Establishing and sustaining a sophisticated social protection regime is an important and necessary part of the process of globalization. This proposition has gained widespread appreciation as a result of the social instability generated by the financial crises that have afflicted Mexico, Southeast Asia, Russia and Argentina since 1995. As a consequence of these crises, together with the failure of big bang reforms in Central and Eastern Europe, even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concedes that globalization strategies of nations need to include social protection measures that can insure populations against the volatility that characterizes global markets (IMF 2001). The term ‘social protection’ here refers to ‘policies and programs designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability by promoting efficient labour markets, diminishing people’s exposure to risks, and enhancing their capacity to protect themselves against hazards and interruption/loss of income’ (ADB 2002a).