Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015
Making development sustainable: The future of disaster risk management


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Part III - Chapter 9
continue to depress real wages in many sectors while governments likewise cut spending on social welfare and safety nets (ILO, 2013

ILO (International Labour Office). 2013,Global Wage Report 2012/13: Wages and equitable growth, Geneva: International Labour Office.. .
; UNISDR, 2013a

UNISDR. 2013a,Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: From Shared Risk to Shared Value: the Business Case for Disaster Risk Reduction, Geneva, Switzerland: UNISDR.. .
). As a result, wages for large parts of the population have not kept up with economic growth, the benefits of capital accumulation have not trickled down, and working conditions have become more precarious for larger numbers of people. For example, labour productivity increased more than twice as much as wages in developed countries between 1999 and 2011 (ILO, 2013

ILO (International Labour Office). 2013,Global Wage Report 2012/13: Wages and equitable growth, Geneva: International Labour Office.. .
). At the same time, competitive new sectors in the world economy in areas like biotechnology and nanotechnology seem unlikely to generate significant future demand for unskilled or low-skilled labour (Castells et al., 2012

Castells, M., J. Cara├ža and G. Cardoso. 2012,Aftermath, The Cultures of the Economic Crisis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.. .
).
In the United States, labour productivity grew by 75 per cent in the non-farm sector between 1980 and 2011, while wages increased by only 35 per cent. In China, where wage levels have tripled over the past decade, GDP increased at an even faster rate, resulting in the labour share going
down (ILO, 2013

ILO (International Labour Office). 2013,Global Wage Report 2012/13: Wages and equitable growth, Geneva: International Labour Office.. .
). There has been a long-term trend towards corporate profits rising while wages fall. Income gaps between the top 10 per cent of earners and the bottom 10 per cent have widened (ibid.). However, what may be most important is that global median wealth (as a proxy for the wealth of the middle class) has decreased steadily since 2010 (Figure 9.10), highlighting that the economic recovery after the financial crisis of 2008 has, to date, been short-lived.
This global trend may persist, with a steady increase in inequality over decades to come (OECD, 2011; Piketty, 2014

Piketty, Thomas. 2014,Capital in the Twenty-First Century, First Edition edition. Belknap Press.. .
). This increase will continue as global economic output (and therefore income levels) is projected to continue to grow at a lower rate than return on capital (Figure 9.11). In other words, those who are dependent on income from labour for their well-being will struggle even more to create even a small asset base.
Should inequality continue to increase in this manner, even a growing middle class of
Figure 9.9 Global distribution of wealth
(Source: UNISDR with data from www.worldmapper.org.)
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