Half the World’s Labor Force of 3.3 Billion Is Facing Imminent Unemployment and Hunger
May 2, 2020 (EIRNS)—About 1.6 billion people, nearly half of the world’s total labor force of 3.3 billion people, “are at immediate risk of losing their livelihood because of the coronavirus,” according to a statement issued on April 29 by the International Labor Organization (ILO). The vast majority of those 1.6 billion souls are part of the so-called “informal economy,” the deregulated netherworld of street salesmen, service workers, and—in the worst cases—virtual slaves of Dope, Inc.’s drug trade and prostitution/pornography black economy, run by the British Empire, who are being thrown on the human scrapheap as the economies of the so-called Third World are forced to shut down in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Such “informal” workers may have received monetary income of some sort, but from the standpoint of Lyndon LaRouche’s science of physical economy, they in fact produce zero net physical economic value—due to the demented casino economy which has evolved over the last 50 years, under City of London and Wall Street direction. Now they are not receiving monetary income, either.
Just one example: In Peru, hundreds of thousands of urban dwellers who over the years had migrated to the cities, especially Lima, in search of jobs, are now desperately trying to return to their villages in the countryside in order to survive. In Lima they now have no jobs, and increasingly no housing, and no food. Most of them have no choice but to flee on foot, and they are lining the country’s highways for hundreds of kilometers. This kind of mass reverse migration is underway not just in Peru, but across most of the Third World, from India to numerous African nations, and it will only end up further spreading the coronavirus across the planet—just as occurred during the 14th century Black Death in Europe.
Of the estimated total world labor force of 3.3 billion people, the ILO estimates that about 2 billion of them, or 61% of the total, are working in the informal economy. The vast majority of such informal workers (93%) are to be found in the Third World. In the first month after the pandemic hit their countries, they had seen an average 60% drop in their income. Now, 1.6 billion of those 2 billion informal workers—almost 80% of all informal workers—have lost their jobs, or are about to.
The regional breakdown provided by the ILO, of percentage of total employment coming from informal activities, is also revealing: Africa: 86%; Arab countries: 69%; Asia and the Pacific: 68%; Americas: 40% (this includes the U.S. and Canada, so Ibero-America is probably like Asia); Europe and Central Asia: 25%.
Consider, for a moment, what this means. In Africa, some 86% of all employment is in the informal sector, of whom about 80% have lost or are about to lose their jobs—a stunning 69% of the entire African labor force. And this in a continent where before the pandemic there was already 41% extreme poverty, with 55% of the population lacking access to electricity, and 55% of the urban population living in slums.
As ILO Director-General Guy Ryder succinctly told a briefing: “If we don’t help them now, they will simply perish.”