I want to disagree strongly with Rob Vos. I have always argued that in the context of a globalised economy we need a globalised social policy. This GSP should, in my view contain three elements; the articulation of global social RIGHTS, the fashioning of some global social REGULATION, and an element of global REDISTRIBUTION. A global fund to support countries develop their own social protection floors could be one element of the Redistribution strand.
It has become fashionable in the wake of the bad experiences of structural adjustment to argue that countries should now raise their own revenues from mineral resources, the better off within the country or by other means to create their own social contracts between national social groups. I support this absolutely but there is no reason why this should exclude the additional element of a global social contract between richer countries and poorer or between global capital and the poor. Indeed the more we have runaway global inequality the more it is required.
Redistribution from a global fund to support poorer countries develop a SPF should be in the form of matching funds. Every dollar in revenue raised by a country by its own fiscal policy which is earmarked for spending on its own social protection floor could be rewarded with a dollar from the fund. The concept of matching funds is a long established mechanism for supporting development within poorer regions of a country and poorer countries within a regional bloc. Such a carrot mechanism to steer global social priorities has nothing in common with a Northern imposed conditionality linked to Bank or IMF loans .
The long delayed and long awaited call by the UN Human Rights Special Rapporteurs for Extreme Poverty and for the right to Food should be welcomed as a step on the road to working out how mechanisms of global social governance can be constructed which go beyond mere exhortations to countries to realise social rights.
Emeritus Professor of International Social Policy, University of Sheffield
Deacon, B (2007), Global Social Policy and Governance, London Sage,
Deacon, B (2013). Making Global Social Policy: The Foundations of the Social Protection Floor, Bristol, Policy Press.
See Also the journal Global Social Policy.