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The University of the West Indies and the International Institute of Labour Studies will host the 7th annual International Labour Organization (ILO) Nobel Peace Prize Social Policy Lectures at the Mona School of Business Executive Lecture Theatre from Monday, December 5 to Wednesday, December 7. The theme of the lectures will be ‘The New Offshoring of Jobs and Global Development’.

The 2005 Social Policy Lectures will be delivered by Professor Gary Gereffi, Professor in the Department of Sociology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, USA and Director of the Centre of Globalization, Governance and Competitiveness at Duke University. According to Professor Gereffi, global outsourcing has triggered a debate about the benefits and costs of globalization for developing as well as developed countries. Some claim that offshore production in both the manufacturing and service sectors have been extremely beneficial because it promotes economic efficiency and it spreads the gains of globalization to poor, less developed, export-oriented countries. However others argue that global outsourcing has led to a ‘race to the bottom’ as developing economies struggle with one another to offer transnational companies the lowest operating costs, and the wages and benefits for workers in industrialized economies are under constant downward pressure because of the realities of global competition. His lectures will address these arguments with new research on the most powerful countries and firms in the global economy.

There will be three major lectures in the series. The initial lecture “The New Offshoring of Jobs and Global Development: An Overview of the Contemporary Global Labour Market” will provide an overview of the contemporary global labour market and highlight the great global job shift that affects production, service and knowledge workers alike. The second lecture “Global Consolidation: China, India and the Apparel Industry” will examine the trend toward increasing consolidation in the global economy from the vantage point of both countries and industries. The third and final lecture will examine the interplay between public and private governance in the global economy with a particular emphasis on corporate codes of conduct that are intended to improve labour conditions and workers rights. That lecture is entitled “Public and Private Governance: Are We at a Turning Point?”

The lecture series ends on Wednesday, December 7 with a Roundtable Tripartite Discussion which will be moderated by Dr Gerry Rodgers of the ILO.

The ILO Social Policy Lectures are held every second year in a major university of the world. Previous lectures have been held in Belgium, Chile, Malaya, Cape Town, South Africa, Budapest in Hungary and Tokyo, Japan. The aim of the lectures is to stimulate the interest of graduate and post-graduate students in international social policy; to promote academic work in areas of concern to the ILO in major universities and to encourage greater dialogue between the academic community on the one hand and policy-makers, business and labour on the other.

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