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Last Updated: 09/16/2005Time to Call a Spade a Spade
Another World Summit takes place in New York. Kofi Annan has done his best, but is talk cheap?
As we write, one hundred and fifty world leaders are in
The richer are getting richer by a significant margin and many of the poorest are getting even poorer. Aid from the richer countries to the poorer has fallen per capita rather than risen. AIDS, malaria and violent conflict have marched through
Meanwhile the interests of many countries have shifted away from cutting absolute poverty and improving the lot of the poorest and most deprived toward security, preventing internal violence and instability and international terrorism.
Other matters regarded by the Secretary-General as being vital for achieving both development and peace, such as reforming and strengthening the UN will not be discussed at the
The talk of “development” as the solution to world poverty is also fraught with problems since the term itself has never been defined in such a way as to provide real meaning for policy implementation. Economic growth, especially as practiced by the “developed” economies, has not been supplanted meaningfully by sustainable development. There are no signs that economic growth will go away in the foreseeable future, as this is the way forward for the rich to get richer.
Others may be pulled along to increased standards of living while yet others will be separated by their poverty and exclusion from the “benefits” of growth. Perhaps if we started calling a spade a spade it might help. If we call development economic growth again, if we challenge the real meaning of the term civil society and if we call globalization what it is, global capitalism, we might start to get closer to seeing what the solutions could be for improving the lot of the poor among us.
There will be much talking at the
Simon Stander is editor-in-chief of the Peace and Conflict Monitor and associate professor of peace studies at the University for Peace.