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Alternative Perspectives on amending Labour Laws and Promoting Growth

Alternative Perspectives on amending Labour Laws and Promoting Growth

World Economic Forum - Davos 2011 Post-Crisis Reality Requires New Social Contract(28 January 2011)

  • The new post-crisis reality forces governments to create conditions for growth and not intervene in business
  • It also requires companies to operate with integrity, create jobs and promote sustainability
Davos, Switzerland, 28 January 2011 – Governments and businesses should start revising their social contracts with their stakeholders in the light of the new realities of the post-crisis world, participants at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos were told today. 

“The new contract has to move beyond the rulers and the ruled,” said Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of Thailand. “We’re all partners now.” The state should not intervene in the private sector, he declared, but should focus instead on creating the conditions that would allow companies to create employment and make profits for their shareholders.

“The new social contract must recognize that governments do not create wealth as well as the private sector,” said Abhisit. “What governments do is to facilitate and to support. Therefore, the first obligation is that governments must create opportunities. That means human resource development, providing education and healthcare to make sure people . . . have the skills to have opportunities and jobs.”

“In the US, the social contract is adapting to a new set of circumstances that represent historic dramatic changes economically, technologically and in the rebalance between the West and the East,” said Ronald A. Williams, Chairman of Aetna, USA. The corporation has the obligation to operate with integrity, to create jobs and to operate in a sustainable way in the context of resources and risk.

The new social contract should also recognize that “jobs are more flexible, service-oriented, short-term, informal and increasingly held by women,” said Michelle Bachelet, Undersecretary-General, United Nations Women (UN Women), New York. The state must protect the vulnerable members of society and that means providing access to education, healthcare and other social safety nets.

“Governments not only have to create conditions for prosperity in the economy and deal with the most disadvantaged in society, but must also ensure investment is made in health and other services,” said Michael Porter, Professor at the Harvard Business School. “At the same time, citizens must also be co-investors and participate in the process. They must have skin in the game and not simply be passive and entitled.”

Notes to Editors

For more information about the Annual Meeting 2011: http://wef.ch/Davos2011
Watch interviews with top leaders about the Davos agenda at http://wef.ch/DavosInterviews

Post-Crisis Reality Requires New Social Contract World Economic Forum-Post-Crisis Reality Requires New Social Contract

South Africa

Alternate voices and perspectives

United Kingdom

 The Government has announced new plans to improve the way in which workplace disputes are resolved alongside an “Employer’s Charter” designed to give businesses more confidence to take on workers and support growth.

A critical element of the Government’s growth strategy is to create the conditions which allow businesses, especially smaller businesses, to flourish and expand, by reducing regulation and maintaining a flexible and dynamic labour market.

“Today’s announcements on reforms to employment law are among the first conclusions of our Government-wide growth review, and highlight our determination to ensure that employment law is no longer seen as a barrier to growth, while making sure that employees and employers are treated fairly.

“Giving businesses the confidence to take on somebody new will be a real boost to the economy, and help generate the sustainable growth we need.” UK Prime Minister


  • Unemployment rate +/- 7.6%



  • Unemployment +/- 9.8%


  • Unemployment +/- 8.6%


  • Brazil Unemployment rate — 8.1%
  • Russia Unemployment rate — 9.2%
  • Unemployment in India is 9.4% (i.e. 40 million)
  • Unemployment in China is 4.2% (suspect)
  • Unemployment in South Africa — + 25.2%


  • Unemployment in South Africa — + 25.2%
  • Unemployment Zimbabwe - unemployment and poverty rates run near 80%
  • Unemployment Botswana - Although unemployment was 7.5% in 2007 according to official reports, unofficial estimates place it closer to 40%. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is second highest in the world and threatens Botswana's impressive economic gains. Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest economic growth rates since independence in 1966, though growth fell below 5% in 2007-08, and turned sharply negative in 2009, with industry falling nearly 30%. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of $13,100 in 2010.

Key South African Indicators

  • Unemployment in South Africa — + 25.2% (total number of unemployed was 4,3-million for the first quarter of 2010. The number of people not economically active rose by 1 071 000 annually, with 624 000 being discouraged work seekers)
  • HIV+  Prevalence = 5.7m = 11% National
  • Life Expectancy at birth 47.7 years


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Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

Managing Director


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