Wealthy individuals have sustained their vast riches particularly through a few important economic sectors, including finance, pharmaceuticals and health care. Billionaires with activities in these sectors increased their collective net worth by 47% between 2013 and 2014. Companies from these sectors spend millions of dollars every year on lobbying to create a policy environment that enhances their interests. Other than the obvious unfairness and absence of moral integrity of this phenomenon, should ordinary people of the world–the other 99%–care? In a word, yes, because it is corroding what lies at the heart of functioning societies in which people’s rights are safeguarded and opportunities for all must be encouraged, rather than thwarted.
The potential of women must be fully tapped if we are to secure a path to sustainable development and address the ever-decreasing working-age population in the post-2015 era. Everyone will agree that harnessing the female labour force is essential for sustainable development. In the case of Korea, if by 2030 women’s economic participation rate were to increase to the men’s rate of 2010, the total labour force size would increase by about 10 percentage points in that time, according to the OECD. In addition, evidence from developed countries shows that women’s employment rate, fertility rate and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita are closely correlated. To this effect, since she took office in 2013, Korea’s first female president, Madame Park Geun-hye, has been stressing the importance of creating a society where no social or cultural limitations hinder women’s career development
This year’s OECD Forum coincides with the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, which was an important milestone to promote gender equality worldwide. Much has been achieved since 1995, but unfortunately, a lot remains to be done to close the gender gap and increase women’s participation in our economies and societies.
The 30% Club is a group of company chairmen, chairwomen and CEOs committed to achieving better gender balance at all levels of their organisations through voluntary actions.
The BLI is an interactive online platform that offers important insights into how people perceive their own well-being and quality of life.
With José Mariano Gago, the world has lost a brilliant scientist and an outstanding policymaker. He did not just decisively shape the policy landscape in Portugal; his intellectual rigour, charisma and generosity profoundly influenced the search for better policies in many countries. That is why we were so saddened when we learned that Mariano Gago had passed away on 17 April 2015.
Lack of data limits the ability to measure women’s conditions in an accurate and comprehensive way, and to make informed decisions about how women and girls fare. The post-2015 development agenda will translate into an increased demand for gender statistics that are regularly produced and provide solid and objective evidence.
The Spinoza Factory, together with Campagne Première Productions, have organised the Happiness at work days (journées du Bonheur au travail), in Paris from February 12-14. This three-day conference will include round tables, debates, and interventions by business leaders, psychologists, researchers, trade unions and employees.
In a time of economic turmoil, global tourism is still faring well: over 1.1 billion tourists traveled abroad in 2014, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). This is almost 5% more than in 2013, the organisation said in a press release.
Star economist Thomas Piketty presented the English version of his global bestseller, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", at the OECD on 3 July 2014 as part of The Coffees of the Secretary-General series. Read the complete transcript of Mr Piketty's presentation below.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, 7 and 9 January 2015, in which 17 defenceless people were gunned down.
Schools are places of learning and producing the innovators of tomorrow. But did you know that in most OECD countries, schools lag behind workplaces and homes in the adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) tools?
The question of whether or not migration, and in particular free mobility within Europe, can play a role in reducing unemployment is a highly topical one. In the EU, harmonised unemployment rates rose between 2007 and Q3 2014 from 7.2% to 10%.
Compared to their parents, German baby-boomers are substantially more unequal in terms of long-term earnings, are subject to a much stronger pay uncertainty, and are considerably more likely to experience long spells of unemployment.
Fostering well-being at the local level is a way to build stronger and more sustainable communities. The OECD Regional Well-Being framework provides a tool to help governments at all levels design and refine the policies that will help achieve this goal.
As G20 leaders look distraught at a global economy that is faced with weak growth, high unemployment and rising income inequality, they should repeat to themselves that this is not inevitable. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), while putting out another downward revision of growth forecasts, admitted that recovery is too slow and fragile, while recognising the problem of income inequality. The OECD, in its reports on New Approaches and Economic Challenges (NAEC) and its 2014 OECD Employment Outlook, acknowledges that rising inequality affects economic growth and social cohesion, sapping trust in markets and institutions.
Australia is known as the “lucky country” with its sunny climes, beautiful beaches and relaxed lifestyle. But did you know that it is also a “happy” country, at least according to well-being measures?
Australia is not a founding member of the OECD, which was created in 1961. Rather, its decision to seek membership was only taken after ten years of intermittent debate.
Eight giant balloons from Japan floated in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower on the weekend of 30 August, a reminder of one of the worst natural disasters of recent times–and of the determination of survivors to rebuild their region.
OECD Observer No 300, Q3 2014
Overall, well-being has improved over the past two centuries, but not always in the ways or for the reasons we might have thought. The Industrial Revolution sometimes meant workers were worse off and worse fed than before, for example.
We encourage the OECD and other global bodies to provide greater focus on reporting non-GDP based measures alongside GDP per capita when comparing the progress of nations so that this methodology can become more mainstream.
Time progresses inexorably. Six years have already elapsed since the onset of the global financial crisis, and employment in many countries is still far below its pre-2008 levels. Even for people who still have jobs, working conditions have deteriorated. Until recently, we were decrying a jobless recovery, but now the data suggest that growth itself may be fading in several countries. The conversation has become one of job losses among family and friends, as everyone feels exposed to cutbacks at work, falling wages, falling activity, insecurity, and the task of simply trying to make ends meet.
“I am only a woman!” declares Sybylla Melvyn with deliberate irony, in the Australian classic novel, My Brilliant Career. When Miles Franklin wrote the novel in 1901, aged just 19, she was embarking on her own career path, and though successful, like Sybylla, she encountered many social, economic and cultural hurdles along the way.
The world economy is still suffering from the strains of the longest crisis of modern times, and nowhere is this more evident than in the high unemployment numbers. Over 100 million people are out of work in the G20 countries, with joblessness at historically high levels in several of them. Long-term and youth unemployment, and low female participation, pose particular challenges.
Even in countries where recovery has begun to take hold, the reduction in joblessness has been frustratingly slow, and all too often achieved via low-skill, low-paying jobs. Resilient, inclusive and smart societies need more.
Policymakers have a key role to play in introducing the reforms and measures needed to improve labour markets and bring unemployment back down. In this OECD Observer Roundtable, we asked a cross-section of ministers:
“What actions are you taking to create more and better jobs in your economy?”
©OECD Observer Roundtable No 12.
Back in middle school, my classmates and I used to make up a game called “Anywhere but here” to while away the time during cover lessons and study hall. It involved closing your eyes, flicking through an atlas, and randomly pointing your finger at a map. Then you had to invent an elaborate story about your life in wherever you would end up.
The French are noted for their good living as well as a relatively long life span. It’s the so-called French paradox. The southwest in particular is said to have relatively more centenarians than anywhere else in the country.
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