'AN INDEPENDENT VIEW OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND WORLD AFFAIRS - PUBLISHED MORE THAN A YEAR BEFORE 11 SEP 2001'
World Events of Significance
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TVOTW NOTE -
is particularly relevant as the world observes the illegal, violent
And iniquitous criminal conduct of Bush and Blair with their deceptive
rationale and highly fraudulent and misleading intentions and misrepresented
purpose for the attack against Iraq - The most unprecedented in modern
Center for Economic Development
1 August 2000
There are many "think tanks" in the affluent industrialized nations and around the world, and most claim to be "independent" and dedicated to understanding the complexities of international affairs. Their achievements often fall far short of their claims.
We are different. We are a non-profit international research organization devoted to studying the complete spectrum of human social behavior -- economic activity, political, cultural, and social expression, religious practices and beliefs, international relations, conflict, and warfare. We examine history not just to have a record of what happened in the past, but to understand how history has come to influence the world of today. We are not afraid to speculate about the future, and it is our wish to be prepared for the new world which is now forming.
Our foremost goal is to develop a comprehensive, probing, and practical science of humanity, and to employ this knowledge in helping the billions of people on our planet connect themselves to the emerging global economy and raise their incomes. We strongly believe that education is the tool with which people can raise their standard of living and improve the quality of their lives. We study the conditions which foster economic development.
We know the world is changing dramatically, and we undertake our work recognizing the following eight premises:
1.) The world order which formed following World War II is disintegrating.
2.) The cold war, which created a bipolar world in international politics and featured competition between capitalism and communism/socialism, collapsed with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Communism and socialism have been exposed as destructive expressions of human social behavior and a powerful brake on economic and political development.
3.) New political, economic, and military alliances are forming in the world.
4.) Asia is undergoing extremely rapid economic and political development.
5.) Latin America is undergoing rapid economic and political development.
6.) Europe is uniting. European leaders are building the European Union and a common currency. This mega-state will expand to the east and include all nations of Europe, even Russia.
7.) The colonial nation-states and neocolonial structures in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, which were established and organized nearly a century ago, are collapsing. The great Arab nation is now striving to overcome these artificial and destructive divisions, and Arabs and Muslims are resolving to unite and ultimately create their own mega-state and common currency. Only when they are united will they successfully defend their interests and abundant natural wealth. [Added Oct. 10, 2000: The disintegration of these structures in the Middle East and Southwest Asia is still less advanced than in Africa, but this disintegration is gaining momentum, and the eruption of violent conflict between largely unarmed Palestinian Arabs and heavily armed Israeli Jews is now serving as the primary means by which the impoverished people of this oil-rich region can stimulate this natural process.]
8.) The colonial nation-states and neocolonial structures in Africa, which were established and organized nearly a century ago, are collapsing. Africans and their leaders are now striving to overcome these artificial and destructive divisions. As war and civil conflict spread throughout the continent, Africans are resolving to unite and create their own mega-state and common currency. Only when they are united will they successfully defend their interests and the continent's abundant natural wealth. The disintegration of these structures on the African continent is more advanced than in the Middle East, and wars are serving as the primary means by which Africans can stimulate this natural process.
Around the world, and in the heavily populated cities of Europe, Asia, and Africa, people recognize that this new world is emerging. As they grow more aware of the presence of this new world, they are also discovering its strength and potential, for it will be a world full of opportunity and promise. It will be a world of unprecedented economic and political development.
The nature of the human condition will not change, but the billions of people in the world who have been prevented from benefiting from the powers of knowledge, science, and technology -- some five billion people -- will now acquire the tools and confidence to express their humanity. This stunning human development will not come without its costs, and other species on the planet Earth, who appear ill-equipped to defend themselves against the highly intelligent and aggressive human being, may face annihilation.
This obstacle is daunting, but there is another obstacle threatening this emerging world, and it is perhaps even more disturbing.
The United States, which has dominated the world's economy and its political and military institutions since World War II, appears unable to acknowledge and accept the emergence of this new world. America's hegemony in the western hemisphere, in Europe and Asia, while the natural outcome of the great destruction and loss of life in World War II, will in the coming years, as it confronts the aspirations and material desires of billions of impoverished people throughout the world, diminish in strength and face frightening challenges.
As this upheaval in international affairs approaches, and as Americans are compelled by events to come to terms with their fate, the billions of poor people in our world will find themselves facing an unfortunate and no doubt ugly dilemma. Their yearning for a dignified life, for higher incomes and an improving quality of life, will not disappear as their own world descends gradually into chaos, war, and anarchy.
This violent upheaval will merely serve to intensify their desires and give life to greater anger and frustration. They will to their dismay discover that their formal entry into the booming world economy might very well be aborted by the behavior of the great powers.
The struggle for power and wealth will have a predictable outcome. It will be distressing and violent, to be sure, but it will also inspire a greater tragedy. What may be unavoidable is a crisis of profound symbolism, an extraordinary event which stuns and shocks the world. The United States may be tempted to destroy this new world, a world which is slowly emerging from the confusion and destruction of colonialism and communism. That the United States for decades nurtured and cultivated this emerging world is irrelevant. [TVOTW Insert - Like to go to the top to read the whole article?]
The good will and idealism which Americans promoted to great effect since the cataclysm of World War II will be abandoned, as well as the international institutions which gave the masses of oppressed hope and security. With the United Nations, Americans resolved to transform their energy and idealism into a permanent international institution, a venerable and august organization of the world's governments. Its primary aim would be to reach beyond the practices of the past -- war, plunder, and genocide.
It may have been recognized decades ago that this ideal was an impossible one, and that the world could not be changed. The truth, which was probably accepted around the world, would in the years following World War II be rejected in Washington. Empire-builders rarely suffer from self-doubt and skepticism.
The insincerity and self-interest which five decades ago created the United Nations may also cause its destruction. Our new world is under siege, and while communism may have provided a potent rationale for many decades of conflict, now the rationale for conflict is rather more ordinary and uninspiring -- loss of hegemony*.
What is ironic is also a sad commentary on the current state of American political and economic life. The United States was born in revolution, in violent political and economic revolution. Having been subjected to a colonial rule by a monarchy whose whims changed with the demands of empire, Americans sought freedom and self-determination rather than servitude and humiliation. Once independent, America prospered, for two great oceans gave it shelter and removed it from the turbulent world.
In large measure, America enjoyed rapid economic and political development because it remained for two centuries unmolested by aggressive and violent great powers.
This extraordinary experience, which is unprecedented in history, might be expected to fill Americans with a deep sympathy for the poor and oppressed of the world. The truth, and it is a surprising one, is rather the opposite. Instead of embracing at the dawn of the new century the five billion poor human beings of our world -- and working carefully and deliberately to build strong relations with these suffering masses -- Americans appear to have chosen the model of the past. They have embraced colonialism and imperialism.
This might have been the natural course for many in history, but it is grossly inappropriate for the United States. These teeming masses, who cannot find hope, wish only to connect profitably to the booming world economy.
They wish only to remain reasonably unmolested by neighboring powers as well as by the voracious, merciless, and destructive great powers. They wish only to make this connection both stable and permanent, and on terms which are just and fair. They wish only to avoid violent confrontations, and decisions that lead to costly and destructive institutions and engagements. They wish only to achieve self-determination, and in so doing, raise their incomes.
These goals have so far been unattainable. The poor have failed largely because of their failure to defend their homes, their natural wealth, and their unity. They have been molested by foreign powers, and they have lost their dignity and independence. They have been divided and exploited.
Economic depression is the logical culmination of decades of dependence, humiliation, and violence. It cannot be a coincidence that Africa and the Middle East, both of which are by far the richest places on the planet in natural resources, also suffer from two rather glaring symptoms of economic depression -- capital flight which is incessant and foreign direct investment which is negligible. Their poverty and weakness ensure that their natural wealth is rapidly extracted, and on terms that excite the colonial power and humiliate the colonized.
Around the world, in the developed world as well as in the developing world, there is a reluctance, even a great reluctance, to examine and study our new world and to search for practical options and solutions. Dramatic and profound events are under way, yet there is no effort to understand and analyze the new world now forming. It is seen as threatening, and this is no doubt our most daunting obstacle.
In the corridors of power in Washington, Paris, London and elsewhere -- as well as in the newsrooms of many of the world's largest media corporations -- we can witness an audacious but clearly desperate attempt to make the world conform to an image, a false and pleasing image that was long ago rejected by the world's people.
Immense power and wealth is rarely shared, and challenges are invariably given a hostile and even violent reception. This is certainly the main cause of war.
Our task is a formidable one, and one which is spurned by the very people whose avowed job is to educate the world. Instead, they refuse to confront and shatter the saboteurs of economic development -- ignorance and bigotry.
This may appear puzzling, but in fact it is not: examining the natural world and educating the billions of people of our new world is dangerous and fraught with risk. Education creates understanding and critical thinking, as well as pressure to rectify problems and bring efficiency and rationality to the world. This is unwanted by the powerful and wealthy.
Our response is analytical, simple, and unemotional. We recognize the urgent need to create a forum where the new world can be discussed, debated, and studied, though we also recognize that this analysis must be undertaken in a spirit of generosity and with unrivaled integrity.
This must be an international forum of government officials and ministers, of journalists and scholars, of corporations and businesses, where the powerful cannot dictate the terms of the debate, and where the poor and oppressed can express their views in their own voice and present their problems from their own perspective. Problems must be defined, and explored. Resolutions may be impossible, and we also accept the possibility that constructive debate and analysis may exacerbate tensions, and create yet more conflict.
Yet, this seems to be the perverse function of knowledge: anger grows and intensifies as the poor begin to appreciate the real nature of their problems. They then fight to correct them...
TVOTW - ICOPO
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