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garded as charity but deferred compensation for what has been done to them in the past by the developed countries.
The UN General Assembly pursued this theme with notable persistence throughout 1974, commencing with a special session in the spring which dealt with the economic crises of the underdeveloped in just such terms. Occasioned as much as anything by the devastating impact of oil price increases, the special session dwelt on every conceivable abuse of economic power save that one. At the end of the regular autumn session, the General Assembly solemnly adopted a Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States which accords to each state the right freely to exercise full permanent sovereignty over its wealth and natural resources, to regulate and exercise authority over foreign investments, and to nationalize, expropriate, or transfer ownership of foreign property pretty much at will. The vote was 120 to 6—the United States, Belgium, Denmark, West Germany, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom. What was being asserted was a radical discontinuity with the original, essentially liberal vision of the United States as a regime of international law and practice which acknowledges all manner of claims, but claims that move in all directions. Now they moved in one direction only.
In general a rhetoric of expropriation became routine. At year's end, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, opening the 56th Conference of the International Law Association meeting in New Delhi, declared :
Laws designed to protect the political or economic power of a few against the rights of the many, must . yield place to laws which enlarge the area of equality, and ... law itself should be an ally and instrument of change.
She spoke a now-common language of resentment over population issues :
Is it not a new form of arrogance for affluent nations to regard the poorer nations as an improvident species whose numbers are a threat to their own standard of living.
She suggested a reversal of roles had taken place as between the new nations and the old :
An obligation rests on the haves to generate confidence among the havenots ... A new approach to foreign investments is indicated, in which investments abroad are regarded more as a service to the recipient community than as an enterprise where profits and their repatriation must be secured at all cost.
Now there is nothing unfamiliar in this language: only the setting is new. It is the language of British socialism applied to the international scene. American diplomacy has yet to recognize this fact and, failing to recognize it, has failed even to begin dealing intelligently with it.
But if the beginning of wisdom in dealing with the nations of the Third World is to recognize their essential ideological coherence, the next step is to recognize that there is every reason to welcome this ideology, and to welcome the coherence also. Because of the British revolution and its heritage, the prospect now is that the world will not go totalitarian. In the Christian sense, has there been such political "good news” in our time? But there is bad news also. The great darkness could yet consume us. The potential for absorption of these states into the totalitarian camp is there and will continue to be there. This is perhaps especially true where one-party states have been established, but even where multi-party democracy flourishes the tug of the "socialist countries," to use the UN term, persists.
The outcome will almost certainly turn on whether or not these nations, individually and in groups, succeed in establishing sufficiently productive economies. If they do not, if instead they become permanently dependent on outside assistance, that assistance is likely more and more to come from the totalitarian nations, and with it the price of internal political influence from the totalitarian camp through the local pro-Moscow, or pro-Peking, Communist party. For everywhere there are such parties. They appear able to go on indefinitely in a dormant state, and can be awakened pretty much at will. India, with a population equal to that of the whole of Africa and South America combined, is the best current example. Parliamentary democracy is vigorous enough there, but economic imcompetence on its part and diplomatic blunders on ours have to an increasing dependence on Soviet support, which in the space of three years has brought about an open electoral alliance between the Congress party and the Moscoworiented Communists, an alliance we would have thought worth fighting a war to prevent two decades ago, but which we scarcely notice today.
This alliance would not have come about save for the failure of the Indian economy to prosper and the success—typical—of the argument that the cure for the damage done by leftist policies is even more leftist policies, which in practice translates into dependence on the Soviets and alliances with their internal allies. And here is the nub of the bad news: for all the attractions of this variety of socialist politics, it has proved, in almost all its versions, almost the world over, to be a distinctly poor means of producing wealth. Sharing wealth-perhaps. But not producing wealth. Who, having read British political journals over the past quarter-century, would be surprised to find that during this period (1950–73) the United Kingdom's share of the "Planetary Product” has been reduced from 5.8 to 3.1 per cent? Why then be surprised that those who have made British socialism their model have trouble taking off in the opposite direction? Yet even so, one must be surprised at the decline of economies such as those of Burma and Sri Lanka : immensely productive places not a generation ago. Sri Lanka, for example, having first got to the point where it was importing potatoes from Poland, has now got to the further point where it can no longer afford to do so. A recent survey of the Ceylonese economy in the Far Eastern Economic Review was entitled: "Conspiracy or Catastrophe?" For what else could explain such failure?
What else, that is, to those experiencing it (with all that implies for political instability)? The outsider can indulge a more relaxed view. The fault lies in ideas, not persons. Americans-Westerners-do not have any claim to superior wisdom on the subject of these economies. Starting in the 1950's a large number of first-rate economists began working on theories of economic growth designed to get the LDG's on a path of self-sustained growth. “To be perfectly brutal about it,” Jesse Burkhead recently stated, "it hasn't worked." And yet there is no need to stand mute. Two assertions may be reasonably put forth, of which the first is that to say these economies haven't worked as well as hoped is not to say that none has worked at all. There has been growth. In the main, things are better than they were. For every Argentina—that “miracle” of economic non-growth—there is a Brazil. For Ghana, Nigeria. For Calcutta, Singapore. The second assertion is that relative failure is particularly to be encountered in economies most heavily influenced by that version of late Fabian economics which compounded the Edwardian view that there was plenty to go around if justly distributed with the 1930's view that capitalism could never produce enough to go around regardless of distributive principles.*
Still, there are gains in the relative loss of income associated with the managed economies of the Third World which need to be appreciated. An Asian economist has said of his own country, plaintively yet not without a certain defiance: “We are socialists, so we do not believe in capitalism. We are democrats, so we do not believe in terror. What, then, is our alternative save one per cent a year?" There is a welfare state of sorts; there is protection of industrial labor; and in some countries, at least, there is freedom to protest.
But the most distinctive gain and the least noted is that in the course of its outward journey, the managed economy was transmuted from an instrument of economic rationality to an instrument of political rationality. It is sometimes difficult to recall, but early socialist theory expounded the greater efficiency of production for use rather than for capital, and put much stress on capitalist wastefulness. In practice, however, the real attraction of the managed economy has been the means it provides to collect enough political power at the center to maintain national unity-almost everywhere a chancy thing in these generally multi-ethnic states.
One must still conclude, however, that these political gains are purchased at the expense of even more conspicuous economic losses. India will serve for a final example. In the year of its independence, 1947, India produced 1.2 million tons of steel and Japan only 900,000 tons. A quarter-century later, in 1972, India produced 6.8 million tons and Japan 106.8. These outcomes are the result of decisions made by the ruling party of each nation, and only an innocent could continue to accept Indian protestations that the results were unexpected. The break in Indian growth came precisely in 1962 when the United States, which had been about to finance its largest aid project ever, a steel complex at Bokharo in Eastern India, insisted that it be managed privately. India insisted on a public-sector plant, for which read a plant that would do what the Prime Minister of India wanted done. In the manner of the Aswan Dam (and with as much political impact), the Russians stepped in to finance the public-sector plant. By 1974 this plant had yet to produce sheet steel. For the period 1962-72 Indian steel production grew by a bare 1.8 per cent, while Japanese grew 13.1 per cent.
*This latter idea is very much alive. On leaving my post as United States Ambassador to India, I gave a press conference in which inter alia. I touched upon the failure of India to achieve a productive economy. The National Herald, the Nehru family newspaper, commented in an editorial : "Mr. Moynihan may be justified in some of his criticism of the state of the Indian economy, but what he is trying to sell is the capitalist system which can only impoverish India's millions further.”
There is no way to deny that India has in a very real sense desired this outcome, just as there is no way to deny that high living standards in the modern world are associated with relatively free market economics and with liberalist international trade policies. Granted that much economic policy does not have high living standards as its true objective, but is rather concerned with political stability, and granted that such a concern may be wholly legitimate in a new nation—in any event it is not anyone else's business-it nevertheless remains the case that the relative economic failure accompanying political success in regimes such as that of India sooner or later begins to undermine that very success. Promises are made and political stability, especially in the more democratic regimes, requires some measure of performance. When it is not forthcoming, regimes change. They become less democratic. They become less independent.
Neither of these developments can be welcomed by the United States. The United States in the past may have cared about the course of political events in these nations, but only in the most abstract terms. (Consider the casualness with which we armed Pakistan and incurred the bitter and enduring hostility of India, the second most populous nation in the world.) But India has now exploded a nuclear device. That may well prove the most important event of the turbulent year 1974. Other Third World nations are likely to follow. Hence political stability in the Third World acquires a meaning it simply has never in the past had for American strategic thinking, as well as our general view of world politics.
What then is to be done? We are witnessing the emergence of a world order dominated arithmetically by the countries of the Third World. This order is already much too developed for the United States or any other nation to think of opting out. It can't be done. One may become a delinquent in this nascent world society. An outcast in it. But one remains "in" it. There is no escape from a definition of nationhood which derives primarily from the new international reality. Nor does this reality respond much to the kind of painfully important threats which are sometimes heard of America's "pulling out.” Anyone who doubts that Dubai can pay for UNESCO, knows little of UNESCO, less of what the United States pays, and nothing whatever of Dubai.
In any event, matters of this sort aside, world society and world organization have evolved to the point where palpable interests are disposed in international forums to a degree without precedent. Witness, as an instance, the decisions of the World Court allocating the oil fields of the North Sea among the various littoral states in distinctly weighted (but no doubt proper) manner. Witness the current negotiations at the law of the Sea Conference. Two-thirds of the world is covered by the sea, and the United Nations claims the seabed. That seabed, especially in the region around Hawaii, is rich in so-called "manganese nodules"—concentrations of ore which American technology is now able to exploit, or will be sooner than anyone else. At this moment we have, arguably, complete and perfect freedom to commence industrial use of the high seas. This freedom is being challenged, however, and almost certainly some form of international regime is about to be established. It can be a regime that permits American technology to go forward on some kind of license-and-royalties basis. Or it can assert exclusive "internationalized” rights to exploitation in an international public corporation. The stakes are considerable. They are enormous.
And then, of course, there remains the overriding interest, a true international interest, in arms control, and here true international government has emerged in a most impressive manner. If we were to ask who is the most important international official, a persuasive case could be made for choosing the Inspector General of the International Atomic Energy Authority, the man who supervises the sfaeguard agreements of the world's atomic reactors. Few would know the name of this unobtrusive Swiss chemist; few, perhaps, need to. But more than a few do need to know that the post is there and that its viability derives ultimately from the international system of which it is a part. For the moment,
American security derives primarily from our own armaments, and our strategic agreements with the Soviet Union and a few other powers. But the international regime of arms control is already important and certain to become more so.
If, that is, it does not go down in the general wreckage of the world system embodied now in the United Nations. But assuming that the new majority will not destroy the regime through actions that drive nations like the United States away, is it not reasonable to anticipate a quasi-parliamentary situation at the international level—the General Assembly and a dozen such forums—in which a nominally radical majority sets about legislating its presumed advantage in a world which has just come into its hands? The qualification "quasi-parliamentary" is necessary, for in fact the pronouncements of these assemblies have but limited force. So did the pronouncements of the Continental Congress. They are not on that ground to be ignored. What then does the United States do?
The United States goes into opposition. This is our circumstance. We are a minority. We are out-voted. This is neither an unprecedented nor an intolerable situation. The question is what do we make of it. So far we have made littlenothing—of what is in fact an opportunity. We go about dazed that the world has changed. We toy with the idea of stopping it and getting off. We rebound with the thought that if only we are more reasonable perhaps “they” will be. (Almost to the end, dominant opinion in the U.S. Mission to the United Nations was that the United States could not vote against the “have-nots” by opposing the Charter on the Rights and Duties of States—all rights for the Group of 77 and no duties.) But “they" do not grow reasonable. Instead, we grow unreasonable. A sterile enterprise which awaits total redefinition.
Going into opposition requires first of all that we recognize that there is a distinctive ideology at work in the Third World, and that it has a distinctive history and logic. To repeat the point once again, we have not done this, tending to see these new political cultures in our own image, or in that of the totalitarians, with a steady shift in the general perception from the former to the latter. But once we perceive the coherence in the majority, we will be in a position to reach for a certain coherence of opposition.
Three central issues commend themselves as points of systematic attack: first, the condition of international liberalism ; second, the world economy; third, the state of political and civil liberties and of the general welfare. The rudiments of these arguments need only be sketched.
It is the peculiar function of "radical” political demands, such as those most recently heard in the international forums, that they bring about an exceptional deprecation of the achievements of liberal processes. Even when the radicalism is ultimately rejected, this is rarely from a sense that established processes do better and promise more. American liberalism experienced this deprecation in the 1960's; international liberalism is undergoing it in the 1970's. But the truth is that international liberalism and its processes have enormous recent achievements to their credit. It is time for the United States to start saying so.
One example is the multinational corporation which, combining modern management with liberal trade policies, is arguably the most creative international institution of the 20th century. A less controversial example is the World Health Organization. In 1966 it set out to abolish smallpox, and by the time this article is read, the job will more than likely have been successfully completed—in very significant measure with the techniques and participation of American epidemiologists. While not many Americans have been getting smallpox of late, the United States has been spending $140 million a year to keep it that way. Savings in that proportion and more will immediately follow. Here, as in a very long list, a liberal world policy has made national sense.
We should resist the temptation to designate agreeable policies as liberal merely on grounds of agreeableness. There are harder criteria. Liberal policies are limited in their undertakings, concrete in their means, representative in their mode of adoption, and definable in terms of results. These are surely the techniques appropriate to a still tentative, still emergent world society. It is time for the United States, as the new society's loyal opposition, to say this directly, loudly, forcefully.
The economic argument—which will appear inconsistent only to those who have never been much in politics-is that the world economy is not nearly bad enough to justify the measures proposed by the majority, and yet is much worse than it would otherwise be in consequence of measures the majority has already taken. The first half of this formulation will require a considerable shift in the government mind, and possibly even some movement in American elite opinion also, for we have become great producers and distributors of crisis. The world environment crisis, the world population crisis, the world food crisis are in the main American discoveries—or inventions, opinions differ. Yet the simple and direct fact is that any crisis the United States takes to an international forum in the foreseeable future will be decided to the disadvantage of the United States. (Let us hope arms control is an exception.) Ergo: skepticism, chailenge.
The world economy is the most inviting case for skepticism, although it will be difficult to persuade many Americans of this during an American recession, and although the rise in oil prices is now creating a crisis in the Third World which is neither of American contrivance nor of American discovery nor of American invention. But until the dislocations caused by OPEC, things were simply not as bad as they were typically portrayed. Things were better than they had been. Almost everywhere. In many places things were very good indeed. Sir Arthur Lewis summed up the evidence admirably :
We have now had nearly three decades of rapid economic growth. ... Output per head has been growing in the developed world twice as fast as at any time within the preceding century. In the LDC world, output per head is not growing as fast as in the developed world, but is growing faster than the developed world used to grow.
The data can be quite startling. In 1973, as Sir Arthur was speaking, the "Planetary Product," as estimated by the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the Department of State, grew at a real rate of 6.8 per cent, an astonishing figure. The Third World product expanded by 5.75 per cent, no less astonishing.
Simultaneously it is to be asserted that these economies do less well than they ought: that the difference is of their own making and no one else's, and no claim on anyone else arises in consequence. This will be hard for us to do, but it is time we did it. It is time we commenced citing men such as Jagdish N. Bhagwati, Professor of Economics at MIT, an Indian by birth, who stated in the Lal Bahadur Shastri lectures in India in 1973:
In the 1950's our economic programs were considered by the progressive and democratic opinion abroad to be a model of what other developing countries might aspire to and emulate. Today, many of us spend our time trying desperately to convince others that somehow all the success stories elsewhere are special cases and that our performance is not as unsatisfactory as it appears. And yet, we must confront the fact that, in the ultimate analysis, despite our socialist patter and our planning efforts, we have managed to show neither rapid growth nor significant reduction of income inequality and poverty.
It is time we asserted, with Sir Arthur-a socialist, a man of the Third Worldthat economic growth is governed not by Western or American conspiracies, but by its own laws and that it “is not an egalitarian process. It is bound to be more vigorous in some professions, or sectors, or geographical regions than in others, and even to cause some impoverishment."
A commentator in The Statesman, Calcutta's century-old and most prestigious journal, recently warned:
It would be unwise for policy planners in the developing world to dismiss too easily ... the basic premise of a society that worships success: if you are poor, you have only yourself to blame. Development is a matter of hard work and discipline. So if you are not developing fast, it is not because the rules of the game are stacked against you or that structural changes are never easy to bring about, but because you are lazy and indisciplined. The general disenchantment with economic aid flows from this. It is difficult for Americans to understand why such substantial flows of food and money have made so little impact.
Well, the time may have come when it is necessary for Americans to say, "Yes, it is difficult to understand that.” Not least because some Third World economies have done so very well. For if Calcutta has the lowest urban standard of living in the world, Singapore has in some ways the highest. It is time we asserted that inequalities in the world may be not so much a matter of condition as of performance. The Brazilians do well. The Israelis, The Nigerians, The Taiwanese. It is a good argument. Far better, surely, than the repeated plea of nolo contendere which we have entered, standing accused and abased before the Tribune of the People.
Cataloguing the economic failings of other countries is something to be done out of necessity, not choice. But speaking for political and civil liberty, and doing so in detail and in concrete particulars, is something that can surely be undertaken by Americans with enthusiasm and zeal. Surely it is not beyond us, when the next Social Report comes along, to ask about conditions and events