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Chapter 11: A Relatively Uninformed

View of the United Nations

The title of this chapter suggests, and rightfully so, that an old farm boy such as myself can only have a limited knowledge of the complex workings of such a large organization as the United Nations. Fortunately, once a person understands some basic principles in life, even sketchy information evaluated in accordance with those principles can still yield some useful ideas.

In Chapter 6 , we concluded that government and force are synonymous terms. The advocacy of World Government, then, is an advocacy of creating an agency capable of effecting legal coercion on a planetary scale. When people insist that World Government is necessary to solve a problem, they are saying that that problem merits the use of force in global proportions.

At present, the primary functions of the United Nations are: peacekeeping, disaster relief, development and environmental protection.

History of the Concept of World Government

The concept of World Government is probably as old as the concept of world itself. (As the concept of the world has expanded, so has the concept of world government .) The ideal of world peace goes back even before the time of Christ. "The oldest, longest-lasting, and most widespread doctrines of peace are religious in origin. The earliest really influential pacifistic teachings were those of Guatama Buddha in the sixth century B.C., and Buddhism became the first pacifistic sect. . . . Some rulers, such as the great Indian emperor of the third century B.C., Asoka, embraced the doctrine of nonviolence, but in subsequent centuries Buddhism was not particularly successful in inducing the heads of state to avoid war."1

History is, for the most part, a record of endless conquests where some people have sought to impose their rule on everyone else. In the words of William Graham Sumner, "All history is only one long story to this effect: Men have struggled for power over their fellow men in order that they might win the joys of earth at the expense of others, and might shift the burdens of life from their own shoulders upon those of others."

Attempts at political integration have been at "one extreme of integration by force or conquest, and another of integration by consent, the first known briefly as imperialism, the second as federalism."2 While the world even today is not lacking for examples of conquest by one nation against another, the United Nations is to be credited for promoting an ideal of joint action through mutual consent among nations.

The ideal of peacekeeping through the integration of independent states is said to go back to "the 'Great Design' of Henry IV of France and his minister, the duc de Sully, . . ."3 A series of attempts at preserving the peace then unfolded, beginning with the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, the Congress of Vienna in 1815, the League of Nations in 1919, and finally the United Nations in 1945.4 The 19th century was a particularly busy time for efforts toward world peace. "Beginning with the efforts of Tsar Alexander I of Russia, the nineteenth century witnessed a number of attempts to organize the principal powers to provide for peace and international security. A number of high-level conferences--notably those at Vienna in 1815, Verona in 1822, London in 1832 and 1871, Paris in 1856, and Berlin in 1878 and 1885--laid valuable ground work for international cooperation for peace. A further impetus toward a viable institutionalized way of promoting world peace was provided by the Hague conferences of 1899 and 1907, which emphasized arbitration and juridical settlements of international disputes."5 Each attempt has been more organized, and to an extent, more successful. For some, this progression is a sign of hope, while for others the successful implementation of world government is cause for fear. Crane Brinton probably sums it up best when he observes, "It would be rash to prophecy an effective world government in the future, but it would equally be shortsighted to maintain that no such government is possible. . . . it is not inconceivable that the United Nations will not develop into such a government."6

Pros and Cons about the United Nations

Given that people's lives will be strongly influenced by world government for good or ill, people are bound to have strong opinions either for or against the United Nations. Proponents say that the United Nations is our only hope for survival on this planet. Others fear the growth of the United Nations, expecting it to fulfill George Orwell's prophecy for humanity in the future: ". . . a boot stamping on a human face--forever."7 When reading books that promote such divergent views, one is hard-pressed to believe that they are writing about the same organization.

Some books declare that the United Nations is simply a tool for spreading communism around the world. U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater (R-Arizona) has been quoted as follows: ". . . the time has come to recognize the United Nations for the anti-American, anti-freedom organization that it has become. The time has come for us to cut off all financial help, withdraw as a member, and ask the United Nations to find a headquarters location outside the United States that is more in keeping with the philosophy of the majority of voting members, someplace like Moscow or Peking."8

Others insist that the UN is little more than an arm of the FBI in particular and an agency of American Foreign policy in general. Regarding the hiring of American citizens to work for the United Nations, Shirley Hazzard insisted: "The present 'clearance,' under United States Executive Order 10459 of 2 June 1953, imposes an investigation of the most exhaustive and exclusively nationalistic kind by the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the FBI, and a battery of related agencies. The very nature of this investigation makes an absurdity of its claim to present only an 'advisory opinion.' That an applicant to an international civil service should be subjected to a preliminary--and obligatory--test of such extreme national orthodoxy is itself a violation of the Charter." To further demonstrate that the United Nations has been a puppet of United States policy over twenty years, she goes on to say: "Almost twenty years later, the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate was writing, in connection with the expulsion of Nationalist China from the United Nations, 'having controlled the United Nations as tightly and as easily as a big-city boss controls his party machine, we had got used to the idea that the United Nations was a place where we could work our will.'"9

Skeptics from both sides are obviously unhappy with either the status quo and/or with what present trends suggest for the future. Peacemakers such as Dag Hammarskjold pleaded for middle ground. "If we are to avoid catastrophe the communist and non-communist nations have got to learn to live together in the same world."10 At a later time, U Thant would say, "When I am equally criticized by the US and the USSR, I know that I am right."11

What The Opponents of the United Nations Say

Complaints about the United Nations come from both conservatives and liberals. Conservatives suggest that the United Nations is a tool for turning the world into one large concentration camp. Some even suggest that it is part of an even larger organized conspiracy. Liberals believe that the UN is being used as a tool of Western imperialism. Finally, there are complaints common to both.

The Conscious Conspiracy Theory

Probably the first group to challenge the United Nations was the John Birch Society. They advanced a theory that suggested that certain extremely intelligent and diabolical men have worked together for centuries to create a one-world government. The first two books, None Dare Call It Treason 12, and None Dare Call It Conspiracy 13, insisted that the world was descending into slavery through the cooperation between Communism in the East and Monopoly Capitalism in the West. To facilitate that cooperation, the United Nations is said to have been created.

According to these books, The Council on Foreign Relations effectively took over the State Department of the United States in the 1930s and started funneling American wealth to communist nations and their satellites through such devices as the "most favored nation treaty status." The theory further suggests that the long-term goal is to reduce America's wealth and power, making people more willing to submit to a higher authority. "The abjectly poor, too, stand in awe of the world around them and are not hospitable to change. It is a dangerous life we live when hunger and cold are at our heels. There is thus a conservatism of the destitute as profound as the conservatism of the privileged, and the former is as much a factor in the perpetuation of the social order as the latter."14 "Therefore a wise prince will seek means by which his subjects will always and in every possible condition of things have need of his government, and then they will always be faithful to him."15

The plan to undermine American wealth and power was said to require two flanks of operation: warfare and welfare. Conservative CFR members were to be the hawks who were to undermine the capital base of the American economy through military exploits and incessant meddling in the affairs of other nations. Their job was to charge around the world, making it a safe place for Democracy. Liberal CFR members were to institute massive welfare programs in order to weaken the capital base and to undermine the will of the American people to work toward self-sufficiency. While liberals and conservatives put on the appearance of being bitter enemies, these books insisted that an educated eye could see their complicity in working toward a common goal--the destruction of America and its individualist way of life.

Conspiracy theories are nice because we "know" who the bad guys are, and of course, the bad guys are always someone other than ourselves. However, for conspiracies to work effectively, the victims must play their roles dutifully too. It has been said that our fear makes us susceptible to being forced, and our greed makes us susceptible to being conned. Consequently, we need to look deeper, even if there is, in fact, a conspiracy.

The Unconscious Conspiracy Theory

The idea of outward enemies being closet allies is nothing new. In Plato's Republic , he observed, "When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader." Machiavelli advised ". . . a wise prince ought, when he has the chance, to foment astutely some enmity, so that by suppressing it he will augment his greatness."16 George Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four , in the section called "The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism,"17 outlined how the three powers were balanced and consequently assisted each respective government in the effective oppression of its own people. While there was continual token fighting in the outlying areas, the real battle was the one each government waged against its own people. Knowing that poor people "nurse no grievances and dream no dreams,"18 the wealth created by the industrial revolution was destroyed by the primary psychologically acceptable method--war. "The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent."19

Although enemy governments may act in such a way as to suggest complicity, it does not automatically follow that there is in fact a conspiracy. Machiavelli's advice suggests unilateral action, but it is quite possible for two opposing sides to share the same strategy. Orwell did not indicate that the apparent complicity was a conspiracy. Rather, he suggested a psychological process called "doublethink." Doublethink is a mental process approximating what I called socially-acceptable schizophrenia in Chapter 9 . "Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."20 According to Orwell, the problem increases in proportion to advancement up the ladder of political power. It is also self-perpetuating because old leaders strongly influence the selection of their replacements, insuring the continuation of the pathology. (On balance, oligarchical systems where leaders choose replacements from their own ranks are generally more enduring than systems that use heredity as the means of passing political power from one generation to the next.)

The Tool of Western Imperialism Theory

There are three basic complaints about the United Nations made by those in the liberal camp. The first is that the UN is a tool for spreading American imperialism. The second is that the UN has acquiesced to a general personnel policy that promotes geographical appointees over proven workers in the general service. Finally, the third complaint is that the UN's demand that critics from the outside approach it with a "bedside manner" has done much to stifle innovation and progress.

The first liberal complaint is that the United Nations is a pawn of the United States. To support this thesis, reference is made to the apparent submissiveness of the first three Secretaries-General to demands made by U.S. authorities such as the FBI. Furthermore, "The reader will not need to be told that, had a secret compact been uncovered between the United Nations Secretary-General and the Soviet government for establishing Soviet control over the administrative policy of the United Nations Secretariat--or indeed for any other purpose--and had the Soviet secret police been installed, by order of the Secretary-General, in the United Nations building, the international outcry would have been such as, in all probability, to bring down the United Nations itself; and the reaction in the United States would quite possibly have placed severe difficulties in the way of American participation in a future United Nations body."21

The next issue relates to employment policies in the UN. According to Shirley Hazzard, "At the time of U Thant's retirement, the New York Times reported the view that 'as far as is known he never challenged a member government when it nominated an ill-equipped man to a position on the staff.' An official United Nation's handbook, Everyman's United Nations , candidly informs us that, with regard to the composition of the secretariat, 'the main concern has been to ensure a more equitable geographical distribution.'"22 (Of course, the United States was not the only nation to closely hand-pick its representatives according to ideology.) That practice has become so widespread that "geographical" posts are numerous.

The injustices caused by political appointments which placed people of questionable skill in higher positions were supported systemically by a dual-hierarchical ranking system, much like the officer/enlisted rank structure in military establishments. "By 1951 the staff had been arbitrarily and inflexibly divided into two categories, 'Professional' and 'General Service'--although many in the lower, General Service category were doing the identical work of their Professional counterparts. The General Service was intended to absorb those 'local recruits' in junior positions, without rights of repatriation or home leave, and without privileged standing in the eyes of their countries' delegations. (The majority of these were United States citizens, but many non-Americans were included.) These people were to be frozen, so to speak, at their posts (of secretary, clerk, or 'administrative assistant') like Pompeiian relics, with virtually no possibility of promotion into the Professional grades and little advance within their own."23

Of course, this could be seen as sour grapes. Shirley Hazzard, in an aside, tells her story. "The last several years of my own decade in the United Nations General Service Category were spent filling a Professional post and functions--a situation common enough in the General Service. It is perhaps worth recording that, in response to requests from supervisors that I be exalted to the commensurate rank, one personnel official declared I should be content with having these higher duties to perform; while another assured me that it would be simpler to make the Professional promotion if I resigned from the United Nations altogether and reapplied, rather than convulse the bureaucratic firmament by advancing me from the General Service after a mere ten years."24 To her credit, however, she did find an authoritative quote to substantiate her conclusion. "Many professional staff members are compelled to conclude that, in the long run, the quality of their work is less important to their career than cultivating a network of personal contacts within the secretariat and even among delegations, and securing assignments in which they can make a name for themselves."25

Ultimately, Ms. Hazzard concluded that the United Nations could be neutral at best because of the paranoia and political appointments resulting from security clearance policies of member nations--especially the United States. "Thinking, especially fresh thinking, can only be done by thinkers. And it must be remembered that the United Nations, reinforced by security clearances and geographical distribution, has resolutely set its face against the exceptional and the cerebral, and has itself decreed that those who find its established attitudes unacceptable 'must leave the service.' So much for ideas, particularly new ideas: short of actual oppression, there can be few climates as little likely to nurture productive trains of individual thought as that prevailing within the present United Nations Organization."26

Finally, the emphasis on political appointment has a strong influence on management styles and in turn on overall effectiveness of the organization. Two instances are recounted to illustrate this point. First, the "1968 UN Conference on Trade and Development held at New Delhi was directed at securing from wealthy nations the pledge of providing aid equivalent to one percent of their gross national income to the poorer countries. Of this arbitrary objective, Samuel P. Huntington, Professor of Government at Harvard, has written: 'There is something clearly wrong with a program when its goal has to be expressed in terms of how much should be spent on it rather than what should be achieved by it. . . . It is . . . a simplistic slogan symbolizing a backward-looking approach to the critical demands of development.'"27

The second illustration of the bureaucratic mentality is in regard to foreign aid. "In an endless attempt to cut the developmental ground from under one another, spokesmen for the agencies constantly tour the underdeveloped lands, like so many brush salesmen, urging their particular brands of 'progress' over their UN rival's. Jackson, condemning the 'element of salesmanship, particularly at programming time, which local officials find confusing and Resident Representatives find embarrassing,' reports that the number of officials visiting underdeveloped countries often 'exceeded--sometimes by a considerable margin--the total number of UN experts already serving in the country. In absolute terms, the figures often signified two or three visitors per working day.'"28

In some respects, the charge that the United Nations is an extension of United States foreign policy has some plausibility. A couple of decades ago, while "[i]nterviewed in his eighteen-room official residence in the Waldorf Towers, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, George Bush, a Texas millionaire, remark[ed], 'we're in the process of adjusting to all this opulence.'"29 A few years ago, President Bush made good use of the UN during Desert Storm to beat up on Saddam Hussein. (He ended up doing more damage to the world's taxpayers than to Mr. Hussein himself.)

What the Proponents Say

Proponents of the United Nations challenge the notion of national sovereignty by pointing to the abuses of human rights around the world. "Nationalism is to nations what egotism is to individuals, but much worse. Oppressive acts and propaganda are justified by the 'reasons of state.' Rarely are nations brought before tribunals and punished as are individuals. National 'sovereignty' often means impunity and tyranny."30 There is certainly no lack of evidence to prove that state's have a tendency to abuse their citizens.

According to some, tinkering with the United Nations would only make it worse. "[I]t is often said that there is no point in reviewing the United Nations Charter to look for ways of changing it. 'If we renegotiated the Charter, we would not come out with as good a document as we have already.' You have heard it said many times; I used to say it myself when I had some responsibility for U.S. participation in the world organization."31 Others, such as Robert Muller, are more modest. "I will cease defending the United Nations only when I am offered a better world institution."32 Mr. Muller has proven himself exceptionally open minded because he has lent his moral support to many organizations who are addressing the issue of world government from divergent viewpoints, including organizations such as the World Constitution and Parliament Association, headed by Philip Isley, who wants to dismantle the UN and start over.33

Another important philosophical point that defenders of the UN make is that we as individuals should identify with humanity at large, rather than just our own immediate group. Establishing our worth as human beings based on an accident of birth is a ludicrous way of building self-esteem, and it has cost humanity dearly over the centuries.

The final point that proponents make is that the UN has developed the most comprehensive list of human rights ever developed. "The international human rights movement took these eighteenth-century ideas of individual autonomy and freedom and combined them with nineteenth- and twentieth-century ideas of socialism and the welfare state. International human rights, however, reflect no single, comprehensive theory of the relation of the individual to society (other than what is implied in the very concept of rights). That there are 'fundamental human rights' was a declared article of faith, 'reaffirmed' by 'the peoples of the United Nations' in the UN Charter."34 Such a wide array of rights should keep both the capitalist and the communist countries happy, provided they wake up and realize that compromise is possible.

Ethical Issues Pertaining to World Government

As has already been considered in Chapters 3 and 5 , we must be careful how we apply the coercive power of government. Hopefully, by now I have demonstrated that voluntary relationships are superior to coercion (assuming that peace and prosperity are the values we seek), and that if we are to choose coercion, we should do so very carefully. Given that many advocates of funding charity through international coercion propose to plunder social systems that work marginally well for the benefit of social systems that do not work at all, world government may well create the opposite of what it has promised.

An example of such thinking is:

Today resources exist in such abundance that a world-wide extension of the principle of welfare is physically possible. All that is lacking is the political decision to do so. Is it possible that a society which boasts of its humanity and its Christian inspiration should ignore the challenge? Is it conceivable that such a society, having done so, should deserve to survive?35

This declaration is almost Hitleresque. (When the German people started losing World War II, Hitler ordered his solders into suicidal battles with the belief that the German people deserved to perish because they had failed to accomplish the impossible task he had set before them.)

Contrary to the notions of those who have little understanding of wealth- creation, distribution is not the only problem humanity faces. As it is, nations are routinely undoing the accomplishments of previous generations without outside help. America, for instance, is crippling itself with its internal welfare programs. Therefore, the declaration that industrial nations should be able to finance international welfare is a declaration of suicide.

Maybe we should suggest instead that people in poorer nations should have fewer obstacles erected between them and the resources they need for survival. To do otherwise is "revolting against an affect without, while all the time . . . nurturing its cause within."36 A larger superstructure of coercion placed on top of already too coercive national governments will not help. In America, some people worship on the holy ground of "states rights." However, freedom or oppression is not the product of a government's size. Rather, freedom or oppression is the result of the basic assumptions guiding a government. Grassroots tyranny is just as bad as any other kind of tyranny.

There are many who oppose the United Nations simply on the grounds of "national sovereignty." Instead of advocating state-states' rights , they advocate nation-state's rights . What these people fail to note is that national boundaries are established quite arbitrarily, and they serve primarily as "people pens" in which political leaders keep their "talking tools." The concept of states' rights is not a panacea, given that governments of small land masses are just as likely to abuse their power as are governments of large land masses. The individual states within the United States, for instance, have as many or more meddling little laws as the federal government.

Political Issues and World Government

If world government will limit itself to the use of defensive force on behalf of ordinary honest and productive people, it will perform an unparalleled service to mankind. This, of course, will not be easy. Such a government has to erect and maintain itself against the human predators who at present roam the planet so freely. Such a government will be resisted by the more sophisticated predators who seek to control the rule space in order to tilt the market in their favor. Finally, it will have to resist the pleas of wretched souls who want to rule others simply because they prefer minding everyone else's business instead of their own. In the words of Thomas Paine, "The nearer any government approaches to a Republic, the less business there is for a King."37

The notion that principles which fail on smaller land masses will somehow magically work on larger land masses must be reconsidered. The democratic socialists, confronted with failures of their principles on smaller land masses, tell us that, "there are certainly moral and rational reasons for a new world order and, to begin with, aid on a strikingly much higher level. In particular, people in rich countries could be challenged to bring down their levels of food consumption."38 This logic takes the assumption that poor people are poor because rich people are rich to the next level--poor countries are poor because rich countries are rich. What is overlooked is that people in poor countries are in the same predicament as the man stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean: "resources, resources everywhere, but none to use."

Constitutional Issues Regarding World Government

We often hear arguments about whether or not a law or government activity is "constitutional." For many people, a constitution is treated as if it were created by an intelligence other than human. However, just the same as laws, much mischief can be done in the name of a constitution. Should we fail to remember this point when it comes to a world government, the consequences could be even more dire and intractable than they are now in our nation-states.

Once again, the best description of the difference between law and a constitution comes from Fred Holden: "law is where the government tells the people what to do, and the constitution is where the people tell the government what to do." Another way of saying it is that a constitution is supposed to prescribe limits on government's ability to write laws that restrict the freedom of the people.

A constitution does not, by itself, protect the people. First, there are constitutions all over the world which give virtually unlimited power to government and thereby sanction abuses of the people. Other constitutions are marginally effective at first, until the meanings of the words are turned around by clever lawyers in a system based on legal precedent.

Since America's inception, the "constitution of the people" has changed dramatically, and although we have the same constitutional wording, the interpretation of its meaning is radically different.

Ultimately, constitutions are only as effective as the people who live under them. "Wherefore, laying aside all national pride and prejudice in favour of modes and forms, the plain truth is that it is wholly owing to the constitution of the people, and not to the constitution of the government that the crown is not as oppressive in England as in Turkey."39 If the people are predominantly production-oriented, they will support a government that leaves them free to do their work. If the people are coercion-minded, they will seek to legitimize "feeding at the public trough."

The constitution of the United Nations is the UN Charter which was signed in San Francisco in June, 1945. Its purpose is to outline how member nations should conduct themselves during dispute resolution processes in order to free the planet from the scourge of war. Compliance with the UN charter is voluntary, much like the "Confederation of States" was in colonial America. (Groups such as the World Federalist Association are working to strengthen the UN by promoting the concept of world federalism for the same reason the United States went from a confederate system to a federal system.)

While all attempts at revising the UN Charter have failed, several new documents have been developed to further clarify and strengthen the UN. The first such document is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , written in 1948. When Robert Muller spoke at the Denver University School of Law, he made the observation that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes all the rights that the founding fathers of America thought of plus some others that they had never even dreamed of.

In addition to "the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, entered into force in 1976; and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, also entered into force in 1976."40 Most recently, "A United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea reached broad agreement on many of these questions and was signed by 156 nations by 1992."41

Analysis of the UN Charter and Its Companion Documents

The UN Charter and its companion documents cannot be accused of exhibiting anything but the best of intentions . Who could possible fault any organization that promises world peace, universal prosperity, and maybe even universal brotherly love?

Unfortunately, good intentions do not necessarily guarantee good outcomes. In the two years I have been writing this book, the UN has suffered several defeats in its efforts toward peacekeeping. Most recently, NATO declared that it will start operating independently of UN command. As for whether NATO can do a better job in Bosnia, we will have to wait and see. (I doubt it.)

In order to understand the adventures the UN has embarked on, and the outcomes of those adventures, it is valuable to explore the core assumptions that guide UN policy. When we look at UN documents, we need to answer some key questions: 1., What is the role of government in the world order?; 2., What is the status of the individual in the world order?; 3., What is the role of national governments?, and 4., What is meant by human rights? Answers to these questions will give us valuable clues as to what to expect when the UN's policies are implemented.

Answering these questions is not easy. I have found it virtually impossible to find any official commentary whose second assertion did not contradict the first. Consequently, the first three questions can only be addressed by pointing out some of these contradictions. Analyzing these contradictions will be done while considering the fourth question.

What is the Role of Government in the World Order?

Presently, it is assumed that government has three major functions: predator control, economic regulation, and redistribution of wealth. In theory, a world government should perform all of these functions more efficiently because no one could oppose it. (In practice, as long as individual human beings exist, opposition is always a possibility.) The UN Charter, the Declaration and the Covenants do nothing to alter these assumptions.

Regarding predator control, "The fundamental purpose of the United Nations is the preservation of peace and international security."42 It is assumed that member nations will control their internal predators, and that the UN's primary job is to keep the members from feeding on each other.

The United Nations also has accepted the task of defending both political rights and economic rights. "The international human rights movement took these eighteenth-century ideas of individual autonomy and freedom and combined them with nineteenth- and twentieth-century ideas of socialism and the welfare state. International human rights, however, reflect no single, comprehensive theory of the relation of the individual to society (other than what is implied in the very concept of rights). That there are 'fundamental human rights' was a declared article of faith, 'reaffirmed' by 'the peoples of the United Nations' in the UN Charter. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, striving for a pronouncement that would appeal to diverse political systems governing diverse peoples, built on that faith and shunned philosophical exploration."43

These goals are reflected in the UN Charter, Chapter IX, Article 55.

With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote:
a. higher standards of living, full-employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development;
b. solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems; and international cultural and educational cooperation; and
c. universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.44

Of course, the conflict between positive and negative rights has been explored in earlier chapters, but it will be considered again later in this chapter. For now, it is worth noting that the UN is being very pragmatic: "Expediency or opportunism is the rule of statesmanship, not abstraction as to the philosophic nature of the state. . ."45 Jimmy Carter summed up this attitude as follows:

By ratifying the covenant on civil and political rights, a government pledges, as a matter of law, to refrain from subjecting its own people to arbitrary imprisonment or to cruel or degrading treatment. It recognizes the right of every person to freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of association, the right of peaceful assembly, and the right to emigrate from one's country. . . .
By ratifying the other covenant on economic, social, and cultural rights a government commits itself to its best efforts to secure for its citizens the basic standards of material existence, social justice, and cultural opportunity.46

What is the Status of the Individual in the World Order?

There is much talk of the individual in the new world order, but there is also much disagreement as to the individual's actual status.

The Philippines representative stressed the need for a balance between political and economic rights while both Drs. Chung and Malik emphasized the importance that individual rights must have over the rights of nations. "If the proposed Bill," said the Lebanese delegate, "did not stipulate the existence of the individual and his need for protection in his struggle against the State, the Commission would never achieve its intended purpose." Vladislav Ribnikar of Yugoslavia disagreed. He claimed that "the social principle comes first"; that the "new conditions of modern times" make the "common interest . . . more important than the individual interest."47

In other words, for all the millions of man-hours of debate that had taken place, it was not agreed as to whether government should be the servant of the people or if it should be the master. Consequently, an attempt was made to compromise between the two. "By late 1947, in order to reduce the risk that the Bill would be held hostage to ideological differences, the Commission agreed to divide it into three parts: a Declaration, a Covenant, and machinery for implementation. The Declaration would be a statement of principles and as such be more politically palatable than a Covenant which would contain explicit legal obligations."48

In recent years there has been more bold questioning of a government's right to abuse and torture its subjects. "Before the Second World War, scholars and diplomats assumed that international law allowed each equal sovereign an equal right to be monstrous to his subjects. Summary execution, torture, conviction without due process (or any process, for that matter) were legally significant events only if the victim of such official eccentricities were the citizen of another state."49 People were considered primarily the property of the state, so the abuse of foreigners was objected to because it was seen primarily as an affront to the dignity of their state of origin, and only secondarily because of the inconvenience visited upon the individual in question.

Thus far, about all that has been accomplished is talk about individual rights. Even within nations, individual dignity is secondary to state vanity. In Chapter 6 it was noted that in criminal law, the emphasis is placed on punishment, leaving the victim without restitution and faced with the additional penalty of paying for the criminal's incarceration. Human rights violations evoke little more than hooting and hollering from non-aligned parties, but even they lack the force of ethical clarity required to motivate positive action to stop those violations.

What is the Role of National Governments?

National governments must be recognized by the United Nations and given some form of legitimacy, if for no other reason than the fact that the UN depends on them for funding. After all, they are the ones who have access to resources and to the people who transform those resources into life-sustaining commodities.

National governments hold the trump card in the game of creating a world government. According to Emery Reves, "The simple truth requires that 'We, the people . . .' in the preamble of the charter be accurately read: 'We, the High Contracting Powers.'"50

In general, we can expect business as usual. For the most part, the differences between relatively free nations and totalitarian nations have been downplayed by the intellectual defenders of UN documents. For instance:

If there is to be a universal human rights ideology, if there are to be international human rights agreements including both Communist and Western states, in the hope of protecting other civil and political rights, the West will have to acquiesce in the view that the Communist system is not intrinsically inconsistent with the Declaration and the Covenant, even while the West may hope and work for movement towards greater political freedom in Communist countries.51

And how about this for some fancy footwork?

It is not enough to perceive the dominating authority only in negative terms, as censor, obstacle, oppressor, who tells us all the things we cannot do, who forbids. The effect of this is to see only from a one-dimensional perspective, where the oppressing power is always clearly negative: a National Security state, a dictatorship, or a "strong democracy," a proletarian dictatorship whose principal role is the use of force to control its people, ordering them to accept its conditions, prohibitions, and standards.
This dominating authority is not only repressive. It also creates active or passive consensus--produces a way of seeing and expressing things that is conditioned by its structure--establishes forms of communication and relationships among the public that serve to legitimize its actions.
For this reason it is important to see what form the power networks of consensus or opposition take in a society that faces these dominating governments.
The legal system in such a society, for example, cannot be treated as a mere reflection of the social organization--it must also be recognized as part of the very form of that society. It is a complex, biased instrument that plays roles on behalf of domination as well as in defense of the dominated.52

Some of these intellectuals "so 'beat about the bush' that involuntarily one would recall even castor oil with a certain tenderness."53 Apparently, if we are to take the above writing seriously, all is happening just as it should.

In addition to downplaying the difference between freedom and tyranny, many UN policies have the consequence of strengthening governments at the expense of the people. This is most evident in the way foreign aid is administered. "[G]overnments engaged in comprehensive planning are treated preferentially in the allocation of aid, since it is widely believed that comprehensive planning is a precondition for material progress."54 Consequently, some observers have been so rash as to suggest that, "Most development economists are statists."55

In short, under UN tutelage we can expect the power of member governments to increase while the freedoms of individuals decrease. Recalling our discussion in Chapter 5 , a government active in the economy is called a "mixed economy." Once again, "In a mixed economy, one of the two elements gradually withers away. That element is not the state."56

What is Meant by "Human Rights"?

Human rights is a hot topic, especially now that we have discovered rights that "the forefathers of the American revolution never even dreamed of." Somehow we are supposed to allow people to live free and productive lives, and yet force them to serve the interests of those who are not productive (for whatever reason). While the number of rights is growing daily, for the sake of comprehensibility, we will limit our discussion to individual/political rights, economic rights, attempts to reconcile individual/political and economic rights, and finally, property rights.

Individual/Political rights

In a world where language is so malleable and often deprived of existential referents, writing about subjects like rights can be very difficult. In many writings, political and individual rights are used interchangeably. In other writings, once the fog has cleared, political rights are antithetical to individual rights. Consequently, in this section we will consider both categories of individual/political rights. For the sake of brevity, they will be referred to as political rights.

Political rights can be defined two ways. One way is to see political rights as being the right to be left alone so long as one does not infringe on those same rights of others. The other way of viewing political rights is involving as many people in the political process as possible. As we approach the Third Millennium, the second viewpoint is the most common one. We often hear, "It doesn't matter how you are involved in politics. All that matters is that you are involved."

One spectacle that has risen in consequence of this perspective is the increasing tension that is manifesting on the streets and in the capitals of many nations around the world. In the name of self-determination, blood is being spilled all over the world. "The Third World became independent, but for the most part is not free. A domestic ruling elite took power from a foreign ruling elite. While I cannot prove the proposition empirically, on the whole and particularly for the former British colonies, I think the peoples of the Third World enjoy less freedom under their own ruling elite than they did under colonization."57 Colonization cannot be defended on moral or ethical grounds, but going from being insulted by people from another race to being killed by people of one's own race hardly constitutes an improvement.

Of course, outright killing, raping and pillaging is not what our political scientists are calling for. Although they advocate the moral assumptions underlying these extremes of coercive behavior, they are often sincerely horrified when those moral assumptions are carried to their logical extreme. (At least we can hope that they are squeamish in these matters.)

In Chapter 5 , it was noted that putting everyone's life, liberty and property up for a vote is counterproductive, even if it is being done in the name of political rights. If we desire to promote peace on the planet, we will want to reconsider the first version of political rights--the right to be left alone.

Economic Rights

Economic rights imply the right to enjoy a minimum standard of living regardless of one's level of production. This means that if one person fails to produce a sufficient amount to meet that standard, someone else will be forced to make up the difference.

On the international level we discover that, "In the words of the late Professor Nurske, 'a country is poor because it is poor.'"58 That is, of course, stating it nicely. Others suggest that rich countries are rich because poor countries are poor. Consequently, a rich nation that does not give enough is violating the human rights of those living in poor countries, but the poor countries themselves are held blameless. "[T]he International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights expressly permits derogation from many rights during public emergencies that 'threaten the life of the nation.' Economic social rights in particular cannot be enjoyed as fully in a country which is underdeveloped."59

On the other hand, attempts made by developing nations to assert their right to reach into the pockets of the developed nations have not been as fruitful as human rights ideology would wish for. "[T]he developing countries, using their overwhelming majority, voted to establish the United Nations Development Fund in disregard of the unanimous opposition of the United States, France, the United Kingdom and other developed countries that were expected to be the major donors to the Fund. The result became a U.N. joke: a U.N. Fund without funds."60 Apparently, nations, as well as individuals, often choose to fall short of the ideal enshrined in the morality of sacrifice.

Attempts to reconcile political and economic rights

For the most part, the notion that political and economic rights are compatible is taken as an article of faith. Raymond Gastil, the director of Freedom House, designed what is considered the most comprehensive model for measuring human rights, and the violations thereof.61 "While the Gastil freedom measures have gained widespread acceptance among scholars, they are subject to criticism because they do not distinguish between natural (negative) and human (positive) rights. Negative rights are those that freely constituted societies reserve for themselves exclusively, denying government any, or giving it little, power to interfere. . . . Being redistributive in character, positive rights interfere with and diminish negative rights. The government cannot simultaneously protect individual freedom and inject its coercive power to redistribute income from one group to another deemed more worthy."62

Fortunately, not all scholars have been content to address the above argument simply with emotional denunciations. Sylvia Law, in her essay entitled "Economic Justice," began by stating her intent: "The goal of this essay is to participate in the debate about American social policy and law by focusing on one theme: that economic justice and civil liberties are not only compatible, but mutually reinforcing."63 Although her logic begged the question, her ideas were refreshingly creative.

Government Largess and Property Rights

The essence of her defense of distributive justice came from citing a Supreme Court decision (Goldberg v. Kelly , 397 U S. 254 (1970)), and an essay written by Professor Charles Reich (C. Reich, "The New Property," 73 Yale Law Journal (1964)). Let's consider how this delightful line of reasoning flows.

To begin with, we must consider Professor Reich's thesis, given that he was the intellectual godfather of the Supreme Court decision. "In 1964 Prof. Charles Reich formulated a new approach to the relation between economic arrangements and civil liberty, appropriate to the growing welfare state. He focused on one function that property serves in human life. Property maintains 'independence, dignity and pluralism in society by creating zones within which the majority has to yield to the owner. Whim, caprice, irrationality and 'anti-social' activities are given the protection of the law; the owner may do what all or most of his neighbors decry. The Bill of Rights also serves this function, but while the Bill of Rights comes into play only at extraordinary moments of conflict or crisis, property affords day-to-day protection in the ordinary affairs of life. Indeed, in the final analysis the Bill of Rights depends upon the existence of private property.'"64 Initially, if one does not read closely, one would think he was a staunch advocate of property rights. These are some very strong words in support of the concept that material bodies need access to material resources for survival. The kicker, of course, is that this "new property" must be understood in a context "appropriate to the growing welfare state."

Our next issue to consider is the concept of government largess as property. "Since the 1930s an ever-increasing amount of individual economic resource has taken the form of largess from the government as licenses, franchises, subsidies, taxi medallions, TV channels, and liquor permits. Until the late 1960s the assumption was that the government could grant or deny such largess on whatever terms it chose. The result was that the basic material support and security of increasing numbers of people depended upon explicit government power that often seemed arbitrary and unchallengeable."65

This line of logic is starting to make sense. After all, if we are going to have welfare for the rich, it is only right that we have welfare for the poor as well. This would suggest that we either need to eliminate welfare or make it universal. Wouldn't it be great if we all could quit working and let the government take care of us? But then again, this is too simple, and our good logician is not about to let us escape so easily.

"In characterizing welfare as property the Court recognized that property rights are not natural, immutable, or inherent, but only grant their possessors such power as the courts and legislatures choose to recognize. Property, whether in the form of land, wages, welfare, or a license to practice law, is what the society defines it to be. At the same time, the Court held that the government is not entirely free to dictate the terms and conditions upon which welfare is granted. Due process requires fundamental fairness, whatever that might mean in a particular context. The idea that property is whatever we say it is squarely conflicts with the idea that the Constitution protects individuals from forfeiture of 'property' without due process of law."66 Luckily for us, "This flat and open inconsistency is a good, healthy thing, for it forces us to confront the substantive political values at stake."67

What are the substantive political values at stake? "Corporations are not people. They are socially created means to an end, while we are all ends in ourselves. 'Neutrality' does not require that we pretend that the property of General Motors is equivalent to the property of the welfare check."68 In other words, property acquired as government largess is superior to property acquired through work and trade. Granted, some of General Motors' wealth is the result of "monopoly rent" and "regulatory capture", but the holders of General Motors stock are people too, and not all of them are filthy rich. Many of them even had to work in order to purchase their shares of stock.

Under this theory, property acquired through redistribution is not supposed to be taken away without due process of law. This means that people whose property is taken to provide this largess are not as deserving of due process of law as those who receive the largess. If you are productive, your purpose in life is to work for those who are not productive. If you are not productive, you have the right to live for your own sake.

Property Rights and the United Nations

In the last section we noted that property acquired through government largess deserves stronger protections than does property acquired through work and trade. However, this does not tell us the general attitude of the United Nations toward property, nor what trends are developing as the UN becomes more entrenched.

"[M]issing from the Covenant is any counterpart to Article 17 of the Declaration: '1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. 2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.' It proved difficult to get agreement on the wording of such a right by states differing widely in political-economic philosophy; many states were particularly resistant to language that might be held to require states to provide 'prompt, adequate, and effective' compensation for nationalized foreign investments."69 If this kind of quibbling is being done regarding nationalizing the property of foreigners, what does this portend for those poor souls living in their own countries?

Of course, the author then quickly attempts to reassure us. "The absence of such a provision, however, can hardly be construed as rejecting the existence in principle of a human right to own property and not to be arbitrarily deprived of it."70 How sweet can life get? Somehow the right to own property in principle is supposed to compensate for us not having the right to own property in fact .

Overall, there is no cause for surprise. The right of individual property ownership has never been popular in the East. In addition, "the idea of individual rights seems less attractive in the West in modern times. Some view rights less as a natural endowment of man than as mere legally protected interests that must be weighed against the larger social interests."71

The Law of the Seas provides us with an example of modern property rights. It is acknowledged that abundant resources exist at the bottom of the ocean. In particular, manganese nodules containing copper, nickel, and cobalt represent a potentially rich harvest. However, there is a catch. Mining them will be very expensive.

When I was at a meeting of the World Federalist Association in Denver, one of the members passed around a letter to Colorado representatives and senators in Washington for us to sign. The letter called for ratification of The Law of the Seas because it is important that those resources be recognized as the common property of all.

Luckily for me, the people at the meeting were gracious when I politely declined to sign their letter. I could not help but think of the over-fishing and the general destruction of waters that are currently considered common property. Once again, it is good to be reminded of the tragedy of the commons: that which is owned by everyone is taken care of by no one. In addition, the lack of control over water areas creates an incentive to use as many resources as possible before someone else gets there first. "Nothing incites people to deplete forests, soils, or water supplies faster than fear they will soon lose access to them."72

Instead of expanding the concept of communal property, we need to think twice about where we are presently applying it. In the areas where fish supplies are dwindling, it would be better for ocean properties to be sold in one-mile-square or ten-mile-square increments. The owners would then have exclusive fishing rights on their property (or the right to rent out those rights). In addition, because it would be impractical to fence in those properties, the fish would tend to migrate to ocean "plots" where owners are not so short-sighted in their harvesting methods.

Another difficulty with property ownership in common is that it inevitably degenerates into resource allocation by political fiat instead of resource allocation according to people's ability to satisfy the desires of customers. If The Law of the Seas does succeed in commandeering the wealth of industrial nations for a bureaucratically managed manganese nodule mining operation, we can be sure that it will consume more resources than it generates. (In accounting, this is called "operating at a loss.")

Regarding more general property issues, "Article 1(2) proclaims the general principle that one country should not exploit the natural resources of another. This paragraph, however, is not merely a reaffirmation of the right of every state over its own natural resources; it clearly provides that the right over natural wealth belongs to peoples. This has two distinct consequences. For dependent peoples, the right implies that the governing authority is under the duty to use the economic resources of the territory in the interest of the dependent people. In a sovereign state, the government must utilize the natural resources so as to benefit the whole people. The right of the people over natural resources, and the corresponding duty of the government, are but a consequence, in economic matters, of the people's right to (internal) self-determination in the political field."73 As usual, we will have to use a scraper to clear away all the euphemistic language in order to get to the point.74

This passage is permeated with paternalism for "dependent peoples." Property is said to belong to the people in common, but only governments have the wisdom necessary to use resources properly. Nevertheless, surprise among surprises, sometimes even governments fall short of this lofty ideal. Because of these "failures of government," it is important for as many people as possible to have access to the political process. In the end, we discover that individuals do have the right to control resources, but only in proportion to their success as individuals influencing the political process.

If this whole line of logic seems preposterous, you are catching on. "[N]othing is more senseless than to base so many expectations on the state, that is, to assume the existence of collective wisdom and foresight after taking for granted the existence of individual imbecility and improvidence."75

Foreign Aid and World Banking

It has been an article of faith for some time now that if we dump capital on poor countries, they will "somehow" be transformed into prosperous cultures. This, of course, is yet another expression of the "passive man, active matter" philosophy that guides so much policy making today. As it turns out, however, aid seems to have worked in some places, but not in others. The fact that it didn't work in all cases indicates that there may in fact exist a more important variable that hasn't been considered yet.

In Chapter 2 , we noted that capital is simply labor that was not consumed. This means that capital can be generated no matter how destitute a people might be if only they have the will to do so. If the "vicious cycle of poverty" theories that suggest that development is not possible in countries where annual income is low were true, the whole of humanity would still be back in the Stone Age. Because some of humanity has escaped the grinding poverty of the Stone Age, and others have not, we are once again obliged to look for another hypothesis if we are to find an answer.

One hypothesis to consider is this:

What, then, are the cultural forces that facilitate or suppress the expression of human creative capacity and that influence movement toward or away from this increasingly universal aspirational model? There are, in my view, four fundamental factors: (1) the degree of identification with others in a society--the radius of trust, or the sense of community; (2) the rigor of the ethical system; (3) the way authority is exercised within the society; and (4) attitudes about work, innovation, saving, and profit. These factors flow from the overarching world view of a society, what social scientists refer to as "cognitive orientation" or "cognitive view."76

Furthermore, "if the conditions for development other than capital are present, the capital will either be generated locally or be available commercially from abroad."77 In other words, poor countries are not poor by accident.

In earlier chapters it has been demonstrated that people who are free to pursue their inspirations are more prosperous than people who are hobbled by their governments. Poor countries in general have cultural attitudes that are hostile to development, and they have governments which are hostile to anything that might encroach on their power. Consequently, forcing development on them is like forcing the proverbial camel through the eye of a needle. (In addition to the question of whether it is possible to force poor nations to develop, we must also ask ourselves if it is ethical.)

The Effectiveness of Foreign Aid

Thus far, foreign aid's record has been quite dismal. For anyone who has followed the thesis of this book, these "unintended consequences" should not come as a surprise. Nevertheless, it is useful to survey some of the numbers surrounding development statistics.

A 1986 World Bank study concluded that the Bank-funded enterprises "represent a depressing picture of inefficiency, losses, budgetary burdens, poor products and services and minimal accomplishment." Other World Bank studies admitted that fully 75 percent of its African agricultural projects, totaling billions of dollars, had failed, that nearly 60 percent of its projects around the world were either "complete failures" or had "serious shortcomings," and that 60 percent of those projects judged to be successes were not sustainable after completion. And in a 1989 report, the Agency for International Development (AID), which administers United States foreign aid, acknowledged that all too often aid resulted in dependency rather than development and that even where growth occurred, "development assistance, overall, has played a secondary role." Of the scores of countries receiving U.S. assistance, AID was able to cite just three success stories: Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.78

And what about these success stories? "[W]hen one looks for success stories in economic development, one finds Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea--countries that largely escaped the attention of development experts during the 1950s through the 1970s."79 In short, the Asian tigers went their own way, promoting greater economic freedom, if not political freedom.

In short, UN philosophy, which calls for central planning and sees capital as active and labor as passive, has not worked very well. "Could it be that the relative failure of aid, or at least the disappointment over the effectiveness of aid, has something to do with our materialist philosophy which makes us liable to overlook the most important preconditions of success, which are generally invisible?"80 In the words of P.T. Bauer and John O'Sullivan, "economic achievement depends principally on people's attitudes, motivations, mores, and government policies. People in LDC's [less developed countries] may place a high value on factors that obstruct material progress. They may be reluctant to take animal life, they may prefer the contemplative life over an active one, they oppose paid work by women, or they may simply be fatalistic. If on account of such factors, they are uncongenial to material progress, then external doles will not promote development."81

The Politics of Foreign Aid

The fact that foreign aid has not worked as planned has done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of vested interests. In fact, "It is now sometimes suggested that foreign aid is necessary to enable less developed countries to service subsidized loans under earlier foreign aid arrangements. . . . The inability of underdeveloped countries to service earlier soft loans shows that these have not been used productively, as otherwise the governments could easily service these obligations. . . . To suggest that aid should be provided to meet this situation is a notable example of the axiomatic approach to aid: whatever the result of past aid, it can always be invoked as justification for more."82 This scenario was anticipated by James Madison when he described "the old trick of turning every contingency into a resource for accumulating force in government."83

Obviously, if failure is not a deterrent to continuing and/or expanding programs, another motivation must be present. "The aid 'industry' is a lucrative business, with hundreds of vice-presidents, directors, and outside consultants earning well in excess of $100,000 a year, excluding lucrative fringe benefits. But aid workers have little interest in eliminating the poverty they are officially employed to combat. On the contrary, the more poverty means larger budgets."84

Ultimately, there is a symbiotic relationship between the aid agencies and the recipient governments. On one hand, "promotions depend more on meeting or exceeding lending targets rather than worrying about the soundness of loans, as commercial banks must do. And since it is easier to meet one's quota with a handful of big loans than with many small ones, the incentive is to 'lend big, lend fast.'"85 On the other hand, "The poorer the country, the more aid the rulers receive; the more a country develops, the less money they get. It is hardly surprising that some of the wealthiest individuals in the world, whose fortunes are in the billions of dollars, are rulers of some of the world's poorest countries."86 With a perverse set of incentives like that, we probably should be surprised that things are not even worse.

Finally, if some authority is going to decide what the minimum standard of living must be throughout the world, differences in social mores and value systems will have to be standardized. "Attempts to eliminate or even to reduce these differences substantially, therefore, require close and intensive control over people's lives, that is, the creation of great inequalities of power. The more diverse the conditions and the more deep-seated the causes of the diversity, the more intensive is the coercion required to standardize them. A large measure of international standardization of material conditions postulates world government with totalitarian powers."87

The Ethics of Foreign Aid

In earlier chapters, the legitimacy of using coercion to fund and administer charity has been questioned. In those chapters, the focus was on domestic welfare. Naturally, this chapter must focus on "foreign welfare." Any discussion of foreign aid, as should any discussion about coercive charity, must start with a survey of the various coercion strategies being used.

The first strategy is, of course, force. "Foreign aid is taxpayers' money compulsorily collected. . ."88 In a sense, foreign aid may be even more suspect than domestic welfare. While domestic welfare forcibly confiscates wealth from people who know how to create wealth (and jobs) to give to people who don't, foreign aid forcibly transfers wealth from "many taxpayers in donor countries [who] are poorer than many people in recipient countries." In the words of a button I saw someone wearing, "Foreign Aid--Poor people in rich countries giving money to rich people in poor countries,"89 (Of course, we do not need to get sidetracked regarding who is being forced to contribute to whom. Coercive charity is coercive charity is coercive charity.)

While on the subject of ethics, we need to consider fraud. Proponents of aid like to act as though poverty just falls from the sky. However, on some level they suspect that people in general may not be so gullible. Consequently, reports developed by international agencies conveniently overlook little problems such as "the harsh treatment of productive minority groups throughout the undeveloped world" or "major armed conflicts between and within less well developed countries . . ."90

Another example of the use of fraud is the plea insisting that growing populations are cause for alarm, and thereby an automatic reason for increasing aid even more. A growing population means that things are actually improving. Of course, there is still poverty, but now these poor people are being born faster than they are dying. (We need to remember that Europe's population only increased three-percent per century until the industrial revolution, then in one century it increased 300%.) In addition, because these people do not have property rights, the only way they can provide for their old age is to have lots of children. Nevertheless, the argument that rich countries should be taxed even more heavily to cope with the ever-increasing tragedy and need is somewhat disingenuous--especially as some of the same people who are calling for more aid out of one side of their mouth, are calling for population control out of the other side.

Yet another disingenuous tack is the notion that while all cultures are equal, and in many cases morally superior, to the Western industrial nations, they cannot extract themselves from the "vicious cycle of poverty" that ensnares them. E.F. Schumacher made an observation worth serious consideration: "After all, for mankind as a whole there are no exports. We did not start development by obtaining foreign exchange from Mars or from the moon."91 Not only were there no exports, there were no imports. Not only was there no exchange, there was no aid. Given that all of humanity started back in the cave, why is the question of why some people have advanced while others have not advanced, being so studiously ignored?

Finally, no discussion of coercive charity is complete without cataloging the guilt strategies that are being employed. "Many discussions of aid, including the Pearson report, suggest especially in the context of need that aid is a discharge of a moral duty to help the poor. However, as aid is financed from taxes collected compulsorily, it is outside the area of volition and choice. . . . The advocates of aid do not spend their own money; they advocate taxes. There is no moral element here such as there is in voluntary charity. Those who want to help poor countries can easily give money to the appropriate governments if they think this is a suitable outlet for their charity."92

So there we have it--coercive charity at its finest. No strategy has been left unused. However, before we think of faulting politicians and bureaucrats, we should remember that it is the lack of conscious philosophical awareness of the masses that allows such scams to continue indefinitely. In the final analysis, we are free to do anything we want--all we have to do is pay the consequences.

World Banking and Economic Development

In recent decades, there has developed a growing problem of debt for undeveloped nations. An exploration of how this problem developed, along with consideration of the alternatives, will help us evaluate the effectiveness of the United Nations as it is now conceived.

E.F. Schumacher blew the whistle on the idea of foisting grandiose projects on undeveloped nations with little regard for the locally available resources or the skill-base of the population. Thus far, it appears that UN bureaucrats and the political leaders of these poor countries are the only ones to have benefited from these programs. As for the people, they have acquired yet one more stumbling block in the way of capital accumulation--debt.

Until recently, the United Nations, through the World Bank, has tried to force underdeveloped nations into the mold of developed nations, all the while forgetting that the developed nations themselves progressed slowly by a series of gradual steps. "We are told that there is no choice of technology, as if production had started in the year 1971. We are told that it cannot be economic to use anything but the latest methods, as if anything could be more economic than having people doing absolutely nothing."93 Of course, the high percentage of failure as a result of forcing inappropriate technologies on people represents yet another injustice.

We have already noted that the bureaucrats in international agencies and the political leaders of the recipient countries benefit from foreign aid and loans. The losers are the taxpayers of both the donor and recipient countries. The damage done to the common people in the recipient nations is particularly tragic. "[W]ho bears the burden of repayments? Not the governing elite, but the poor producers of export crops such as cocoa, coffee, peanuts, palm oil, and in some cases local labor employed in oil and other mineral extracting industries."94 Whereas the people were poor before, they now have the additional burden of debt payments.

Some authors have suggested that these failures were planned, but I tend to doubt such a thesis simply because I have met many people whose education exceeded their intelligence. Besides, there are few things harder than getting people to understand something when their salary depends on them not understanding it.

Another Approach to Development and Trade

Instead of using an international coercive structure to force development on poorer nations, it is better to allow people the opportunity to experience the suffering caused by their own "fixed notions." According to one Mr. Moscoso, "The longer I live, the more I believe that, just as no human being can save another who does not have the will to save himself, no country can save another no matter how good its intentions or how hard it tries."95 If people are not ready to work for change, no amount of assistance will help. On the other hand, if they wish to make changes, not only will it take very little assistance, one will be hard-pressed to stop them.

Using coercion to facilitate development can cause us to lose in two ways. First, we aggravate and insult these countries by being paternalistic toward them. (Who is to say that certain non-material values may not be more important to them than an abundance of material values?) Second, we undermine the capital base of the industrial countries by forcing people to give gifts. International welfare can erode the desire to work and inhibit capital formation just as effectively as national welfare.

Micronesia is a case in point. When it became a U.S. trust territory in 1945, private investment was outlawed and Micronesians were given free clothes, food, and other supplies. Many local farmers and businessmen went bankrupt, and the incentive to work was undermined. As productivity plummeted, Micronesia became entangled in a vicious circle: the more the economy declined, the more aid it received; and the more aid it received, the more the economy deteriorated. Between 1947 and 1985 this territory of fewer than 150,000 people received $2.4 billion in aid. Agricultural output declined by over 50 percent and imports of foods that had been produced locally rose five-fold. One public official complained that "We have no technicians, no plumbers, no electricians . . . because the U.S. Government just handed us everything and didn't ask us to do anything for ourselves."
The point is not that Micronesians are lazy. It is that they responded rationally to the incentives facing them. By rewarding nonproductive behavior at the expense of hard work, by driving local producers out of business, foreign aid not only resulted in eliminating skills from the local population, it also retarded the development of those attitudes--thrift, industry, and self-reliance--that are essential for development.96

If a society or a culture is truly concerned about promoting the cause of freedom, it will not delude itself into believing that the cause of freedom can be enhanced by violating the rights of its own citizens in the name of "foreign aid." The best assistance a free, industrialized nation can offer is to set a good example. Instead of using coercion to promote international charity, people instead should be left free to either give donations as they see fit, or better yet, free to invest in other countries as their good judgment dictates.

If developed nations really wanted to help, they would open up their markets. "Rising trade barriers in rich countries are one cause of declining export prices for poor lands. The European Economic Community, for example, levies a tariff four times as high against cloth imported from poor, heavily indebted nations as from rich ones. All told, World Bank figures suggest that each year industrial country trade barriers cost developing countries $50-100 billion in lost sales and depressed prices."97 Of course, we can anticipate strong resistance from the protected industries in the industrial nations. Recalling once again the wisdom of Ambrose Bierce, a tariff is a "tax on imports designed to protect the domestic producer against the greed of his consumer."

As we look at it from an ever larger vantage point, tariffs not only hurt the common people in the industrial nations by forcing them to be captive to their domestic producers, they also hurt the people in the developing nations by eliminating markets for their productivity. When we add to that the international debt-slavery that has been imposed on them by their great leaders, the damage is further compounded.

Governments need to get out of banking and economic meddling in general. "Regardless of what you have been led to believe, debt is slavery ."98 National debt is national slavery, and international debt is international slavery. This idea is gaining popularity among intellectuals in developing nations and some of them are even calling for repudiation of those debts. This may at first seem extreme, but we only have to consider how those debts were created to begin with.

One day, some callow ivy league graduate flew into an unsuspecting third-world country with a grandiose plan. He catered to the vanity (and self-interest) of the leader, and lo and behold, another monument was soon under construction. I doubt that our callow consultant was this direct, but this is the essence of what he said. "I have this great idea that will catapult you into the 20th century, and I am so confident in it, I will arrange to loan the money to you for this wonderful project. Of course, if it doesn't work, your people will be saddled with debt and end up worse off than they were before. However, I am sure you agree that no price is too great for progress. (Especially when someone else will have to pay for it.)"

The other alternative to World Bank loans is for government to control predators instead of being the chief predator. In this case, a principled government would simply inform other governments that, "when you prove that your society is stable enough to warrant the risk of investing, our business people will bring capital and knowledge to you. You will have to work hard to prove it to them, because our military is not an instrument for protecting foreign investments."

Our principled government would then continue, "In return for creating favorable conditions for wealth creation, when our business-people invest in your country, they will share the risk. If the enterprise fails, they will simply lose their money just like they would if they made a poor business decision in their own country. Your people will not be saddled with a debt!"

Of course, given that the UN has more faith in the wisdom of people who have guns than they do in the wisdom of people who have tools, I do not expect the notion of freeing productive people to do their work to be enthusiastically received. Besides, the UN is dependent on other governments for funding, and there is no government on the planet that will consider freeing its producers--not even those in relatively free countries.

A Quick Summary

Fortunately, there are more options possible for the development of world government than just the United Nations. Its prognosis is not hopeful given that it depends on funding from thug governments for existence. In addition, the United Nations, like the rest of the world, seems unable to discriminate between voluntary association and coercion. This is not a happy philosophical state of affairs for an institution that is promising to deliver us from worldwide coercion and usher us into an era of peace--peace which can only come from the widespread acceptance of voluntary association as a social ideal. (On the other hand, "never say never.")

In the next chapter, a picture of what principled world government would look like, based on the ideas outlined in this book, will be presented. Also, some different possible avenues for developing world government will also be explored. Nature does not depend on a single acorn when she wants an oak tree. Therefore, we should not depend on a single approach when seeking the ideal of world peace.

Footnotes for Chapter 11:


E. Berkeley Tompkins, "Introduction," E. Berkeley Tompkins (ed.), The United Nations in Perspective (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1972), p. xiv.


Crane Brinton, "World Government," The Encyclopedia Americana International Edition , Vol. 29., (Danbury, CT: Grolier, Inc., 1993), p. 196.






E. Berkeley Tompkins, "Introduction," E. Berkeley Tompkins (ed.), Op. Cit., p. xiv.


Crane Brinton, "World Government," Op. Cit., pp. 196-197.


George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (New York: New American Library, 1949), p. 220.


Congressional Record, October 26, 1971, p. S16764. Quoted in Robert W. Lee, The United Nations Conspiracy (Boston, MA: Western Islands, 1981), p. 194.


Shirley Hazzard, Defeat of an Ideal: A Study of the Self-Destruction of the United Nations (Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Co., 1973), p. 73.


Raymond B. Fosdick, The League and The United Nations After Fifty Years: The Six Secretaries-General (Newtown, CT: Raymond B. Fosdick, 1972), p. 173.


Robert Muller, My Testament to the UN (Anacortes, WA: World Happiness and Cooperation, 1992), p. 57.


John A Stormer, None Dare Call It Treason (Florissant, MA: The Liberty Bell Press, 1964).


Gary Allen, None Dare Call It Conspiracy (Seal Beach, CA: Concord Press, 1971).


Eric Hoffer, The True Believer (New York: Harper & Row, 1951), p. 17.


Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (New York: Oxford University Press, 1952), p. 66.


Ibid., p. 107.


George Orwell, Op. Cit., pp. 151-178.


Eric Hoffer, Op. Cit., p. 29.


George Orwell, Op. Cit., p. 158.


Ibid., p. 176.


Shirley Hazzard, Defeat of an Ideal: A Study of the Self-Destruction of the United Nations (Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Co., 1973), p. 71.


Ibid., p. 89.


Ibid., p. 17.


Ibid, p. 97.


"Report on Personnel Problems in the United Nations," 1971, Ibid., p. 97.


Ibid., p. 225.


Ibid, p. 227.


Ibid., p. 226.


Ibid., p. 115.


Robert Muller, Op. Cit., p. 162.


Harlan Cleveland, "Can We Revive the United Nations?," E. Berkeley Tompkins (ed.), Op. Cit., p. 69.


Robert Muller, Op. Cit., p. 163.


Angel Hernandez, "Lakewood couples yearns to save the world: Visionaries who see U.N. as a flop hang on to hope for 'Federation of Earth,'" Rocky Mountain News, December 14, 1994, p. 36A.


Louis Henkin, "Introduction," Louis Henkin, ed., The International Bill of Rights (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981), p. 12.


Barbara Ward, "The Economic Revolution," Adventures of the Mind from the Saturday Evening Post (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1961), p. 264.


James Allen, As A Man Thinketh (Marina del Rey, CA: Devorss & Company), p. 24.


Thomas Paine, edited by Moncure Daniel Conway, "Common Sense", The Writings of Thomas Paine (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1894), p. 83


Gunnar Myrdal quoted in Gerald W. Scully, Constitutional Environments and Economic Growth (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992), p. 8.


Thomas Paine, edited by Moncure Daniel Conway, "Common Sense", Op. Cit., p. 74. (italics original)


James A. Goldston, "Human Rights," The Academic American Encyclopedia, (New York: Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc., 1993).


"Seas, Freedom of the", Ibid.


E. Berkeley Tompkins, "Introduction," E. Berkeley Tompkins (ed.), Op. Cit., p. xiii.


Louis Henkin, "Introduction," Louis Henkin, ed., Op. Cit., p. 11.


"The Charter of the United Nations," E. Berkeley Tompkins (ed.), Op. Cit., p. 127.


Frederick C. Howe quoted in Richard M. Ebeling, "National Health Insurance and the Welfare State," Freedom Daily, January 1994.


Jimmy Carter, "Foreword," Paul Williams (ed.) The International Bill of Human Rights (Glen Ellen, CA: Entwhistle Books, 1981), p. IX.


All quotes from the summary of that meeting in U. N. Weekly Bulletin, 25 February 1947, pp. 170-71. See also "Report to the Economic and Social Council on the First Session of the Commission, Held at Lake Success, New York, from 27 January to 10 February 1947" (U N Document E/259). Peter Meyer, "The International Bill: A Brief History," Paul Williams (ed.) Op. Cit., pp. XXXIX.


Peter Meyer, "The International Bill: A Brief History," Ibid., pp. XXX.


Tom J. Farer, "Introduction," Paul Williams (ed.) Ibid., p. XIII.


Emery Reves, The Anatomy of Peace (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1945), p. 285.


Louis Henkin, "Introduction," Louis Henkin, ed., Op. Cit., p. 29.


Adolfo Perez Esquivel, "Afterward," Paul Williams (ed.) Op. Cit., pp. 106-107.


G.I. Gurdjieff, Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, Vol. 3 (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1950), p. 405.


Peter T. Bauer, "The United Nations and International Development Assistance," E. Berkeley Tompkins (ed.), Op. Cit., p. 45.


Gerald W. Skully, Constitutional Environments and Economic Growth (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), p. xiii.


Leonard Peikoff, Ominous Parallels (Briarcliff Manor, NY: Stein & Day, 1982), p. 273.


Gerald W. Skully, Op. Cit., p. 215.


Peter T. Bauer, "The United Nations and International Development Assistance," E. Berkeley Tompkins (ed.), Op. Cit., p. 32.


Louis Henkin, "Introduction," Louis Henkin, ed., Op. Cit., p. 2.


Carols P. Romulo, "Crosscurrents in the United Nations," E. Berkeley Tompkins (ed.), Op. Cit., p. 92.


Gerald W. Skully, Op. Cit., p. 11.


Ibid., p. 116.


Sylvia A. Law, "Economic Justice," Norman Dorsen (ed.), Our Endangered Rights: The ACLU Report on Civil Liberties Today (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984), p. 135.


Ibid., p. 140.


Ibid., pp. 139-140.


Ibid., pp. 140-141.


Ibid., p. 141.


Ibid., p. 155.


Louis Henkin, "Introduction," Louis Henkin, ed., Op. Cit., p. 21.


Ibid., p. 21.


Gerald W. Skully, Op. Cit., p. 154.


Alan B Durning, "Ending Poverty," State of the World 1990 (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1990), p. 145.


Antonio Cassese, "The Self-Determination of Peoples," Louis Henkin, ed., Op. Cit., p. 103.


A friend of mine who is a safety and environmental consultant made this comment while editing this book: "Many advocate preventing third world countries from developing their resources and forcing the US to compensate them for loss of use. This, of course, will save the earth."


Frederick Bastiat, translated by Aurthur Goddard, Economic Sophisms (Irvington-on-Hudson: Foundation for Economic Education, 1968), p. 255.


Lawrence E. Harrison, Who Prospers?: How Cultural Values Shape Economic and Political Success (New York: BasicBooks, 1992), 10.


P.T. Bauer and John O'Sullivan quoted in Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982), p. 374.


David Osterfield, "In order to develop, Third World countries need foreign aid.", Mark Spangler, ed. Clichés of Politics (Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: The Foundation for Economic Education, 1994), p. 252.


Benjamin Higgins cited in James C.W. Ahiakpor, "Some International Neglect Would Be Good for Africa," The Freeman, August 1994, p. 449.


E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), pp. 165-166.


Quoted in Michael Novak, Op. Cit., p. 374.


Peter T. Bauer, "The United Nations and International Development Assistance," E. Berkeley Tompkins (ed.), Op. Cit., pp. 41-42.


Quoted in Susan Love Brown, et. al., The Incredible Bread Machine (San Diego, CA: World Research, Inc., 1974), p. 57.


David Osterfield, "In order to develop, Third World countries need foreign aid.", Mark Spangler (ed.) Op. Cit., p. 252.


Ibid, p. 253.




Peter T. Bauer, "The United Nations and International Development Assistance," E. Berkeley Tompkins (ed.), Op. Cit., p. 38.


Ibid., p. 32.


Ibid., p. 37.


Ibid., p. 42.


E.F. Schumacher, Small is Beautiful (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), p. 217.


Peter T. Bauer, "The United Nations and International Development Assistance," E. Berkeley Tompkins (ed.), Op. Cit., p. 41.


E.F. Schumacher, Op. Cit., p. 219.


James C.W. Ahiakpor, "Some International Neglect Would Be Good for Africa," The Freeman, August 1994, p. 449.


Quoted in Lawrence E. Harrison, Op. Cit., p. 2.


David Osterfield, "In order to develop, Third World countries need foreign aid.", Mark Spangler (ed.) Op. Cit., p. 252.


World Bank, World Debt Tables, Vol. I. cited in Alan B Durning, "Ending Poverty," State of the World 1990 (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1990), p. 144.


John Grandbouche, A Declaration of Financial Independence (Sewanee, TN: Spencer Judd, 1983), p. 14.

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