Kathleen Marquardt: The Third E of Sustainable Development

The Third E of Sustainable Development – “It exposes the inception of this so-called economic order designed to transfer the wealth…”

by Kathleen Marquardt

On May 1, 1974, the United Nations adopted a resolution “. . . to study for the first time the problems of raw materials and development, devoted to the consideration of the most important economic problems facing the world community.

In June of 1976, The Vancouver Declaration on Human Settlements, the genesis of Agenda 21, was announced to the world and bring the 3Es to the fore. Rather than taking bureaucratic worded quotes from the UN document, I am going to let a far more learned person give you a taste of what the resolution proposed to do (and the UN is busy at work carrying through with it – to the extent that the UN carries anything through).

Harry G. Johnson, Professor of Economics at The University of Chicago, Professor of Economics at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva; educated at Toronto, Cambridge, and Harvard; and Professor of Economics at The London School of Economics among many other prestige positions gave the Woodward Court Lecture at The University of Chicago on October 5, 1975, on the UN’s New International Economic Order.

Below are excerpts. I hope It will tempt you to read the entire speech, it is only 18 pages.

The New International Economic Order

The new international economic order, considered as a set of proposals for changing the present international economic order, can be evaluated most succinctly by remarking that it is not new; it is not international: it is not economic; and it is not an order. Let me develop these points in turn. Actually, the ideas and proposals are by no means new; they have been around a long time.

In broad essentials, they were the focus of the 1964 Geneva Conference on World Trade and Development, and specifically the background document for that meeting, Towards a New Trade Policy for Development, prepared by the Secretary-General of the Conference, Dr. Raùl Prebisch. Individually, the ideas had been around for much longer.

On the one hand, the idea that international trade is a zero-sum game by which the rich benefit at the expense of the poor goes back to the Marxist view of imperialism, and before that to the mercantilist idea that foreign trade is a means of transferring wealth from one’s customers to oneself and the main thrust of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and of classical economics was to refute mercantilism. p. 1,2.

The fourth demand evolved into the so-called “link proposal” for coupling the creation of new international reserves or liquidity with distribution of a substantial part of the new money as aid to the less-developed countries. Such is the attraction of the idea that the creation of money involves bringing into existence something for nothing that this scheme has both excited a great deal of expert discussion, and become a general operating principle of International Monetary Fund thinking about world monetary reform.

Nevertheless, the benefits to the developing countries are likely to be small, since the subsequent emergence of world inflation is a symptom of the fact that the world has too much international liquidity, not too little.

The idea of international agreements to stabilize and raise the prices of commodity exports of developing countries-crystallized at the First United Nations Conference on Trade and Development into the concept of “an integrated core of the current demands for a new international economic order. However, nothing much came of it in the decade or so after the first conference.  p. 4.

The demand for a new international economic order is therefore not new; nor are the proposals themselves new; what is new, if anything, is the idea of trying to make a system or order out of a collection of monopolistic and discriminating policies, and the arguments for doing so. For this reason, the new international economic order is not “international” either.

It is not a system of arrangements among nations, each of which participates by virtue of its being a nation. Instead, it proposes, politically, a system of confrontation between two groups of nations, a numerical minority of successfully developed nations and a preponderant majority of developing or less-developed nations, on the basis of a majority vote.

Moreover, the developing country group is based on no clear-cut criteria, there being blatant discrimination against certain poor countries which are excluded-most notably Israel. In this proposed system, the minority is expected to yield to the majority partly on the basis of acceptance of a false parallel with the idea of democracy, partly on the basis of presumed guilt, past and present, for the underdeveloped state of the underdeveloped.

Third, the proposed new international economic order is not economic, at least if economic means more than the truism that any international arrangement has economic effects. Economics as defined by the vast majority of its practitioners is concerned with the rationale and effects of trade through markets including by extension the rationale and effects of the replacement of competitive markets by central planning, which in this context entails replacing multifarious private decision takers by a centralized social decision-taking process, but does not alter the principle of using rational allocation procedures to maximize the extent to which planning objectives can be fulfilled. p. 5,6.

On the other side, the proposed system relies on the ability to create and enlist feelings of guilt sufficiently strong to support regular payments of blackmail, made in the form of artificially high commodity prices. Economists have, it is true, been working on the economics of crime, bribery, and (so far as I know) hush money and blackmail as well; but no one has yet suggested that these phenomena have ever been, of a viable economic system.

Fourth, the system that would result, namely one of developed-country toleration and support for developing-country use of every possibility of monopolistic exploitation they could devise, would not be an order, but an experiment in the rule of the jungle-a rule modified by the hope that the largest and most savage carnivores will be so ashamed of their present existence by virtue of the killing and eating successes of their ancestors that they will offer themselves up as willing sacrifices to the hunger of the smaller fry. No amount of repetition of the rhetoric of “an integrated commodity policy” can convert the rule of the jungle into a rule of law. p. 7,8

There is more, much more meat in this paper. Please take the time to read it. It exposes the inception of this so-called economic order designed to transfer the wealth, mostly of American wealth, to the UN and its NGOs through “aid” programs.

The UN resolution is below:
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly: 3201 (S-VI). Declaration on the Establishment of a New International Economic Order

Read Kathleen Marquardt’s Biography

 

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