in the development of the Social Economy sector are due to the secondary role occupied by Social Economy in the government's social-economic strategy. This relates to the particular institutional framework of the programmes promoting associative and cooperative work. They are mainly implemented by the Social Development Ministry, a state agency which historically provided social assistance.
  • The Puzzled Regulator: The Missing Link in Our Understanding of Social Enterprises (19 Jun 2013) | Alejandro Agafonow
    The lack of a well-defined business model is a major obstacle for a successful regulation of social enterprises. Current regulation efforts, while valuable, have largely ignored early research in sectors where the first social enterprises emerged. Such a business model is becoming more of a necessity than a normative proposal because in an era of austerity-stricken public finances, social enterprises must find a way to outperform for-profits competing in markets with blurred sectoral boundaries. This piece looks into a more precise definition of the social enterprise business model, which has surprising implications for the potential transformation of the third sector and its impact on market economies. The piece also challenges the misperception of social enterprises as either donative non-profits with commercial arms or for-profit ventures.
  • Microinsurance as a Liberal Market Approach to Social Protection? A Second Look (26 Apr 2013) | Tabea Goldboom
    This viewpoint looks at the characteristics of microinsurance from a social protection perspective. Insurance products, which are specifically designed for the low-income population of developing countries, have lately seen a large boom. This viewpoint questions the common perception that microinsurance is a liberal market mechanism that substitutes for state action. The conclusions are relevant for policy makers concerned with social protection in developing countries.
  • Moving Beyond the Public-Private Divide: Locating Social Entrepreneurship in the Social Economy (26 Feb 2013) | Lisa Hanley
    This think piece will reflect on the public-private divide and the role of social enterprises in the delivery of public services, with particular attention to their role in the social economy. It will suggest that one of the greatest potentials of social enterprises may be the possibility of co-constructing social policy through partnerships and alliances across the public-private divide.
  • The Politics of the Cooperative Sector in Developing Countries: Insights from Argentina, Brazil and Colombia (26 Feb 2013) | Andrés Spognardi
    Although cooperatives are widely recognized as key drivers of economic and social development, the type and scope of the policies aimed at promoting the formation, expansion and consolidation of this form of social business vary considerably across the developing world. Even in countries with a long tradition of cooperative entrepreneurship, government policies toward the cooperative sector differ considerably. The question that naturally arises is: What accounts for such divergences?
  • Can Developing Countries Retain Genuine Independence in Today’s World? (8 Mar 2004) | Désirée Abrahams
    It has been argued that developing countries do not have genuine independence and therefore, cannot retain genuine independence in today’s world. It is hard not to be pessimistic when considering the obstacles that prevent developing countries from entering the system. At present the politico-economic rules are rigged and stacked against them...