Economic and Financial practices with regard to unequal development



In order to avoid the most misunderstanding and confusion possible, it would be in order to point out to the reader that the composition of the following text is based upon certain postulates. This will enable readers to better adjust their comments, critiques or suggestions either in regards to the definitions and approaches used or concerning the chosen line of thought and resultant conclusions.

Which economic approach?

A multitude of viewpoints reigns over the definition of Economics (according to economists their science would be "broken up"), but we do not intend to tackle this problem in the present text; in fact, the main goal of this text is to start the debate in the field of dominant economic and financial practices in attemps to come to an agreement within the INES network on a minimum plan of action on these grounds. However, for purposes of clarity, we must atleast introduce the conception of this scientific field to which we shall refer throughout the text.
The exploration of the characteristics and beginnings of unequal development demands taking a historical step back. Discussing measures to be taken in order that inequality in development does not end in stopping all attempts to acheive "Sustainable development" naturally leads to examining the political conditions that make such a achievement possible. Both these demands lead to the retention of a very large conception of the economic field, which encompasses on the one hand the history of human activities consacrated to the production and sharing of goods and services required to satisfy the needs of society and its members, and on the other, the political organisation of these activities with regards to the current needs of living human societies.
Such a definition allows us both to know where we stand in relation to all modes of production, exchange and consumption that human societies have carried out, including even before exchange and currency came into being, and to take up the problems of organisation and social control that come about thanks to "economic policy". This definition equally allows us to throw off the shackles of purely monetarist approaches by clearly showing that monetarised economy is but one economic system amongst others, and by placing the accent of the specific ends of economic activity on individual and collective needs of human beings, and not on statistical indicators or technical instruments like the steadiness or not of payment balances, currency values and the shift of market prices.

What is unequal development from an economic standpoint and why is it a threat to international security?

We shall define unequal development as a process that generates increasing disparity between social groups in regards to their possibilities of accessing developmental means (involvement in the organisation of social work and access to working means adapted to their qualifications) and in regards to their possibilities of accessing goods and services that are necessary for satisfying their needs (training and education at the existing technical and cultural level, maintenance of their capabilities to get involved in the various forms of activity in their society and the possibility to contribute to the reproduction of that society and its survival).
In reality, disparity between social classes and between peoples is very ancient. One need only look back to the time when various forms of work division, specialisation of social functions, stabilisation and reproduction of the social classes became well pronounced in most of human societies. Until nowadays these inequalities did not pose an obstacle for the development of humanity; contrarily, all ways of organisation and sharing of goods and services production relied more and more on a social structure consisting of dominant and dominated classes of which the global productivity was higher than that of former, more egalitarian systems. These modes of production were therefore developed on the basis of high social disparity. Capitalism itself was also issued in on this basis whilst the classes that were organising production and exchange with monetary and financial instruments and then with private industrial technologies became dominant.
Why are these inequalities becoming a factor in the precarity of our development today? Mainly for two reasons that we shall now develop: the expansion of the capitalist mode of production has become planetary in scope, and secondly it is accompanied by a technological development incomparable in strength. These two aspects show up within a process that includes the entire human species, which is a situation never seen before throughout history.(1)
Social, idealogical, political and military tensions that in the past endangered each society or each group of humans during its own particular existence, is expressed foday on an international scale. These tensions and conflicts, that have very often sterilised the concentration of energy and means necessary for the long-term reproduction of every society, are manifest on the global scale of our species. This is the principle reason that inequality in development has become in our time, as opposed to what it was before, a planetary risk. If the question of recovering the key to assuring development in the long-term becomes increasingly hurrysome, it is also because our anticipation of the future, based on present shifting underway in the world, leads to thinking that our present mode of development cannot be persued for much longer. It still seems difficult to chart our journey from this viewpoint, but a great number of scientists are persuaded that this development will become incompatible with the physical constraints we impose upon the planetary ecosystem which constitutes our domain of vitality. Some observers add that the degradation of the conditions of material life (chemical pollution) and social life (destruction of the social fabric, lose of cultural roots, rotting of institutions due to the Mafia) as well as the coming about of planetary catastrophes anthropic in nature (nuclear bombing of Japan, Chernobyl explosion) are tangible indicators that show, on our scale of time, that we have already attained these thresholds of incompatibility.
The concept of "Sustainable development" came to be in this perspective of blocked development in human societies . This brings about very large debates to make sense out of this concept in order to pinpoint the conditions under which it is to be implemented (2). Man wonders about the durability of his development at the time when he fears losing it: what conditions must be fulfilled in order to recover this durability? What price must be payed in exchange for an "eco-development" paradise or to recover the golden age of ensured durabililty?

What role do economic practices and theories play in the phenomenon of unequal development and in the perpective of its regulation which would be profitable to a long-lasting developmental process?

In the domain of the Social Sciences as in that of the Natural Sciences, the mouvements of the real world (that is those of human societies) existed and were transformed well before human thought turned its attention these matters trying to make sense of them by elaborating representations, models and theories both in the form of the "wild thought" as ethnologists would say and in the form of scientific thinking. As the planets turned about the sun before Copernicus imagined a heliocentric model, the social practices of the human race interacted with the terrestrial environment for millions of years before paradigms of sociology, economy and other humanities were elaborated. It is therefore necessary to carefully distinguish between the "societal practices"(3) and scientific theories: whilst the former constitute the whole complex reality of life for the human race since it appeared on earth, the latter are only a very small part of all these practices and their impact on them is complex, using a whole series of mediations and fulfill multiple functions that are difficult to analyse and understand.
Most analysts recognise that the evolution of the capitalist economic system and the societal practices that go along with capitalism played and still plays a driving role in the relatively recent phenomenon of the globalisation of the economy and accelerated generalisation of the process of unequal development on a planetary scale. Contrarily, theoriticians are far from having attained scientific consensus comparable to those which exist at all cost in the natural sciences for modelling this evolution, anticipating on its trajectory and even less so for proposing models of behaviour that would tend to get this process under control and to correct the fearsome effects on our future. The reason for this is that societal practices evolve under the effects of struggles between the various social groups having more or less antagonistic interests and that scientific theories are used like ideological arms in these struggles. The outcome is that the dominant groups tend to favour scientific schools that cater to their interests and could even go as far as gravely persecuting those that question these interests. Historical examples of this complex relationship between Science and society are numerous, from Socrates to Marx, with Gordiano Bruno, Gallilee and Darwin along the way to mention but the better known of them.
It is therefore necessary to account for the contrast of interests between social groups and their impact on scientific and technical activities if we want to make relevant contributions to the debate on the development of human societies. In fact, using the dynamics of the social forces underlying these contradictions is the only way to bring about a means of regulating our development that is capable of positive adjustment in a context of global stability and security in the face of the constraints of our physical environment.
That means the approach which uses models and theories that attempt to explain the phenomena of unequal development and go on to propose policies inclined towards mastering inequality is very delicate: it will always have to be carried out taking into account both their internal coherence and their various uses, in the ideological and political domains, which the social forces in question practice. That is why in the what follows we turn our attention towards the analysis of economic facts and practices. Another text will be dedicated to analysing the role that scientific theories and models play in economic practices or rather the role that social actors have them play.

Economic Practices: A Historical Approach

Societal practices have caracterised the human species since its appearance on earth and amongst these practices there are those that we now call economic structures and activities, that is to say those by way of which people organise their lives and act accordingly so as to satisfy their need to stay alive and reproduce. These economical practices have been extremely varied in the history of our species and have become more complex over time with the accumulation of technical and cultural experiences with the countless forms of societies which have been developed throughout history. The analysis of such diversity allows to make some initial observations which enable us to pinpoint our concerns:

1/ Overall we must notice that since the day it appeared on earth the human species has experienced a "sustainable development" because it is still in existence. But this globally "sustainable development" is in fact the result of an infinity of "non sustainable developments" spread over the dimensions ofspace and time.

Until recently, humans just like many other animal species have been spread out over the lands and form groups of individuals of varied numbers; these groups had strong internal structures of cultural and socio-economic organisation but were totally -or almost totally- autonomous with respect to one another. Although the overall species has proved capable of reproduction and even proliferationup until nowadays, one cannot say the same for each of the constituant group of humans viewed separately. We have in fact preserved traces or memories of many of these of groups, even large civilisations, which have totally disappeared either because of natural disasters(4) or because of a poorly adapted evolution of their structures and societal practices(5). The goal of anthropological and archeological research is precisely to recover and interpret traces left by the groups of people and civilisations who have dissappeared, study their societal practices, especially the economic ones, in order to understand as much as possible the reasons for their disappearance.
The death of human groups or social organisations having widespread cultural, economic and political dimensions strongly contrasts with the survival of the whole of the species over millions of years. Throughout history everything happened as if the preservation of our species had been the result of an infinite number of cycles of parallel and autonomous development the success or failures of which allowed the exploration of a large number of possible paths including at each instant those paths which made possible the perpetuation of the species in all regions of the globe, with very diversified types of social organisation and economic practices. Accordingly, when certain forms of organisation proved to be poorly adapted to the situation causing them to disappear, others showed the ability to participate in the reproduction of the species, at the time of their existence, in the conditions of their natural midst where their society was established and the historical period in which they lived.
All these cycles of development, of which unfortunately most have only left a small trace of their existence or none at all, represent a group of experiences of which today it would be of interest for humanity to explore the heritage, atleast what is left of it, in order to adapt its practices to the constraints of our epoch, which tends too much towards underestimating the value of knowledge acquired in the past.

2/ Second observation: if the notion of "sustainable development" was conceived of in our epoch, it is for the reason that the survival of the human species, which seemed to be taken for granted in the past, atleast on a world-wide scale, is now being questioned.

Of course we all know that all the stars and planets are mortal and so consequently the terrestrial biosphere, and humans with it, will disapear. But that is not the issue here: according to many scientists, the survival of the human species within the terrestrial biosphere could be questionable following several qualitative shifts in its ways of integrating the biosphere, but also because of the fragility of the one and only economic and social system that from this point onward dominates and reunites all societies, nations and States of the world. According to these analyses, we have entered a form of more or less long-term "non sustainable development". In the perspective of this hypothesis, humanity "runs into the wall"... A much different version of "the end of History" that some American writers alluded to after the falling of the Berlin wall!
What then are these shifts and ruptures with regards to humanity's long past?

-Rupture one: the "scientific and technical revolution" and its consequences.

In the beginning, our species made adjustments in order to survive the evolution of the environment by transforming biologically, (up-right position, increase in the size of the brain, etc.) At some time in history, transformation of cultural traits and particularly the technical progress in the ways of using natural resources and in the fabrication of the corresponding "tools" and "arms" had become predominant(6). But progress was very slow up until the neolithic period, when agricultural and breeding practices appeared, which rendered possible the accumulation of food stuffs and consequently much more complex forms of work specialisation and social organisation. From then on the rate of technological changes is not counted by millions but thousands, then hundreds of years, punctuated by spectacular innovations such as the domestication of animals for milk and transport, irrigation, steel rolling, hydraulic mills, etc.
Over the last century, this rythm became exponential and is provoking changes increasingly profound in nature in all human domains of activity. These changes are considered a truely scientific and technical revolution which in our time lead to qualitatively new situation: for the first time, anthropic activities show the capacity to modify, in a dangerous way for the future of our species, the characteristics of planet Earth's ecosystem which constitutes our living space (distribution of the stratospheric ozone, climatic changes, deforestation and ground desertification, exhaustion of non-renewable resources, degradation of biodiversity, chemical pollutions or ionised wave spread, etc.). Added to this is the strength of weapons for massive destruction the number of which has multiplied and which are capable of provoking possibly irreparable dammage to our civilisation and the biosphere of the earth.
The exponential development of scientific knowledge and technical means available to us which may be used to transform our physical environment is not dangerous in itself, but in its hidden possibilities of destruction concerning our ecosystem, especially the vital needs of the whole of humanity. Today some groups of men hold the power to endanger the living conditions and even those of survival of all humanity for more or less long term. The problem thus put is social and political in nature: how are we to organise the collective control of the uses of Science and technology in order to guarantee the security, in the widest sense of the word, of our civilisation on a long-term basis and orientate their use and future development to increase and not weaken the guarantees of this security?

- Rupture two: the demographic expansion of the human species

Progressively, the human species has occupied all the emerged surfaces of the global earth and proliferated in this space at a rythm of technical development which always allowed the species to better adapt to the constraints of diverse natural places and always better use his means of existence. The very abrupt acceleration of this technological development over the last century, especially in the medical field, has provoked an equally brutal acceleration in the demographic growth of the human species and for many observers, this growth spurt would carry a heavy responsability concerning the inequality of development, seeing that it would use resources for consumption rather than for making investments and thus for economic and social development.
This argument is however refutable and has been refuted: the sudden and rapid growth in the numbers of humans is certainly a fact the causes of which are well known and well analysed, and it is generally admitted that this fact weighs especially on the relative educational costs of people in a society in which the active and productive population has become the minority when compared to the children and the aged; but it is nevertheless not acceptable in the view of all economists to put the blame for developmental inequality on demographic growth. Those that refute this thesis judge that the economic and financial practices of the capitalist system, which give priority to the consideration of the dominant social group's interests, are the explanatory principles of these inequalities. Consequently, they feel that better socially mastering the system, a democractic control of its dysfunctioning, would allow for the stabilisation of its effects on demographical growth.
Another fact allows one to put into proper perspective the risks of excessive demographic growth: the processes of economic and social development slow up and stabilize this growth right where they play their role, both in increasing the cost of children's education, which causes parents to limit them in number and in increasing the knowledge and responsibility of women, who in this way acquire the means of controlling their fertility. This observation allows one to think that in finding the means to guarantee everyone's access to the roads of development it is possible to deactivate what EINSTEIN called "the demographic bomb".

- Rupture three: the world-wide expansion of the technostructure and rendering socio- economic systems homogeneous through the dynamism of modern capitalism.

The technical means available to men today allow them to organise their societal practices on a planetary scale in numerous domains: air transport, meteorological forecasting, the transmission of information, food supply security, etc. The organisational and business capacities for industrial production, commerce and above all financial activities have equally attained this planetary level to the extent that there is a tendancy to create a unique world space which is more and more homogeneous on a technological level.
These multiple technical systems functioning on a planetary scale of course necessitate the concentration of intellectual and material resources which were only able to be collected together by the parallel extension of social and political organisation networks apt to bringing them about and managing them. The emergence of a world-wide technostructure is in this way associated to another rupture qualitative in nature, characterised by the homogenisation of social relations and the dominant ways of thinking within all human societies, under the empire of the capitalist system in its modern form. One of the essential aspect of the globalisation of the societal practices that are manifest before our eyes is in fact the very strong tendancy towards marginalisation, if not disappearance , of all the systems of social organisation squashed by this process, which favours the dominant system, the modern capitalist system, that reigns with an absolute supremacy since the collapse of Communist regimes(7), and that seem to be both the matrix of deep change that we observe and its beneficiary. Recently, we have even seen the appearance of the concept "single thought" to characterise the ideologies which this system puts forth.
The globalisation process is therefore equally at work, with more or less open gaps, not only in the fields of Science and techniques but also at the economical, social, financial, cultural and political levels.

Temporary conclusions:

These decisive ruptures that portray our epoch in relation to the past history of the human species are making way for a situation never seen before: the disappearance of all societal diversity within humanity to the benefit of a single mode of organisation and a single sample of this dominant mode. This process is all but beginning but is picking up steam at all levels of our societal practices and it is obvious that an integrated world system organising these practices is about to come into being.
One can think, by analogy with the problematic of biodiversity, that there is an enormous risk for the future, since facing up to the very great uncertainty of what is to come we find ourselves as put coarsely, "with all our eggs in the same basket". Who can say for sure that Capitalism, the cause of this situation, will be adapted for future conditions of reproduction and survival of humanity? This dominant Capitalism, in spreading the unequal development phenomena, will it annihilate the "socio-diversity" that has until today been an essential element in the reproduction of the human race, or will its evolution allow it to maintain this diversity in a world in which the rate of scientific and technical progress picks up speed with no limit seeming to have to produce a technically homogeneous economy?
It is still impossible to answer this question. What we can atleast attempt is to very summarily introduce the tendancies of Capitalism in the field of economy and finance that nowadays stretch and deepen the phenomena of unequal development on an international scale.

Economic and Financial Practices: A Structural Approach

What are the principle factors that generate unequal development in the current mode of regulation of the Capitalist system?

The essential characteristics of the capitalist system are known to us since the 19th century: private appropriation of the means of production; proletarianization of the work force to make possible its mobility and to form payroll relationships on the "job market"; free trade of marchandises that allows, thanks to the mechanism of competition in the "free" market place, the realisation of goods and services produced within enterprise; finally the organisation of a market for capital that makes way for the concentration of the means of production and increasingly stronger work forces made possible by monetary and financial intermediations. These characteristics are found at every step along the way in the development of the system from its beginning which has been situated at around to 15th and 16th century of our era by specialists in Western Europe.
Let us now emphasise an essential observation: the State structures, through the great diversity of their functions and their nature, have played a very active role in the evolution of these characteristics. Monetary and commercial politics, raw materials strategies, energy, communication links, foreign policy and military confrontations concerning markets, colonial adventures, etc., all these aspects of Capitalist expansionism have come to pass in parallel with the activities of enterprises and financial institutions thanks to the State intervention.
In our time, the traits of dominant Capitalism are introduced in specific forms the novelty of which adheres to the rythm attained by scientific and technical progress as well as to the process of globalisation evoked previously. They are as usual tightly linked together and it only for analytic purposes that we have decided to introduce them separately.

- proletarianization of the work force and private appropriation of production means.

Separating producers from their tools, and in particular farmers from their lands has always been necessary for capitalism. The goals are to be able to create and widen markets, to facilitate private appropriation of the results of work organised more and more collectively by capital holders, as well as the permanent adaptation of the work force to the rythm of technical progress. This separation, observed in England as soon as the 16th century with the expulsion of the farmers from communal lands and their brutal pauperisation, next swept over all the countries of Western Europe, through social and political conflicts that were often dramatic and deathly. It accompanied the expansion of capitalism accross the entire world, most often by military conquest and forms of very violent domination to the fact of which history attests in various colonial conquests in North and South America, Africa, Asia and even Europe.
In our day, the proletarianization movement has come to an end considering there does not any more exist people on our planet having preserved a system of economic and social organisation that is different from the Capitalist system, except those that are very isolated and about to dissappear. The social status of the work force, in its two associated forms of the worker who sells his work capabilities to an capitalist firm and the unemployed, is dominant in all the countries of the world. This overall proletarianization is manifest in the most visible way when one looks at the population mass that agglomerates around the great megapoles of the planet whereas rural societies and pre-capitalist modes of production and consumption are thinning out or disappearing.(8)
The phenomenon of proletarianization is partially responsible for the problems of unequal development: first of all because it brings about the underemployment and unemployment within populations torn from their former modes of production, which means that their productive capacities are sterilised and their resources become poor (which often goes along with the disappearence of systems of production ruined through competition); but it is above all because this consequence of capitalist expansionism destroys all the social structures of the previous system through the peoples in question were involved in the determination of their destiny. In fact, the worst off of this phenomenon is the situation of exclusion that is found under various forms in numerous countries in the North as in the South and the East showing that masses of men and women are cut off socially, intellectually, culturally and finally politically from the mechanism that make modern society function as well as from the strategic decisions that will set the agenda for their future.
It is difficult to tell if the mechanism of exclusion characterizes a long-lasting phase of transition between pre-capitalist societies and an integrated and stabilised social organisation that will be capable of emerging from shifts caused by Capitalism, or whether we are talking about a contradiction that cannot be overcome and that with time will lead to the final collapse of everything. How will these modern outcasts come to break the mechanism of their exclusion and play their role in the construction of our future society? This is the first problem - and without a doubt the most important - brought forth by the economic practices of modern society.

- Market expansion and "free" movement of goods.

What we call a market can be defined as a set of exchange acts of a category of merchandise for some quantity of money known as the price for each unit of merchandise. This apparantly simple practice is in fact in many ways at the heart of the Capitalist system: it is the starting point of all commercial activities, which in itself made possible the first concentration of capital and the first instances of credit, and then in connection with the widening of outlets, the organisation of paid work and the development of techniques for industrial production. The marketplace, protected by the State or conquered and opened thanks to its aid, is also the stage upon which all the infinitely varied scenarios of competition between capitalists are played out, through which a kind of natural selection of entrepreneurs and capitalist themselves is at work: the price level in fact determines those that can pay for work done and the other expenses that they have paid in advance in order to produce their merchandise, and those that cannot and because of this dissappear. ,br> This mechanism is therefore the beginning of the explosive dynamism of the capitalist system: it is this mechanism in particular that imposes constraints upon entreprise to increase their productivity, especially by always investing in more "efficient" technologies and forces industrialised States to devote constantly increasing means to fundamental and applied research destined to uphold the race to productivity. In competition, the strongest in terms of the capacity of production and productivity always wins. This explains the fact that they always demand more "freedom" in the marketplace (for example, the dropping of customs barriers). These demands for "free trade" and "open competition", in fact often coercively imposed by dominant States, constitute the beginnings of the weakening of and the disappearance of all systems of pre-capitalist production, then weakening and submission of small entreprises that are incapable of holding their own against the emergence and domination of the big, modern, transnational firms, through a permanent shift of devalorisation and recompositon of capital structures(9).
The practices of internationally broadening markets and generalised deregulation in the organisation of exchanges and of competition between producers are just as much a factor of unequal development, for the conditions of production being very different from one country to another, they inevitably bring on the destruction of the less favoured production systems or that of producers the least well equiped or the least well prepared for competition. The consequences of adding in industrialised farmers to the competition with the lesser equiped and poorly situated farmers in the most fragile natural places is one of the particularly important examples of negative effects of unregulated free trade. The effects of competition on rural societies have been such a disaster that all kinds of compensations had to be dreamt up in order to maintain agricultural activities, as much in the United States as in Europe and that the necessity of such doings are strongly felt on an international scale today. Effects analogous to this can be observed in the industrial sector, and the phenomenon is most often cumulative in nature: the demise of weak productive structures diminishes the local resources necessary to create the conditions of balanced development, which further weakens producers who are incapable of acquiring the knowledge and the technological means needed for their survival in the deregularised transnational marketplace.

- The concentration of capital.

The mechanism of competition on the markets provokes a permanent movement of concentration concerning the possession of the means of production in order to increase the productivity of entreprises and their capability to get maximum profit out of the mechanisms of competition. Historically, this concentration was carried out by various means the principles of which were the autofinancing of enterprises using their profits to strengthen themselves and the development of financial techniques and institutions capable of collecting monetary savings and construct credit mechanisms necessary for the acquisition or the creation of larger and larger groups of machines and salaried workers. Here once again, the State has often intervened to facilitate the mobilisation of these savings, either by creating public entreprises supported on tax resources, or by acting as an increasingly authoritarian intermedium for the realisation of amalgammation and absorption between competing entreprises, or by promotting credit policies for these kinds of actions.
The phenomenon of capital concentration itself has also attained a global dimension and it is at the root of the emergence of great multinational firms. Today these firms are dominant in the structuring of capitalism on the way to planetary integration. Capital concentration equally intervenes in a decisive way in the problems of unequal development for the politics of big and dominant multinational firms reinforces the contradictory structure that puts politically-centred countries in opposition to countries on the periphery of the world's capitalist system: being founded in the countries of the centre of the system, these firms not only ruin the productive systems on the periphery while they are still in existence, but go on to reinforce the domination of those of the centre of the system by concentrating the majority of their scientific and technical investments in these latter countries who's States offer them the best conditions for stability and political security, and by giving structure to the industrial activities that they develop in other parts of the world by only taking into account their own concerns(10). Thus we notice here the drawing of a vicious circle that increases the inequality of development therefore rendering the whole system fragile.

- The development of financial activities. Speculation, corruption and extension of the mafia

Financial activities, having been created to allow the drainage of savings in order to benefit public and private financing, were also created to organise and bring State and entreprise credit into being; already having an long history, in the last twenty years they have become the most characteristic field of modern capitalism, that in which the most efficacious instruments of social power and domination are concentrated.
The institution of stock exchanges corresponded to the need to facilitate the circulation of capital, in the form of various letters of credit that appeared at the same time as the history of capitalism: shares and property deeds for enterprises and merchandise, debts and titles of various credit (particularly rent debts), monetary signs, etc. are negociated there according to miticulous technical rules to ease the circulation of social riches between various uses they may fulfill in the context of capitalist social relationships.
As soon as these very specific markets were created, it appeared that the variations in price at which the various letters of credit could be bought and sold provided possibilities of speculation a lot easier to realise than those people in commerce were used to for a long time: term buying and selling in taking into account these variations had therefore become an increasingly important aspect in financial activities. On the basis of this, all the manipulative practices aimed at influencing the variations of rates in order to better maximise profit of the stakes involved appeared very quickly. As soon as the 19th century, the history of finance holds examples of great fortunes suddenly built on clever stock exchange manoeuvring, or inversely, tremendous bankrupcies provoked by such manipulations. History also tells of the revealing role played by the stock market at the time of the great economic crises of the capitalist system in expansion: it illustrates them when it blows the shifting of deflation and inflation out of proportion and actively contributes to the devalorisation and restructuration of capitals. At that stage, financial activities nevertheless simply reflect movement and tension which constitute the motor of the system and portray industrial and commercial structures. Except in very particular cases, they do not have any autonomous role nor are they an important impulsive or orientational source.
This is no longer the case today, because for the last two or three decades financial activities have gained a lot of weight and quasi-total autonomy within the economy. The qualitative change is due to the converging of several factors: first of all the accelerated concentration of private capital and their preference for easily movable investments, as long as profitability is ensured; following this, the progress of computer technology which has allowed the creation of a kind of world financial market in which information and monetary indicators themselves can exchanged almost instantaneously; finally deregulatory politics for the flow of capital that the most powerful States of the system have been able to force upon the whole of the countries of the world and that have equally allowed the multiplication of "tax havens" thanks to which a significant portion of financial transactions escape from State control, and consequently, from citizens too11. The result is that financial transactions have become a lot more significant that the "real" economy and dynamism of financial activities, their demands and constraints weigh extremely heavily on all the aspects of world politics and on the evolution of the system(12). It is to be noticed then that, even if we could develop this aspect as it should be, the deregulation of financial activities has much favoured the development of operations linked to the corruption of political staff in all countries and the flourishing of economic and financial activities in organised crime, which is equally present in process of globalisation. In this way, corruption and illegal transactions play a role that cannot be neglected in the mechanisms of unequal development.
One of the highly important consequences of these evolutions is that the centres of power of the capitalist system no longer need as in the past the launching of dominant States on colonialist ventures: having destroyed the pre-capitalist systems of production, at their disposal they have political team-mates everywhere that are sufficiently obliging and interested to put their politics into action. All they have to do is fiddle with the monetary variables (rate of exchange) and financial variables (credit and interest rates) in order to reep an economic surplus that in earlier times could only be attained at the price of very expensive wars aimed at conquering or by way of heavy colonial domination who's "raison d'être" is questioned constantly. During the 70's and 80's the huge Third World debt was established in this way, which, coupled with the policies of the IMF's and the IBRD's Structural Adjustment Programmes(13), have generated a massive transfer of resources from the countries in the South to the financial centre of those in the North14. Added to this is another of today's techniques, that of "emerging financial market" which is based on the manipulation of interest and exchange rates, and provokes even deeper structural effects. The scenario of the various episodes through which the Mexican economic crisis had to undergo since the seventies provides the most illustrative example of these domination techniques founded upon finance (15).

How are Problems of Unequal Development on Economical and Financial Grounds to be Controlled and Overcome?

As we have already said in this text, it is useless to take on the developmental inequality of humanity with only economic and financial weapons. Mastering and regulating the phenomenon demands a global approach and recourse to a diversified panoply of interventionist means adapted for various levels as well as for the varied nature of determinisms at work in this complex phenomenon.
Before exploring the economic and financial aspects of such an approach, we therefore have to first of all attempt recalling some obvious facts:

- It is impossible to go backwards:

radical and deep transformations that capitalism has brought forth for all peoples of the world does not allow them to have going back to a former state of being as a goal, even if some feel this is better than the current catastrophes. We cannot do away with currency and credit, wipe out the development of scientific and technical knowledge, liquidate industrial products and salarial relations nor give birth again to the tribal mind in order to go beyond national selfishness.
Recognizing the irreversibility of human history is at same time to leave to the wayside all solutions based on a return into the past, which naturally does not mean that we are not to reflect upon this past experience nor what we can learn from it for the construction of the future. We therefore have to start from where we are, by necessary considering all of humanity's interests together, and look for modes of action that take into account the problems of the minute, the risks at stake, goals to be accomplished and the means available to the social actors in question. To do this it is certain that a lot has to be changed, but it is impossible to backup.

- It is necessarily on political grounds where sufficient social forces may gather together to bring new behaviour into action:

since at all levels of the social fabric clearer awareness of the problems to be resolved must become manifest and collective initiative is to be taken to overcome these problems. Letting people believe that we can progress towards a goal by merely mobilising financial resources and establishing another international bureaucratic structure, as the UNDP proposes(16), would be to create illusions and waste resources for it would not modify behaviour at the grassroots level.
These technocratic propositions are insufficient, and even nearly always inadequate, inasmuch as they are implicitely aimed at avoiding problems resolution on the political front. Of course everyone is concerned by unequal development as with other "global" problems, but not all social agents are concerned in the same manner; those that profit in the short term from the current social, economic and monetary chaos are not ready to give up, even if they have the feeling their avantages will not last in the long term; as for the victimes of this "world-wide disorder", their are most often deprived of means of action and are impeded in taking part in political decision-making by multiple types of domination and often even repression and dictature.
The search and organisation of sufficient political means to mobilise all energy capable of changing our behaviour is therefore an essential aim in the actions to be taken. For this reason the defence of the rights of men, women and children and the struggle for democracy is as important in controlling developmental inequality as the annullation of illegitimate debts, commerce regulation, education of youth or a world-wide programme for investment and employment.

- actions against unequal development being politically necessary, they are developed progressively, by much varied routes and levels and with equally different rythms with respect to the continent or country.

Therefore we must not seek to define uniformly for all what steps are to be taken.
At the international level, we must accurately target those objectives which can only be attained by consensus between States, such as the diminishing of military expenditures, especially weapons for massive destruction, regulation of commerce and credit as well as the international monetary system, mechanisms for world-wide cooperation between national social protection systems, etc. At other levels, we must persue efforts in research, information and concertation between all the parties involved and look for suitable solutions as soon as any collective will for change appears.
Moreover, we must emphasise that this progressive process towards social and political control has already been at work for a long time: in countries where capitalism had experienced a profound development, phenomena of unequal development had been quite bad as soon as the beginning of this development; French and English, as well as other economic and social history from the 16th to the 19th century, attest to the fact. In these countries the social movement and the political struggles resulted in the relativisation of these inequalities, even if they are far from having dissappeared, and even if significant social conflicts continue to explode because of them. These contradictions are equally manifest on an international scale: UNDP experts are in opposition to those of World Bank on the issue of Structural Adjustment Projects; the UNCTAD seeks alternatives to GATT dead ends, the 77 group is opposed to the OCDE; the function of the ILO, where the States, heads of business and workers are represented together, constitutes a concertation process on an international scale, as are the associated world summits of the UN and the forums of the NGOs. But the means of putting the outcomings of these meetings to work at ground level are not yet up to par with the real problems and their rate of evolution.
The issue here then is one of multiplying the levels and the forms of action to be taken, reducing bureaucracy and accelerating the present concertation processes to make them more efficient, and not one of activating an exhaustive and centralised project against unequal developement.

A Few Propositions for a Plan of Action
on an International Scale

This said, we can try and introduce a group of guidelines for economic and financial political action, that are adapted for the aspects of the problem that have to do with international action and that would enable us to move forward on the road to controlling the inequalities of development.

preliminary remarks:
one has to hold out against the idea that ideological pressure and political will of the great economic and financial powers of world capitalism are irreversibly attached to the practices of "transire and laissez-faire policy" so dear to the fanatics of "wild" liberalism concerning commercial, monetary and financial matters. When confronted with other dangers threatening their security, stability or disturbing the peace, the same powers did not hesitate taking the road leading to surveillance, banning or regulation using security or even ethics as they argument. The forbidding of chemical weapons for example, as well as the Treaty of Non- proliferation concerning nuclear arms, commercial bans linked to the protection of certain animal species, decisions to limit the production and commerce of certain drugs, forbidding all industrial activity on the austral continent, etc., all which go to show that international cooperation can come up with rules for behaviour an apply them in a collective way to that behaviour in order to face up to dangers and risks that threaten humanity. Such doings can thus be followed up to guarantee peace and justice in the international society on the path to integration being established before our very eyes.
The monetary and financial "laissez-faire" dominant today is not less deadly for millions of men, women and children than the production, commerce and consumption of heroin or cocaine which have been declared illegal. For the survival of millions of children and human beings, banning speculation on exchange rates is as vital as the banning of selling and buying ivory for elephant survival. If the latter could be obtained, why not the former? Thought and regulation in the area of bio-ethics is being developed in numerous countries based on the fact that progress in biology threatens the integrity and dignity of human beings, but is it not the same, on a much more massive scale, for financial, monetary and economic techniques?
It is therefore necessary and possible to propose a code of economic and financial ethics and a programme of mesures to have this code respected. Elements of such a code have already been brought up on various occasions, namely at the world conferences and summits organised by the United Nations. It is of paramount importance to continue in this direction and it is in the field that the activities of the INES network can make their contribution to the cause.
In what follows, we shall propose a few orientations for the development of this contribution.

1 - wasting resources in financial speculation has to be fought and reduced to a minimum

It seems to us that it is necessary to rely on the technical means that exist in order to limit as much as possible the factors of instability, insecurity and counter-development due to speculation and the volatility of exchange rates:
- Controlling capital flow must be the first of these means of action to be put to work; along with it there should be a tax deducted for speculative transactions that generate erratic shifts in exchange rates, which as early as 1978 had already been proposed by Nobel Prize winner J.TOBIN {PNUD 94}. Such a measure has the advantage of being able to be applied quickly, if the main economic and financial powers of the world come to agreement on this matter. Such an agreement does not seem out of reach, so threatening the current anarchy of capital flow is for the concerns of all States.
- the creation of a stable international monetary system should be the following priority goal; this goal equally requires a solid political foundation that cannot be established, as previously, only upon agreement between the same powers. However, this agreement will undoubtedly be much more difficult to obtain for the stabilisation of exchange rates requires discipline on the part of all players for which is not easy to gain respect in several fields of economic politics, particularly in regards to credit, budgetary policy, revenue policy, etc. Moreover, fluctuating exchange rates are currently a considerable source of profit for very powerful interests. This difficulty has already become manifest in the concerns of the European Union States, and thus constitutes an even larger obstacle on the global scale.

2 - International transfers of unwarranted or fraudulous financial resources must be stopped and charged illegal.

This objective can be accomplished by the following measures:
- public and private debts that do not correspond with ordinary commercial operations or fully-individualised productive investments must be voided and control mechanisms for openning of international credit installed in order to avoid going back to situations of excessive over- endebtedness with no concrete basis;
- those who are responsible for private capital leakage, illegal or fraudulous in nature, must be pursued and these resources are to be restituted to the coffers of their State;
- "Tax havens" or zones where illegal, fraudulous or criminal cash savings are hidden must be relinquished. They represent the spanner in the works causing the current dysfunction of the system and one of the very efficient means by way of which they are allowed to elude political powers, and in the end, all social control.

3 - the freedom of commercial exchanges and prices must be regulated, like all liberties.

Absolute liberty is not conceivable without total anarchy; all public and individual liberties in existence are guaranteed by very strict rules. This why it is particularly necessary to continuously upgrade the rules of the GATT agreement (today the WTO since the conference in Marrakech) and the sector-based agreements concerning customs protection, on the one hand by respecting a kind of "subsidiary principle" in regards to the productive systems of various countries, in such a way as to protect the capacities of production that each country is able to run on its own without wasting resources, and on the other hand, by being careful not to let monopolies, the dangers of which we are familiar, be created on a world-wide scale.

4 - the means for planning and strategic investment financing have to be created at an international level.

The issue here is to go about establishing an economic and social "New Deal" on a planetary scale. Articulated with others at the continental and regional levels, such an investment programme could help peoples construct the necessary infrastructures for balanced development in all domains where this is currently at a standstill.
Strategic domains are those of energy, urbanisation, housing, drinking water available for everyone, basic education and specialised training, and food and public health security. In the fields of production and consumption technologies, this "New Deal" should allow persuing long- term goals capable of ensuring the durability of development: the managing of non-renewable resources with precaution, expanded reproduction of renewable resources, mobilisation of the entire workforce at their level of qualification within systems production managed at various levels of organisation (from village through to international level). International investments in productive sectors can no longer be left totally unchecked in the hands of large mutinational firms; as this is already the case in the economic spaces of deloped nations, these investments must come under the international politics of town and country planning as well as those of economic and social development agreed upon by all nations.

5 - Finally, a plan for managing social problems must be organised on an international scale.

Seen in the context of globalisation, the national level is no longer sufficient for ensuring that systems of social protection have atleast a minimum level of efficiency. It would then be appropriate to organise co-ordination and progressive complementarity between existing systems of social protection in the different countries. The various systems of social organisation throughout the history of humanity have always searched for solutions, within the limits of their means, for the protection of pregnant women, the ill, children, weak individuals and the aged. This protection has always been considered, no matter what its imperfections were in the past, as an essential factor in the security not only of the individuals directly concerned, but also the entire social group. It seems that awareness of this necessity has taken hold within the the United Nations and even the World Bank but practical realisations in this domain are far from sufficient {UNRISD 94/2}.
Today our economic and financial system is spreading over the entier earth, and we have technological means and resources more significant than ever before available to us; but we are faced with risks on a planetary scale. It is therefore necessary that we elaborate a system of social protection composed of various levels of mutual aid that expresses the down-to-earth, greater than ever need for solidarity amongst all individuals and peoples of our planet.


In the present work, a full analysis of the causes and effects of unequal development could not be undertaken; its main goal is to propose subjects for reflexion and guidelines for action to the members of INES network concerning a planetary problem which is increasingly becoming a factor of instability and insecurity for all the nations of the world.
In order to put these propositions forth in concrete terms, we first of all briefly recalled the principal elements of the problem in the domain of economic and financial practices, and this from several viewpoints, namely those of their historical origins, current traits and possible evolution whilst limiting ourselves to the data provided by international institutions. Starting from this schematic sketch and relying upon the INES network's orientations and its principles of action, we established a set of propositions that are forthwith submitted for debate.
To avoid confusion, we have not taken up the problem of economic theories and their effects on societal practices in this work. Measuring these effects is not easy and they are inextricably intertwined with strictly ideological and doctrinal issues: for this reason it seemed preferable to us to save them for a specific study and limit ourselves to concrete economic and financial practices in the present text.

Marc Ollivier, Grenoble, March 95


return toSUMMARY (1)A sign of this world-wide expansion is the coming about of planetary statistics within the United Nations system. Therefore let us now go through the main data illustrating the reality of unequal development, even if they are still far from perfection and should be cited with reserve:
- if one considers the average of the national revenue per inhabitant, one will notice that in 1988 the poorest 20% received 1% of the world revenue ($ 301 thousand) whereas the richest 20% received 67,6% of this revenue ($ 19 542 billion), which represents 65 times more.
- if we take into account the spreading of revenue within the countries, the gap is still much wider: in fact, the poorest 20% only received 0,5% ($ 163 billion) and the richest 20% received 79% of the total ($ 22 808 billion) which represents 140 times more.
- and what's more this gap is growing wider with time. In the sixties, the poorest 20% were producing 2.3% of the world GNP, but only 1.4% in 1989, whereas the richest 20% increased from 70,2% to 82,7%: 30 times more in 1960, and 60 times more in 1989 {PNUD 92}
- according to the 1993 World Bank report, 1.1 billion men (one fifth of humanity) live in absolute poverty, with total resources amounting to less that 1 dollar per day.

(2) This concept was presented as "sustainable development in the renowned Brundtland report. One will find an orverview of the many definitions that were proposed as well as the numerous references in {OTA 94}.

(3)We will use this term to denote the entirety of the functional structures and behaviours that characterise a given human society at a giving time in its history.

(4)For instance, Minos' civilisation was destroyed in a cataclysmic earthquake.

(5)This seems to be the case of the Easter Island peoples for instance, or the ancient Mesopotamian civilisation, who was incapable of mastering the filling in of their irrigation network by the alluvial deposits of the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, not to mention the case of the immense passing empires built on military conquests but not having the organisational capabilities corresponding with their size, such as the Mongolian empire, Alexander's empire, etc...

(6)In order to pinpoint the first steps of this progress, anthropologists mesure the length of blades that men were able to make using a kilogramme of stone.

(7)We will not open any idealogical of doctrinal debate here, just an observation of facts. Keeping in mind the absence of social control and democratic institutions in the so-called countries of "real socialism", the economic practices that were developping there (excessive armament, industrial pollution, waste of energy, etc...) were atleast as nocives if not more than in countries of "real Capitalism" put into place the world over. In both cases it may be observed that perfectly coherent social and economic theories could have been used as ideological front for the construction of unequal and unstable systems of exploitation.

(8)Let's take a look at the global data currently available from the United Nations on this situation:
- in northern countries (OCDE zone), 35 million active individuals do not have work, that is they do not have access to the means of work with which they could participate in the production of goods and services. This unemployment affects above all young people (14% in the USA, 15% in the United Kingdom, 33% in Italy, 34% in Spain). Moreover, amongst those who work, a large proportion are in precarious situations (13% in Finland, 20% in Australia, 32% in Spain).
- in the South, the situation is still worse: in the 80's, the "declared rate of unemployed" in Africa, much lower than the true rate, was higher than 20%. In all these countries, most active individuals are largely under-employed and survive with an extremely bad standard of living and bad working conditions in what experts call "informal sector" of great megapoles of the Third World: it is estimated that 30% of "jobs" in Latin America and 60% in Africa are of this type.
- overall what we see here is a shift towards increased precarity the world over, which reflects the structural evolution of the economy. This wave naturally provokes growing insecurity of revenue and standards of living. In the USA nearly 15% of the population lives below the poverty line, and old age and retirement pensions, unemployment allowances and social security expenditures are diminishing rapidly in all countries; the number of homeless are estimated at 400000 in London, 250000 in New York, 500000 in France, and the situation is still worse in the countries of the South: more than 25% of the inhabitants of Calcutta, Dacca or Mexico form a "floating population" and more than a third of their population lives below the poverty line. It is estimated that in these countries more than a billion individuals survive on revenue inferior to 1 dollar a day {UNDP 94, p26}.

(9)It is within the framework of the GATT agreement and successive round table commercial negociations that this broadening of markets process becomes tangible. The long negociations that were carried out in this framework leading to the Treaty of Marrakech well illustrates the problems created by the "liberalisation" of exchange and the necessity of a reglementation. The WOT that herewith replaces the GATT agreement since the Marrakech conference, will have reinforced powers at its disposal in order to be able to impose commercial sanctions within the framework of semi-judiciary procedures. The interest of multi-national firms are favoured as there is no way of controlling them. However, in the near future, getting around the necessity for laws will certainly not be possible, as is shown by the current debate centred on the "social clause": can the sale of products being the fruit of child labour or that of humans deprived of freedom be authorised? And this although this debate can be carried out in such a way as to benefit multinationals.

(10)The weight of the multinational firms in production and world-wide exchange is incessently on the increase: between 1980 and 1992, their business went from 2400 to 5500 billion dollars; in 1994 they numbered an estimate 37 000 umbrella firms that controled 200 000 branches the world over; in this same year they held 33% of the world's assets and only employed 5% of its manpower. These firms escape all international regulations. In the beginning of the 70s', the United Nations took the initiative and attempted to elaborate a "code of good conduct", but the States could not come to a consensus on this matter and nothing nowadays proves that political will can do something to limit the disastrous consequences of these firms' commercial and financial stances in short term {UNRISD 94/1}.

(11)Starting with the arrival of the eurodollars interbank market in the fifties and sixties, which is to say currency that was not controled by central banks, this deregulation was followed up by the abandoning of fixed exchange rates in 1971, then the dropping of exchange control, the openning up of national financial markets and the freedom of financial transactions. This shift has lead to considerably more involvement of banks and financial operators in "off the record" committments, especially in spin off markets and risky operations, in such a way that even institutions such as central banks or the International Regulations Bank are incapable of evaluating the structure of the financial interdependancies of these committments the size of which is to be mesured in terms of tens of thousands of billions of dollars (Cf. Euromoney, June 1994, p.40).

(12)According to the International Regulations Bank, trans-border stock market operations (bulk purchases and sales of titles between residents and non-residents) that were between 1 and 10% of the 1982 GDP amount depending on the country attained nearly 110% of the GDP in 1992 for France, Italy, USA and Canada. Market exchange operations have to be added to this: from 1980 to 1988 they exceeded 1000 billion dollars a day in 1992 {BRI 92}. We recall that at the time the amount of transactions linked to the exchange of merchandise barely represented 3% of the daily flow.

(13)SAP's (Structural Adjustment Programmes) imposed by the IMF and the IBRD force the States in question to reduce their social expenditure (health, education, etc.), devalue their currency and open their boundaries to international competition. In this way they allow them to increase exportation and pay their debts owed to bankers from the North, but at a price; productive activities are dismantled, unemployment increases and the quality of life of the poorest bottoms out. They have brought on hunger riots in numerous countries. The IBRD and the IMF are seeking to the define a "social agenda" in these projects in order do away with catastrophic social consequences.

(14)We estimate that the greater portion of Third World countries' debt has not really been built in financing productive development projects, but for providing possibilities to the industries of the North without considering the economic interests nor the feasibility of these operations, and to facilitate the capital leak instigated by profiteers of all kinds (corrupt politicians, monstrously enriched dictators, narcotics dealers, various middle-men, etc.) towards international financial circulation.

(15)Mexican history provides particularly illuminating illustrations of these mechanisms. After having nationalized its oil resources, and thanks to the perturbations of the World War II, this country had succeded in lauching on a true process of national development with the help of an autonomous industrial basis of accumulation (iron & steel metallurgy and chemistry). Over the 50's and 60's, economic growth of the country was stable and continuous with an average annual increase of 6%. During the 70's, the heads of the country had nevertheless been drawn, it is not clear whether on their own will or by force, into the whirlwind of the oil crisis and international debt; the sudden mirage (partially real) of increased oil takings pushed them into considerably developing the platform of oil export, in taking fruitful commissions on it, at the price of enormous foreign debt which was worsened by the massive leaks of capital. The trap was thus set depriving Mexico of its national savings which were entirely devoted to paying interest on its debt.
After the explosion of the "debt crisis in 1982, the countries creditors, principally involving operators from the USA, taken over by the IMF and the IBRD, imposed deep economic restructuring upon Mexico, implying that the national currency be devalued in order to slow up importation, as well as the dismantling of the state sector and broader opening to international commerce and capital displacement, the whole of this package being introduced under the ideological cover of liberalism. These politics stopped growth between 83 and 87, whereas the privatisation of the public sector paved the way for American multinationals to take the dominant position in the country, in association with local private capital. Public and private creditors of the country at the same time taxed levied significant resources in the form of interest at the price of very sensitively diminishing the living conditions of the population which largely explains the political events of the Chiapas and their echo in the country.
In 1987 the second phase of Mexico's integration into the American economic and financial circulation was being established, with the consacration of Mexico as an "emerging financial market" open to the flow of foreign capital and linked to the dollar. Flow of mainly private American capital was attracted by the march to privatisation, increased interest rates and favours from the the IMF and the IBRD and took up economic ground in Mexico. This provoked a series of linked consequences: stock market increase (48% at the Mexican stock exchange in 1993!), rise of the peso and consequently an increase of importation and weakening of smaller national entreprise, intensive monetary creation through Tresury Bonds being indexed on the dollar (tesobonos) with increased interest rates, in order to finance the deficit in the commercial balance by this flow of foreign capital. In 1993, it was estimated that American investors held 82% of the 20 billion dollars of Mexican tresury bonds and 30% of stock market capitalisation.
The financial crisis of December 20th '94 was the outcome of this second phase; driven back to devaluation, the Mexican government was confronted with massive capital outflow (23.4 billion dollars in 1994) which threatened to spread to other "emerging financial markets" (a mini stock market crash happened in Latin America on the 10th of January '95) and the situation could only be got under control by direct intervention on the part of the American government and the IMF, who had to put out 50 billion dollars for this. World-wide financial panic was thus avoided (atleast until now), but the price to be payed by the Mexicans is very high. The austerity plan imposed on the country has no precedence; new privatisation, the rate of interest is set between 66 and 83% for entreprise, salary are frozen, after a devaluation of 60% and increase in prices of 20 to 80%, etc. It is expected that 500 000 Mexicans lose their jobs. Furthermore, it is to be wondered what is left concerning the independence of the country since the oil takings have been left as a security and the stabilisation funds built by the international financial system will be controlled from abroad. Let us take note of the fact that the direct intervention by the USA to limit the international repercussions of this crisis has been accompanied by the triggering of armed repression of the Chiapas problem.
The Mexican example is not an isolated case; the different phases that we have sketched here are found in many countries of the South. But it is undoubtedly one of the better examples showing the various stages of action that economic and financial practices have both lead to the worsening and globalisation of the problem of the unequal development The present situation in Mexico perhaps shows us the way in which the globalisation we have observed from technological, economical and financial points of view tends to turn out from a political standpoint.

(16)In the conclusion of the 1991 report called "Report on Human Development)" one may read: "We know it is all too often a lack of political will and not resources that is the profound cause of indifference. If we could mobilise the political foundations necessary for action (nationally and globally), the future of human development would be ensured" {PNUD 91}. Unfortunately, the UNDP seems to have abandoned this realist stance since in their last report they are satisfied with proposing to create a "Development Fund" and establish a "Council for Development" apart from the Security Council. Nobel Prize winner Jan TINBERGEN goes as far as to propose a world-wide administration, comprised of ministries, Tresury and World-wide Central Bank, Court of Justice and even world police, but without ever founding his propositions on democratic political institutions. In this case, where will the "political basis" that is likely to defend balanced and sustainable development be found?


{BRI 92} Banque des Règlements Internationaux
- 62¸me rapport annuel, Basle, 15 June 1992.
{OTA 94} Office of Technology Assessment
- Perspectives on the role of Science and Technology in Sustainable Development, U.S. Congress, Washington November 1994
{PNUD 91, 92, 93, 94} Programme des Nations Unies pour le Dˇveloppement
- Rapport Mondial sur le Développement Humain, ECONOMICA Paris 1991 to 1994
{UNCTC 93} Centre des Nations Unies sur les Entreprises Transnationales
- World Investment Report 93: Transnational Corporations and Integrated International Production, New York, United Nations 1993
{UNESCO 91} GOODLAND Robert et allii
- Environmentally sustainable economic development: building on Brundtland, UNESCO, Paris 1991
{UNRISD 94/1} Institut des Nations Unies pour le Développement Social,
Rapport pour le Sommet Mondial pour le Développement Social, Geneva, July 94
{UNRISD 94/2} Institut des Nations Unies pour le Développement Social,
Filets de sécurité sociale et ajustement dans les pays en développement, Geneva, July 94

Other texts have also been submitted for debate in other fields concerned by unequal development (management of natural resources, transfer of technology, urbanization and town and country planning, armed conflicts and breaches of Human Rights, etc.). When the time comes, we will organise an international conference in Cairo that will enable us to come to consensus on which positions should be defended concerning the situations in which unequal development of humanity poses a problem, and on a work programme to further the study of aspects of the problem for which consensus still cannot be obtained.
Point of contact for all critiques, suggestions and contributions to the debate: - c/o CRISS BP47 38040 Grenoble cedex9 France - fax: (33) 76 82 56 75 -

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