Over many centuries, human societies across the globe have established progressively closer contacts.
Recently, the pace of global integration has dramatically increased.
Unprecedented changes in communications, transportation, and computer technology have given the process new impetus and made the world more interdependent than ever.
All giving rise to the question:
Why is our world in such a mess and our World Organisations so helpless to do anything about it.
The Answer is simple and can be summed up in one Paragraph.
Self Interest, no long-term planning, greed, unsustainable consumption, religion beliefs, drugs, guns, inequality and our out of date reactionary World Organisations which are not funded and have zero power to do anything about it.
At the turn of the Millennium, the atmosphere of optimism at the end of the Cold War and the confidence that globalization would “lift all boats” led to the belief that extreme deprivation could be overcome without any major change in global economic governance.
Now, after two decades of increasing inequalities and having reached or surpassed many of the planetary boundaries identified by science, it is extremely difficult to argue that the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) can be achieved without affecting some privileges of the rich and powerful.
This won’t happen without social and political struggle.
The good news is that the emerging global consensus is not any more on the side of plutocracies.
The Globalization of Politics, of Culture and of Law sweeps away regulation and undermines local and national politics, just as the consolidation of the nation-state swept away local economies, dialects, cultures and political forms.
Globalization may well create new markets and wealth, but it is a source of repression and a catalyst for global movements of social justice and emancipation.
Even as it causes widespread suffering, disorder, and unrest and now threatens the very atmosphere that we all rely on we carry on regardless of its consequences.
It is beyond comprehension, that we all sit in front of our TV, walk about with our Smart phones and worry about personnel satisfaction when the very world we live in is going to rack and ruin.
In the global partnership for development the focus has shifted towards private sector involvement while minimizing the goals for fair trade, debt relief and neglecting the regulation and control of capital movement.
Multinational corporations manufacture products in many countries and sell to consumers around the world. Money, technology and raw materials move ever more swiftly across national borders. Along with products and finances, ideas and cultures circulate more freely.
As a result, laws, economies, and social movements are forming at the international level are woven together in a complex manner, making it difficult to summarize positive or negative effects.
For example, giving the business sector the key role, being a contributor to job-generating growth. This comes before the adoption of “business-binding human rights standards.
However, it also reflects a new concept for “international partnership for development,” which has been based on the following:
(1) promoting fair trade to help developing nations improve their economic performance and revenues; (2) reconsidering foreign debts, which are consuming large public budget revenues; (3) increasing development aid in quantity and quality (the aid effectiveness track was launched in 2003); (4) speeding up technology transfer to help developing nations overcome the challenges of improving development tools; and (5) addressing the issue of medicines for dangerous illnesses, which is part of commitments by rich nations towards developing ones.
However there is little point to the above if there is no funds to effect the reforms. Why adopt goals at all?
Any systematic effort to answer this seemingly elementary conceptual question has been disturbingly absent in all our World Organisations.
UN reform is endlessly discussed, but there is sharp disagreement on what kind of reform is needed and for what purpose.
UN ‘fit for purpose’, but it is important to ask, ‘whose purpose will it be fit for’?
Funding of all UN system-wide activities is around US$40 billion per year.
While this may seem to be a substantial sum, in reality it is smaller than the budget of New York City, less than a quarter of the budget of the European Union, and only 2.3 per cent of the world’s military expenditures.
We needs to move from ‘Billions’ to ‘Trillions.
Member States have failed to provide reliable funding to the UN system at a level sufficient to enable it to fulfill the mandates they have given it.
With the ongoing financial constraints, it has opened the space for corporate sector engagement.
Increasingly the UN is promoting market-based approaches and multi-stakeholder partnerships as the business model for solving global problems.
Driven by a belief that engaging the more economically powerful is essential to maintaining the relevance of the UN. This practice has harmful consequences for democratic governance and general public support, as it aligns more with power centers and away from the less powerful.
Donors’ priorities are limited to humanitarian intervention to help refugees and victims of wars and conflicts and to dealing with security concerns in countries torn by wars and conflicts.
The UN working methods reflect a bygone era.
The question of how a fair sharing of costs, responsibilities and opportunities among and within countries can be achieved in formulating and implementing a Post-2015 Sustainability Agenda is overlooked.
The goal to reduce inequality within and among countries, the goal to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, and the goal to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for development are all unattainable without funding.
The Post-2015 Agenda will only succeed if these goals include specific and time-bound targets and commitments for the rich that trigger the necessary regulatory and fiscal policy changes.
This will never happen.
The five permanent members of the Security Council (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States) enjoy the privilege of veto power. This power has been intensely controversial since the drafting of the UN Charter in 1945.
Without the veto privilege. Fifty years later, the debate on the existence and use of the veto continues, reinvigorated by many cases of veto-threat as well as actual veto use.
The UN cannot perform effectively as long as its budget remains tightly constrained.
For all the talk about auditors and oversight bodies, the UN mainly needs cash. Financial reforms must consider new ways to raise funds, including “alternative financing” such as a global system of revenue-raising must be put in place to fund genuinely international initiatives.
There is only one way to achieve this.
By placing a world Aid Commission of 0.05% on all High Frequency Trading, on all Foreign Exchange Transactions over $20,000, on all Sovereign Wealth Funds acquisitions and on all New Drilling licences Gas/Oil.
The foreign exchange market is the largest market in the world, with an estimated $4 trillion of foreign exchange traded per day (2011).
This means that in less than one year, currency worth 25 times the global GDP is traded.
Of this massive amount, international trade in goods and services, which requires foreign exchange, accounts for only a small percentage ($9 trillion per year) of the total trading.
A commission rate ranging from 0.005 to 0.25 percent would generate between $15 and $300 billion per year, of which a substantial amount could be allocated to promote international peace and development.
Add High Frequency Trading and SWFs not forgetting Oil and Gas Drilling and you have a perpetual funded UN.
Apart from the potential to tackle inequalities and injustices worldwide, it would trigger decisive action to protect the integrity of our planet, to combat climate change, and put an end to the overuse of resources and ecosystems by acknowledging planetary boundaries and promoting the respect for nature.
This is the only real solution.
Meanwhile exchange rate speculation accounts for at least 80 percent of the global currency market. These speculative movements, which can take place rapidly and unpredictably, threaten to empty central banks’ currency reserves and trigger financial crises such as those in Mexico (1994), East Asia (1997-98), Russia (1998), Brazil (1999), Turkey (2000) and Argentina (2001).
These crises have had far-reaching socio-economic consequences, throwing millions of people into poverty and unemployment.
Unfortunately, social achievements in reality are often fragile particularly for the socially excluded and can easily be rolled back as a result of conflict (as in the case of Ukraine/Syria/ Middle East), of capitalism in crisis (in many countries after 2008) or as a result of wrong-headed, economically foolish and socially destructive policies, as in the case of austerity policies in many regions, from Latin America to Asia to Southern Europe.
In the name of debt reduction and improved competitiveness, these policies brought about large-scale unemployment and widespread impoverishment, often coupled with the loss of basic income support or access to basic primary health care.
More often than not, this perversely increased sovereign debt instead of decreasing it.
In the United States poverty increased steadily in the last two decades and currently affects some 50 million people, measured by the official threshold of US$23,850 a year for a family of four. In Germany, 20.3 percent of the population – a total of 16.2 million people – were affected by poverty or social exclusion in 2013. In the European Union as a whole, the proportion of poor or socially excluded people was 24.5 percent.
Last, but not least, rich countries tend to be more powerful in terms of their influence on international and global policy making and standard setting. Actions by international institutions like the IMF or World Bank are shaped by their governing bodies, whose composition is directly linked to the affluence of member countries.
Similar patterns exist in donor-recipient relationships or in the dynamics of international and/or inter-state negotiations.
The results can be very tangible, as in the case of the creditor-debtor-relationship between Greece and EU and IMF, or rather subtle as sometimes in the voting behavior of smaller actors in the UN Security Council.
If we are to have a global transformation, it would require not only the mobilization of the international community but also a fair sharing of costs, responsibilities and opportunities among and within the countries of the World. Include fair trade and investment regimes and migration policies, and international financial system reforms; more specifically they include the revision of bilateral and international investment agreements, the creation of a global regulatory framework for transnational corporations, greater flexibility in intellectual property rights protection for developing countries, genuine efforts to combat tax evasion and profit shifting, the creation of a debt workout mechanism for highly indebted countries as well as the reform of existing global economic governance institutions.
Not secret Trade Agreements like the TTP and the TTIP
All countries have responsibilities in this regard, but the rich have a greater responsibility given their capacity, resources and influence in international institutions and economic governance.
A UN study has estimated that about $150 billion per year is needed to meet the Millennium Development Goals, including halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, ensuring primary schooling for all children, and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases.
The richest 85 people in the world own more wealth than the bottom half of the entire global population.
Yes, that equation works out to: 85 > 3,000,000,000.
By the end of 2016 the wealthiest 1% to own more than 50% of the world’s wealth
People everywhere want to be free to determine their own future so we must take the profit out of war and profit for profit sake.
The Conclusion can only be:
That unless we the citizens of the Planet demand change nothing or any reform will be possible. We must make profit for profit sake provide the Funds. Take the current Climate Change Conference in Paris. With no funds any agreements to tackle the problem will be worthless.
If you agree: Join me. Get off your rear end and get involved. ( see previous posts.)