OECD paper ahead of Ministerial meeting calls for more inclusive, rules-based globalisation


01/06/2017 - Urgent action is needed to address the backlash against globalisation. Fundamental and long-overdue policy changes are required to share more broadly the benefits of increasingly open and digitalised economies and empower all citizens to succeed. This is the message of  the Key Issues Paper released today ahead of the OECD’s Ministerial Council Meeting to be held in Paris, from 7-8 June 2017.  


The paper - which will inform discussions by ministers - outlines how the processes of globalisation and technological change have helped lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and brought transformative advances to our societies. However, it also acknowledges their shortcomings, which explain the current discontent: sizeable segments of societies are worse off, many feel left behind, and a majority perceive the system as rigged in favour of the powerful. In some OECD countries real median incomes have failed to grow for 20 years or more. The richest 10% of the population now earn almost 10 times more than the poorest 10%, up from 7 times in 1980. And wealth is even more concentrated: the top 1% richest households in OECD countries own about 18% of total household wealth, while the bottom 60% own only 13%.


The paper argues that globalisation is not responsible for all these problems, but identifies specific mechanisms by which it may have contributed to them, fueling economic and social discontent in many of our countries: from the stagnation and even deterioration of living standards, the fall in labour’s share of national income, and a loss of progressivity in tax systems to local blight and regional inequality, dominance of leading firms in some sectors, and accelerated financialisation of our economies. 


Warning of the risk a damaging retreat from economic openness if policies do not change, the OECD paper draws on the work carried out in recent years by the Organisation to advance inclusive and sustainable growth, make people’s well-being a priority and refine metrics and models to go beyond aggregates and consider distributional impacts.


It recommends:


  • Replacing “growth first, distribute later” thinking with a policy framework that puts growth and inclusiveness side by side; increasing efforts to bolster citizens‘ ability to cope with change and succeed in a globalised and digital world, with adapted and improved social protection systems. 


  • Moving  toward an “empowering State”, with creative solutions to ensure access to quality healthcare and education, more active labour market and skills policies, progressive tax systems and strategies for small and medium-sized enterprises, and strengthened technology diffusion and the integration of migrants.


  • Addressing “geographies of discontent” by focusing regional development policies beyond mere redistributive action and tapping on reinforcing advantages.


  • At the international level, moving to “catch up” the governance of globalisation with the effects of globalised economic activity. The paper makes a pledge for multilateral collaboration to advance a more transparent and inclusive rules-based globalisation that benefits all. In this regard, it advocates robust and enforceable international standards that level the playing field, set rules of the game and advance best practices in different policy fields; it also calls for better governance and international collaboration mechanisms.


The OECD Ministerial  takes place back-to-back with the OECD Forum (6-7 June); this year entitled “Bridging Divides.”


For further information, please contact the OECD Media Office (; tel: + 33 1 4524 9700)


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