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Globalisation and the future of the welfare state: towards a new socio-economic model

  • Date(s)
    15 March 2007
  • Location
    Santiago, Chile

This event in Santiago,  held from 15 to 17 March 2007, was the first in the International Policy Commission Conference Series.

The International Policy Commission initiative is a cross-cutting project aimed at helping shape a new agenda for left-of-centre modernisers, breaking down the insularity of national parties and policy-makers, bringing together an experienced group of senior politicians, leading intellectuals, and up-and-coming thinkers from across the social democratic and progressive liberal spectrum.

This conference, supported by the Alfred Herrhausen Society, assembled a diverse and experienced group of participants and contributors willing to assess the progress made by progressive politicians in recent years, analyse the new challenges and changing set of circumstances that we are now confronted with and propose a future policy program aimed at pursuing social justice through modern means.

High-profile speakers at the conference included Michelle Bachelet (President of Chile), John Hutton (UK Secretary of State for Work and Pensions), Ricardo Lagos (former President of Chile) and Mike Moore (former Prime Minister of New Zealand and former Director-General of the WTO).

The impact of globalisation on our social protection models is the subject of critical debate as the context in which they operate becomes increasingly interconnected. While many challenges facing the welfare state stem from internal pressures of shifting demographic and life-style patterns, globalisation adds its own particular dimension and challenges.

This event in Santiago explored the extent to which these trends marked by shifting labour demands, new life-style patterns and personal and institutional expectations demand a rethinking of traditional welfare state models. To do so fully, participants assessed the institutional implications of global market integration as well as its impact on the capacity of individual nation-states to independently determine economic and social policies, reflecting on accountability, rights and responsibility, assets and ownership. 
This event was jointly hosted by Policy Network and members of the Chilean ConcertaciĆ³n coalition. The coalition has governed for 16 consecutive years over which it has been a progressive model for the region.

In this era of significant global change, it is critical to foster a strong, collaborative link between European progressives and their international counterparts. Thus, Policy Network views this as an important opportunity to explore the complexities of progressive domestic policy in the 21st century; one which uniquely benefits from the presence of strong South American, European and North American delegations.

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