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Flexible labour markets, workers' protection and the "security of the wings": a Danish flexicurity solution to the unemployment and social problems in globalized economies

Publication cover
Corporate author:
  • Dinamarca. Gobierno
  • NU. CEPAL. División de Desarrollo Económico
UN symbol.: LC/L.2993-P ISBN: 9789211216899 80 p. : gráfs., tabls. Editorial: CEPAL January 2009


During these years of growing global uncertainties, financial and economic pressures, nations and international institutions are searching for political, social and professional answers to the new challenges. The Washington consensus has discredited itself in more respects. Denmark seems to have found effective answers to adaptation needs with it flexicurity system: a labour market arrangement that builds on high mobility, high income security, employment security, and active market and educational policies. Security and flexibility is combined in innovative ways, giving wage earners transferable qualifications and social security while at the same time improving the dynamics of the labour market and the economy as a whole. There is no master plan behind the Danish system but politicians have realized that giving the social partners pivotal positions in decision making and in implementation structures help realizing the political aims of full employment, welfare and equality. This “high road” to competitiveness, social cohesion and lifelong learning has been made a role model for Europe in 2007 by the help of decisions by the European Union. And the question is posed to Latin America: why not learn something from this flexicurity arrangement? The potentialities for learning are stressed in this report but it is argued that flexicurity must be promoted not as a question of imitation but one of inspiration in a Latin American context. Three policy principles of flexicurity are considered: policy design, social dialogues, and outcomes of such a system, the orchestration of which is to be a national matter.

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