As COVID-19 has gone around the world, forcing the shutdown of economies and threatening livelihoods, ThompsonReuters reports it has had another effect, which is the dispossessing of almost half of the world’s work force, mostly in poor nations.
ome 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy, representing nearly half of the global labour force, are in immediate danger of losing their livelihoods due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said on Wednesday.
The U.N. agency’s latest report sharply raised its forecast for the devastating impact on jobs and incomes of the COVID-19 disease, which has infected more than 3.1 million people globally, killed nearly 220,000 and shut down economies.
“It shows I think in the starkest possible terms that the jobs employment crisis and all of its consequences is deepening by comparison with our estimates of 3 weeks ago,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder told a briefing, foreseeing a “massive” poverty impact.
Already, wages of the world’s 2 billion informal workers plunged by an estimated global average of 60% in the first month that the crisis unfolded in each region, the ILO said.
Informal workers are the most vulnerable of the 3.3 billion global workforce, lacking welfare protection, access to good healthcare, or the means to work from home, it stressed.
“For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security and no future. Millions of businesses around the world are barely breathing,” said Ryder. “They have no savings or access to credit. These are the real faces of the world of work. If we don’t help them now, they will simply perish.” (source)
Throughout history, the mass migration of peoples are often precipitated on two things. One is violence. The other is no jobs.
It does not matter that Europe is also suffering. As it is often said, perception matters more than reality.
Africa and the Middle East are comparatively closer to Europe. Europe is perceived as a place with a lot of jobs.
Expect this virus outbreak, a “gift that keeps on giving”, to be another factor to precipitate a major migrant crisis. This is going to be larger than that of 2016, and will drive nationalism towards militarism and remilitarization.
A more dangerous and potentially destructive powder keg could not exist. This is way worse than just simple unemployment. This is about setting up conditions for a war, of which the mass unemployment of the world will play a role in causing it to happen.