In the preceding chapters we have tried to draw attention to the uncommon opportunities that the world presents at the dawn of a new millennium for the abolition of war and the eradication of poverty. None will question the desirability of achieving peace, democratic freedoms and prosperity for all. But many may doubt the practical feasibility of accomplishing these necessary goals. Every great endeavour requires a proportionate investment of energy and resources for its accomplishment. The realization of peace and prosperity is no exception. What, then, are the resources required for this achievement and where are we to find them?
The history of civilization is the process of humankind discovering greater and greater resources and learning how to utilize them to acquire higher and higher levels of physical security, productive power and comfort. In the earliest phase, these resources were almost exclusively material. The next phase brought the discovery of tools and instruments that made the material resources far more productive and valuable than before. Gradually, society discovered rudimentary organizational resources the capacity to organize productive activities in a more effective manner. The organization of farming utilized the tree to make a plough with which to cultivate repeatedly the same land, giving birth to sedentary societies. The organization of crafts, commerce, armies, governments constructed from a fabric of customs, rules, systems and laws each made use of the material resources for greater productivity, power and achievement. At each stage of this evolution, society discovered the power of knowledge to increase further the productivity of the material, technological and organizational resources at its disposal. A knowledge of weather patterns boosted productivity in agriculture. A knowledge of astronomy enabled sea-worthy vessels to travel across the oceans to distant lands. This led to the invention of systematic education as a method to pass on acquired knowledge and skills to the next generation and thereby continuously increase them.
The Ultimate Resource
These rich and varied discoveries came as the result of a careful observation and analysis of the external world around us, an infinite exploration and experimentation with things, an endless trial and error blending of minerals and plants to forge metals and produce medicines. As a result, for millennia we have tended to overlook or, at best, grossly underestimate the greatest of all resources and the true source of all the discoveries, inventions, creativity and productive power found in nature the resource that has made minerals into ships that sail the skies, fashioned grains of sand into tiny electronic brains, released the energy of the sun from the atom, modified the genetic code of plants to increase their vigour and productivity the ultimate resource, the human being. World Food Prize recipient and father of Indias milk revolution, Dr V. Kurien, has decried the tendency to credit external factors for the accomplishment of people. It is the farmer that has produced this miracle, not the cow. And so it can be said of the Industrial Revolution and the Green Revolution.
Looked at from a different perspective, the entire evolution of civilization is a progressive act of humanitys self-discovery. At each stage of external observation and exploration, people have discovered more of their own inner capacity for resourcefulness. The material, technological, political, economic and social development of the world over countless centuries is an external expression of the growing discovery by humanity of the unlimited creative power of mental ideas, emotional aspirations, physical skills and higher values. The real process of creation and development is from the immaterial to the material, from the inner to the outer, from idea to invention, from aspiration to achievement, from the lofty value of freedom and the ideal of self-determination to the founding of democratic nations, from the soaring emotions of an emperors love to the beauty and grandeur of the Taj Mahal, from the urge for adventure to the discovery of a new continent, from the technicians joy in expressing perfect skill to the marvellous powers of a microprocessor. All begin as an inner urge that expresses externally in life.
Leadership in Thought
In times of crisis, great leaders rise to remind us that the true resource is ourselves. Thus, Winston Churchill inspired the tiny British nation with the courage to stand and fight fascism when all the rest of Europe had surrendered; thus, Franklin Roosevelt halted the collapse of the US banking system during the 1930s by convincing the people that fear was their greatest enemy and that the basic economic strength of the nation was intact; thus, Gandhi inspired whole generations to fight against colonialism, apartheid and other forms of oppression in a non-violent manner; thus, Gorbachev broke down the psychological barriers to peace and human understanding that had divided the world into two opposing armed camps for four decades; and thus, Deng Xiaoping committed the Chinese nation to provide food and clothing for all its citizens, launching a period of phenomenal economic progress for one-fifth of the worlds inhabitants. These great acts of leadership were fundamentally acts of leadership in thought, of leaders who knew the power of human creativity and determination to achieve what few believed possible.
It has been our objective to show that now is a time of unprecedented opportunity, provided that we shed the artificial fetters that limit our ideas, attitudes and actions. When we rely on external resources, we achieve the minimum because our achievement is based on what we see before us. When we rely on the inner resources, we achieve the maximum because we are constantly led to discover more of our own unlimited capacities. Why should we wait before acting until we are compelled by the irresistible force of the rising expectations of the worlds masses, by the explosion of violence in our cities, or by the complete breakdown of our economic systems because of spiralling unemployment? Why should we not act now to prevent these outcomes and reverse the trends that threaten to make them a reality? All the resources necessary are within our reach, within ourselves. We need the courage to think and say that it is time to abolish weapons of mass destruction and call a halt to the use of war for settlement of disputes, that it is time to insist that all people enjoy the most basic democratic freedoms, that there can and must be enough food produced to feed everyone, and that every person must be guaranteed the right to gainful employment.
The barriers to these achievements are not material or technological. It takes money, materials and technology to make war, not to stop it. That requires a determination and insistence, an intolerance of violence, which must start with a commitment of the worlds leaders and the total empowerment of the UN to enforce peace. It takes material resources and technology to suppress people, not to make them free. That requires an acceptance of basic human rights as a non-negotiable minimum requirement for each nation to participate in the international community, which must start with a voluntary abdication by the great powers of the principle of rule by might that governs the present structure of the UN. Renunciation of the veto power, expansion of the Security Council and democratization of UN decision-making processes will forge an institution capable of meeting the challenges of the future, rather than living in the shadow of the past. Why should we wait for these things to happen inevitably after a lapse of decades or centuries when we are amply capable of attaining those beneficial results now, to the great advantage of everyone?
Many will argue that, when it comes to food and jobs, the external resources are the real constraints. We disagree. It has been amply demonstrated that the main cause of famines is not inadequate production or supply of food. In the modern day, famine is primarily an economic problem of entitlement, not a physical problem of shortage. The world possesses enough technology to double or triple the food supply in a decade, if only the worlds poorest two billion people have the purchasing power to consume it.
So, too, the problem of employment. Humankind has employed itself ever since the dawn of civilization. So long as people have wants and are willing to work to fulfil them, there need not be a shortage of jobs for all who seek them. The problem today is not a shortage of money or technology. The problem is that we have constructed a hermetically sealed economic system that does not permit all people to express that willingness. Even if we reached the advanced stage of technological development that enabled one-tenth of the worlds population to produce all the goods and services to which all humanity could ever aspire, what would prevent us from distributing that work in such a manner as to provide everyone with the opportunity to acquire the purchasing power to consume their share of that over-abundance? The main limit on the production of sufficient goods to create prosperity for all is not material, financial, or technological. It is the inefficiency and arbitrariness of the present economic system that fails to take advantage of the vast latent market potential of nearly half the human race. Give these people the chance to work and they will create the markets to provide jobs and higher incomes for everyone. The single act of removing the artificial subsidies and import barriers for agricultural products in industrial nations that protect the jobs of so few in the West, and deny jobs to so many in developing countries, can help realign global labour markets, creating vast scope for employment generation in the South that will act as an engine for industrial exports and full employment in the North.
Ultimately, the achievement of peace and prosperity for all does require an enormous investment of resources, but the resources demanded are human resources that dwell within ourselves, waiting to be tapped. These resources can never be exhausted because the more they are drawn upon, the more they grow. The real challenge of development is developing people not only in the external sense of providing them with food, clothing, good health and fresh water, but also in the inner sense of developing their awareness, attitudes, skills and values to make them more enlightened, productive and contented human beings. What we need today is fresh leadership in thought by our leaders to educate themselves and then the world about the opportunities of the third millennium, and then to take the actions to convert these possibilities into actualities. Developing our human resourcefulness is the single greatest need and opportunity of our time.
Tapping Unutilized Resources
Economic and social development strategies emphasize the strengthening of social capacity by building up physical infrastructure, production facilities and commercial organizations, and by creating a conducive environment for increasing economic activity through appropriate laws, fiscal, monetary and trade policies. Human development strategies focus on improving the welfare and capacities of the individual through better health, education, political choice and economic opportunity. Together they encompass the two basic components of all development personal and institutional, individual and collective. The challenge is to develop simultaneously both individual and social capacities and utilize their potentials in a complementary manner. For the individual, development involves acquisition of greater know ledge, more progressive attitudes, improved skills and higher values. For the collective, development involves establishment of more useful and productive institutions, systems, organizations and cultural values.
The conventional view that development is essentially a function of scarce economic inputs must give way to the perception that the opportunities and potentials for rapid development far exceed actual achievements in every country. Looking back over the past few decades, we realize that the speed of social progress could certainly have been much greater than it was. The tremendous potential for accelerating development is most easily illustrated by in stances in which actual achievements substantially excelled expectations, such as the enormous leap in world agriculture during the 1960s and 1970s and the phenomenal growth of incomes, employment and exports in East Asia during the last ten years. These unforeseen accomplishments reflect the magnitude of potentials that these countries possessed but had not previously utilized.
The untapped resources of the society can be categorized under several headings:
A huge surge in development can be achieved if every socially available resource and potential is fully utilized by the people if every capable youth, male and female, continues education up to the level of his or her highest aptitude; if every family employs all the health care knowledge and best practices known by the society; if every government self-employment programme and training programme is fully utilized; if all known technology for improving agriculture is widely publicized and put into practice; if every successful system and institution is replicated and applied to full advantage. The highest priority must be to evolve strategies for utilizing these vast social resources more effectively.
The magnitude of this potential is illustrated by the enormous gap, referred to earlier, between average yields on major food crops achieved by poor developing countries in Asia and Africa and the yields obtained by the worlds most productive producers. Proven technology already exists that is capable of raising low yields well above the world averages. The real limiting factors are inadequate dissemination of information about best practices and success stories, inadequate skills in employing these methods, inadequate organizational arrangements for marketing and processing, as well as out-moded policies and attitudes about food self-sufficiency and the role of agriculture in the national economy. Developing these individual and institutional resources should be our highest priority.
Theory of Development
A greater knowledge of the process of development that we seek to accelerate is the first essential resource needed for achieving the goals set forth in this report. The UN Secretary General has rightly drawn attention to the worldwide crisis in development economics and called the need for new thinking on development the most important intellectual challenge of the coming years. Until now development has been largely a haphazard, subconscious or half-conscious process of trial and error experimentation, an application of partial strategies, a confusing mixture of productive and counter-productive initiatives, an unscientific and often superstitious clinging to half-truths or old-truths that no longer have any relevance.
Development is not merely a set of goals or programmes. It is a social process by which human beings become mentally aware of new opportunities and challenges, conceive of ideas, create inventions, release their energy and enthusiasm for achievement, and acquire the skills and organizational capacities for action. A better understanding of that process will enable us to avoid the errors and tardiness of past efforts and accomplish in the next few decades what might otherwise take centuries.
The world possesses sufficient experience and information to formulate a comprehensive and integrated theory of development as a social process. The theory should explain the process by which human society has developed to where it is today, the forces which propel its growth, and the stages of its past and future progress. It should be based on the perception that the political, economic and social life of human kind is a single, inseparable whole and, therefore, that comprehensive, total strategies must be applied to resolve our problems, because partial strategies lead to partial solutions which disturb the harmony of the whole, generating unwanted side-effects.
This knowledge should be utilized to formulate a model of development that is based on the internal dynamics of the process rather than on its external manifestations or extrapolation of future trends from past data. This model should become so precise that we can anticipate the impact of peace, more education, greater political freedom, rising social expectations, and high values such as guaranteed employment on the progress of society. This conceptual knowledge should enable us to understand and replicate fully the conditions responsible for the post-war achievements of Japan, Chinas recent 20 per cent growth rate or Yugoslavias remarkable conquest of hyper inflation. A comprehensive approach will enable us to anticipate the imbalances and side-effects generated by partial initiatives and to evolve total strategies to avoid them.
The comprehensive conceptual model needs to be complemented by the development of models for employment, food, education, trade and other fields that go beyond the national or sectoral approach to show the impact of the complex interactions that are key determinants of the development process for instance, the impact of democracy on agriculture and of increasing agricultural productivity on employment, industrialization and trade, the impact of rising education on democratization, social tolerance for diversity, personal expectations and social stability. Once formulated, these conceptual models need to be applied under a variety of conditions to test their validity and demonstrate the value of a comprehensive approach to development. Therefore, we have proposed that the UN adopt a number of districts in different regions of the world, including crime-ridden inner cities or impoverished rural areas in industrial countries, to evolve and apply strategies for their rapid transition to a higher level of development.
Six Goals in Education
Once formulated, this knowledge needs to be imparted through education. Education is the greatest known civilizing force and the single most powerful lever for human development. Training imparts skills, but education increases the capacity of the individual at a more basic level, making the mind more active and alert, converting physical energy into mental energy, training us to see things from a wider perspective, to question and challenge the status quo, to think and imagine, to innovate and invent, to make decisions for ourselves and to act on our own initiative. Education is the process by which society passes on the accumulated knowledge and experience of countless centuries to new generations in a systematic, concentrated and abridged form, so that todays young people can start their lives at the high point of knowledge and wisdom attained by preceding generations. Education replaces the slow, subconscious process of trial and error learning with a swift, conscious process. This accumulated knowledge is a great power that can be utilized to accelerate human development and abridge the time needed for society to arrive at progressively higher levels of material, social and psychological fulfilment.
Despite the massive efforts of international institutions to create awareness of the vital role of education in peace, democracy, economic development, population control and environmental protection, progress on extending the benefits of education to all humankind is still grossly inadequate. In 1990, 948 million people or about 20 per cent of the entire world population lacked even basic literacy skills. Adult literacy rates in the least developed nations still average less than 50 per cent and are less than half that in a number of countries. Unless more intensive efforts are made, worldwide the absolute number of the illiterate will decline only marginally by the year 2000. Illiteracy is likely to increase by 10 per cent in South Asia home to more than 40 per cent of the worlds illiterate and by nearly 7 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa.
Although universal primary education has been a goal for decades and primary education has been made compulsory in most countries, 128 million children living in remote rural areas, urban slums and refugee camps representing 20 per cent of the total school-age population are still excluded from primary education. Unless greater measures are introduced, this number may rise to more than 160 million by the turn of the century. Achieving true universality of primary education by the year 2000 will require a massive investment in school buildings, teachers and instructional materials for an additional 230 million school-age children. An additional 4 million teachers will be required, 20 per cent more than in 1990. In sub-Saharan Africa, gross primary enrolment will have to double before year 2000 to achieve this goal.
In addition to the quantitative deficiency in educational enrolment and achievements, the quality of teaching facilities, materials and staff is severely deficient in many countries. Most developing countries hire teachers with only a secondary school certificate and a minimum of teachers training. This contributes to the high rate of primary school drop-outs and grade repetition. Only 71 per cent of first-grade entrants complete primary school in developing countries.
Addressing these challenges will require a substantial increase in financial resources devoted to education. In most regions, public expenditure on education has risen in recent years. In 1990, the world average was 13.5 per cent of total government expenditure, or 4.8 per cent of GNP. More than one-third of the countries in the world still spend more on the military than on education. Efforts to improve education must go hand in hand with efforts to promote peace and disarmament and drastically curtail military spending. Mechanisms should be put in place to insure that a significant portion of reduced military spending is invested in education and training.
The very highest social priority should be given to six educational goals in both developing and developed countries. First, there must be a massive effort to achieve UNESCOs goal of eradicating illiteracy worldwide by the year 2000. The problem can only be banished by an all-out commitment of every national government to eliminate the huge backlog of illiteracy, while at the same time insuring that every child is taught to read and write. National youth service corps and military personnel can be utilized to help provide the necessary manpower.
Second, every possible step must be taken to provide education for female children, an essential requirement for social equity and quality of life improvement. Nearly two-thirds of the worlds illiterate are women. In the poorest developing countries, literacy rates among females are 40 per cent below rates for males and the average number of years of schooling for females is 60 per cent lower. But perceptible progress has been made. Between 1980 and 1990, female primary school enrolment rose from 44 per cent to 47 per cent of total enrolment, although it actually declined in the Arab states and remained virtually unchanged in South Asia. Uneducated females represent a huge reservoir of untapped human potential that must be given every opportunity and full assistance to develop their innate capacities. This will call for accelerated efforts to establish crèche and child-care facilities, abolish child labour, and remove gender bias from text books and educational institutions. The cost of raising female educational levels up to that of males worldwide has been estimated at $2.5 billion, a small amount for an initiative that could have such wide-ranging benefits.
Third, literacy must be complemented by techniracy, education that imparts basic technical information and skills to the population through a variety of teaching methods suited to the educational level of the recipients. Detailed recommendations are presented in the next section of this chapter. At the other end of the spectrum, comparable efforts must be made to raise scientific literacy, which is essential for the continued growth of technology, productivity and employment in modern society. The pervasive influence of science in society requires that we bridge the gap that presently divides the sciences and humanities and evolve an educational system in which science is no longer regarded as a specialized field of study.
Fourth, radical changes are needed in the content of school curricula at all levels to make education relevant to the real needs of the students and the development of the country. The society whose system of education is integrated with the social aspirations of the country will develop most rapidly. The system of education prevalent in most developing countries is oriented toward the outer form acquiring a degree or qualifying certificate rather than the inner content of knowledge. Educated unemployment is a direct result of a system that fosters obedience and rote learning rather than individual initiative and creative thinking. A new system of development education needs to be introduced at all levels to equip the student with an understanding of his/her society, its achievements and potentials, and the opportunities open to each individual to participate in its future growth. The index of its success will be the extent to which students of this curriculum seek self-employment rather than salaried jobs.
Fifth, minimum and average educational levels should be raised in all countries. Two centuries ago education was a luxury of the rich and it was simply inconceivable that every member of the population in any country could receive even a minimum level of education. Few of the industrial nations fully meet their own present minimum standards for every citizen. These minimums are arbitrary, not optimal. Raising the minimum levels of achievement further in all countries may be the most important initiative that governments can render to prepare their citizens for a more productive, prosperous and peaceful future.
Sixth, new educational systems must be evolved to prepare people for life in the twenty-first century. Education imparts knowledge of the past and the general ability to deal with the future, but this ability is only in potential. It is not fully developed in the form of practically useful knowledge. An educational system that endows the individual with the capacity for physical accomplishment, psychological fulfilment and original thinking would enable society consciously to abridge the development process and accomplish goals within one or a few decades that would otherwise take place over the span of a century or more.
We believe that it is possible to fashion a system that directly prepares students for life in the twenty-first century, because the necessary knowledge already exists subconsciously in society and consciously in a few stray individuals or social groups. Materially, the world already possesses the knowledge needed to produce sufficient food and other necessities to eradicate poverty from the earth, but this knowledge is not yet a conscious possession of humanity as a whole that is passed on to every individual, even in the most advanced nations. Socially, every culture possesses the knowledge of the essential qualities necessary for lasting success. This knowledge, if consciously formulated, can be systematically imparted to the entire population through formal education. Psychologically, the right attitudes, values and motives enable the individual to attain a self-existent happiness and inner harmony which nothing can disturb. This knowledge too can be consciously formulated and communicated through the educational system of the twenty-first century. Mentally, our knowledge is partial, biased and largely dependent on social status and opinion, rather than purely rational criteria. True mental objectivity can be taught. Human fulfilment in the twenty-first century depends on our ability to provide an education that imparts not only material facts, but also the mental perspectives, psychological attitudes, personal values, individual skills and organizational abilities needed for the full blossoming of human resourcefulness and ac complishment.
Improving the quality and quantity of productive skills is essential to implementing the strategies for peace, democratization, food security, economic growth and full employment set forth in this report. The phenomenal growth of East Asian countries is the direct result of their massive investments in upgrading the skills of the workforce. Rather than generating excess workers, rising productivity has generated greater demand for labour. Labour productivity in South Korea rose 11 per cent per year between 1963 and 1979, mostly due to investment in education and skills. This increase has been accompanied by a growing shortage of labour, equivalent to 1 per cent of the workforce in 1991. Investment in education and training helped Thailand raise labour productivity by 63 per cent during 19805. It, too, is moving from a labour surplus to a labour shortage economy.
An enormous range and depth of physical, technical, organizational, managerial and social skills are needed in order to utilize constructively the freedom which democracy provides, the productive power of new technologies, and the efficiency of modern institutions and systems to achieve greater developmental results. These skills admit of constant and continuous improvement without limit, in the same way that technology and organization can always be further improved. A comparative survey of the level and quality of skills in any country with those of countries above and below it on scales of economic and human development will reveal the crucial role of skills in development. A scale of progression on key skills can help every country identify its relative position, assess the scope for further progress and evolve strategies to fill the gap. Raising the skills of society to those of countries higher up on the scale will enable the country to move to that higher level.
Despite enormous expansion of educational and training institutions, most developing countries suffer from a shortage of quality vocational skills among the huge number of people at lower levels of the society who seek desperately to raise their standard of living. This shortage retards the growth in productivity and quality needed to meet domestic needs and achieve international competitiveness. The technical training in frastructure in these countries should be expanded by the establishment of craft and vocational training institutes at the local level in every community to impart a wide range of basic technical skills. A massive programme of basic vocational and skills training should be launched on a parallel with the 100 per cent literacy programmes that are now being promoted by many governments to wipe out rural illiteracy. The military in many developing countries possesses the organizational capabilities and experience with intensive training to assist with this task. An institutional gap exists in agricultural training systems. In most developing countries, agricultural colleges, universities and polytechnics train researchers, government, bank employees and extension officers, but not farmers. Producing more food with less water, less chemicals and less soil erosion requires high levels of skill. The chain of agricultural training needs to be filled out at the lower level by establishing thousands of village-level farm schools as proposed in the chapter on food security.
The switch from centrally planned to market-oriented economic systems in Eastern Europe cannot be successful until the population has acquired the skills needed to function effectively in the new economic environment. Under the communist system, emphasis was placed on education and training in technical subjects with little attention to marketing, organizational, commercial and interpersonal skills, which are essential requirements for functioning in a market economy. A detailed inventory should be compiled of the types and levels of skills needed for transition to the market, covering areas such as entrepreneurship, management, national and international marketing, strategic business planning, finance, quality control, product development, production technology, design, and human resource development. Intensive training programmes need to be introduced to impart these skills on a massive scale.
Even in the most advanced industrial nations there is vast scope for upgrading skills to improve productivity and to keep pace with rapid technological development. Inadequate skills are a major impediment to the assimilation of new technologies. The increasing demands of global competitiveness place pressure on workers in these countries to continuously improve their skills. The mismatch between the skills of the workforce and the evolving needs of industry aggravates unemployment. Studies of the return on investment from training programmes document the enormous benefits of continuously upgrading the skills of the workforce. Private sector investment in training will prove in adequate unless it is encouraged by incentives or complemented by greater public investment in this sector.
Information promotes political freedom, economic development and social justice. The transforming power of information under glasnost opened up Soviet society to events in the outer world and created widespread awareness of the alternative approaches and achievements of other nations. Information brought down the Berlin Wall, ended the Cold War and ushered the world into a new era. Information about economic opportunities and potentials is an essential ingredient, a catalyst, of the development process. In the past, development strategies have tended to place too little emphasis on the power of public awareness to release peoples energies and initiative on a massive scale. The vast accumulation of knowledge and new technology for rapid dissemination of in formation that the world possesses today can be utilized to increase the speed of change, eliminate many false starts and wrong turns and much unnecessary suffering. The goals and strategies recommended in this report aim to accelerate the process of political, social and economic development by creating greater public awareness of desirable and achievable objectives and releasing the initiative of individuals and institutions to pursue them more vigorously. Information is the most powerful catalyst for this process.
The speed and extent of knowledge transfer are far from optimal between and within nations even within industrially advanced nations due to lack of information, out-dated attitudes and beliefs, lingering superstitions, and conventional wisdom. Ignorance and scepticism about new opportunities are characteristic of development at each stage and in every field of activity. Information about success stories helps overcome this resistance and spurs people to action. Enormous potentials are waiting to catch the attention of the society and take off at this moment. Proven technology exists in many fields that await application because people do not know or do not believe that it can be employed successfully. Imitation of intensive aquaculture methods commonly employed by farmers in Taiwan and Singapore can raise average fish yields in South Asian, African and Latin American countries 25-fold. Advanced methods for micro-nutrient management can double or quadruple fruit and vegetable yields in most developing countries. A complete list of proven but untapped technologies and commercial opportunities should be compiled for each country, each region and local area. Programmes should be initiated to publicize information about commercialization of agriculture, stimulating industrialization, encouraging self-employment and new business start-ups, improving management practices, etc.
Role of the media
Free and well-developed media are vital to democratization and development. For this very reason, the dissemination of information by the media carries with it a great responsibility that cannot be effectively shouldered where private profit is the sole motive, or government control limits freedom of expression. The media can play an invaluable role in disseminating relevant information to the public, but the type and quality of information being carried in most developing countries must be radically improved. The worldwide tendency to focus on the immediate and dramatic at the expense of that which could make a substantial and lasting contribution to development requires greater efforts to creatively present socially useful information in an easily accessible and interesting form.
Information in developing countries
In the industrial democracies there are usually multiple sources of independent information available to the public on most issues. The same is not the case in developing countries, where very often the sole source of information is government which lacks credibility because the quality of information is poor or it is politically motivated or academic institutions that are insulated from practical, especially commercial, realities. The need is especially great for broadcasting value-added information at the local level.
Specialized agencies should be established in developing countries in the form of public foundations or independent research institutions to provide a credible, unbiased source of information by identifying critical gaps in public awareness needed to stimulate development in various fields; conducting studies to document proven practices in agriculture, business, education, health, government, media; disseminating information on new opportunities; commissioning films, novels, short stories and syndicated columns to communicate developmental information; supporting pioneering examples of new or improved activities in different fields; encouraging others to imitate successful pioneers; recognizing and rewarding high achievers. A modest investment in new institutions to disseminate information can have an impact comparable to that of the information superhighways being heralded in the most industrially advanced nations accelerating adoption of new activities, magnifying response to government programmes, and doubling the total developmental achievements of a country over the next five years.
Information as a stimulus to transition
The people of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union are highly educated, but long deprived of free access to information. Recent economic reforms have dramatically increased the importance of information in the functioning of the economy. The breakdown of the command system necessitates the establishment of new channels for the dissemination of information about economic principles, commercial opportunities and successful practices within and outside the country. The macro-economic reforms introduced to free prices and legalize private property cannot generate the desired results, unless the population is also given easy access and exposure to a very wide range of essential in formation on new technologies, legal re forms, trade potentials, self-employment opportunities and modern management practices. The plethora of new laws, regulations and deregulations being enacted in these countries have left the population baffled and bewildered regarding what is now legal or illegal, acceptable or not permissible. The transition of these nations can be significantly accelerated by systematic dissemination of important information to the population regarding potentials in agriculture, industry, technology, commerce, management and law, as well as in politics, public administration, international relations, education, social institutions and health.
Information needs of industrial nations
Even in the information-rich West, where the average citizen is over whelmed by a continuous barrage of ideas, opinions and so-called facts of varying accuracy and credibility from myriad sources, there is a need for more reliable information. This superabundance conceals gaping holes of ignorance. American foreign policy toward the USSR in the 1980s was certainly influenced by the fact that, as recently as 1988, more than 50 per cent of Americans believed the Soviets fought against the United States in the Second World War. The irrational alarm which economists sounded in the late 1970s about the impact of inflation on the poor in the US overshad owed compelling evidence published by a leading economic institution that poorer Americans were actually better off and it was primarily the rich who were less advantaged by the price rise. The importance of continuous investment in training is not fully understood by all but the most advanced corporations. There is considerable scope for increasing awareness in areas such as self-employment opportunities, the linkage between education and career development, management practices, and foreign trade opportunities. Ignorance and superstition concerning drugs, crime, ethnic and race relations, the environment, health, education, child care, and the life of the elderly demoralize the population and make effective socialaction difficult in these areas. These problems can be minimized by educating the public to understand the changes taking place and to adopt appropriate new behaviours.
Raising awareness internationally
Public opinion is an even more important determinant at the international level, since the authority of global institutions is still quite limited. Rising ethnic and nationalistic sentiments threaten the integrity of states and impede progress toward regional cooperation and global governance in many countries, because their populations lack reliable information regarding the enormous costs of political and economic fragmentation. The global debate over the Uruguay Round of GATT has been obscured by lack of clear information regarding its impact on the countries involved. International negotiations on debt, aid and the environment are complicated by lack of awareness about the opportunities that greater economic integration will generate for all nations. International institutions, non-governmental agencies and the international media play an important role in providing information to the world community, but there are still huge gaps to be filled in all fields. A conscious and systematic effort is required at the international level to put in place both the institutions and the technology for information superhighways needed to support peace, democracy and sustainable development in the twenty-first century.
Building Social Organization for Development
The achievement of peace, food security and full employment cannot be accomplished without more fully utilizing one of the most creative and productive of all human resources organization. The march of humanity is marked by the development of larger-scale, more complex and more efficient types of organizations to serve higher and wider social needs. Advances in the technology of organization, as much as advances in the technology of production, have been responsible for global progress during the present century and, especially, during the post-war period.
We have argued earlier that establishment of effective and lasting peace requires a radical restructuring of the existing institutions for global governance. Unless and until the UN comes to embody in its own functioning the principles of representative democracy, it cannot hope to play a leading role in maintaining peace and freedom in the world. As government and political leaders know only too well, an organization with responsibility but without authority is doomed to failure. Unless UN member states invest international institutions with the necessary authority and meet their financial commitments to support them, the world will continue to drift and flounder, powerless to oppose petty dictators and ruthless aggression. Unless a cooperative world military force comes into existence, every country will continue to be burdened with the enormous expense and insecurity characteristic of the old system.
Perhaps more than any other institution, the military has under stood and demonstrated the enormous power of organization to accomplish a goal. The Gulf War was a dramatic illustration of the importance of reliable information, perfect planning, logistical support systems, effective chains of command and swift responsiveness to changing situations. If humankind could mobilize and apply the same efficiency to the war on poverty and unemployment that it has exhibited in preparing for and waging military wars against each other, very soon there would be no more poverty or unemployment to fight. During the Second World War Ford Motors converted from manufacture of cars for the masses to making trucks and airplanes for the military, producing B-24 bombers at the rate of one per hour from a single production plant. If conversion from civilian to military production could be carried out by so many countries within one or two years, it must be possible to convert the military from war-based to peace-based applications, and defence industries from military to civilian production, within half a decade. That requires human resourcefulness in organizational innovation.
Organization is the means by which people work together cooperatively to achieve common goals and, in the process, to serve society in a wide range of functions. The achievement of food security and full employment depends on the establishment of new types of public and private organizations commercial, financial, industrial, export, research, educational and training. These institutions are needed to encourage, support, standardize, regulate and control development activities. New institutions lie behind the success of most major development achievements. Indias Green Revolution was as much a product of new quasi-governmental organizations created for supplying inputs, warehousing and marketing as it was of new farm technology. Indias dairy revolution was propelled by the rapid proliferation of producer cooperatives. Thirty years ago government was the only agency capable of setting up and managing activities on so massive a scale. Today the society is more developed and many of these functions can be handled more efficiently in the private sector. In either case, organization must play a central role.
Wherever countries fail to live up to their natural potential, some institutional gap will be found that prevents new activities from taking off. In examining the potentials of commercial agriculture and agro-exports in India, ICPF identified critical missing links in the organization of production, transfer of technology, training, and the storage, processing, marketing and distribution of perishable commodities. Extension of proven systems can significantly accelerate development. The establishment of a new type of institution the township and village industries in China, and the unique system for linking them with scientific institutions, made possible the countrys phenomenal achievements in rural enterprise and employment generation. These enterprises now represent 16.5 per cent of all businesses in China and employ 22 per cent of the workforce. Institutional innovations of this type are possible in every state and every country. A comparative study of institutions and systems in more and less developed regions and countries for every major sector will make it possible to construct accurate scales and reliable road maps for more rapid development.
In the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the social institutions that served under the centralized command system need to be transformed out of recognition, or entirely replaced, in order to support a market-oriented system. Attempts at economic reform that focus primarily on changing laws and public policy without creating the necessary institutional infrastructure cannot succeed. Thousands of systems that have been fashioned by human resourcefulness are needed to sup port economic activity in different fields. The system of warehouse receipts enables American grain traders to purchase unseen crops with full confidence in their quality. The absence of this simple system retards trade on the recently established commodity markets in Russia and other CIS countries. A complete listing of essential institutions, small and large, should be compiled, based on the experience of other nations, and plans drawn up for introducing them.
Thus far, the development of social organizations, like the development of technologies, has been partial, piecemeal and sectoral, leaving large gaps between parallel and interrelated activities and institutions. This is especially evident at the international level where the organization of the collective social life of humanity is rudimentary and fragmentary, though far more complete than it was a few decades ago. In spite of the phenomenal growth in global communications, transportation, commerce, finance and tourism, it is still more difficult to carry out most activities internationally than it is domestically, because the international activities are not as well organized. For instance, transfer of technology still involves a process that is largely trial and error. Firms in developing countries seeking to acquire the best available technology for importation or acquisition have to search at considerable expenditure of time and money to discover what is available within their own country as well as overseas. The process of identifying and commercially transferring technology can be vastly simplified and accelerated by the establishment of international technology transfer corporations, sponsored by UN agencies such as UNESCO and UNIDO, specializing in all major fields of technology. These corporations should be operated on a commercial, for-profit basis, though governments of developing countries could become shareholders in order to promote their formation. Each corporation could undertake a detailed study of available technologies in its field and offer to assist corporate customers in developing countries in selecting the most appropriate technology to meet their needs. The corporations could also acquire the rights to important technologies with large-scale applications and then market them widely.
Velocity of social forces
Speed is a powerful engine for development and an important index of organizational efficiency and effectiveness. The higher the level of organization and development, the faster everything moves. The more developed the society, the faster it communicates new ideas and new information, develops new technologies and products, establishes new systems and institutions, adopts new policies and laws, transports goods, delivers services and carries out activities. Money, information, education, technology, public opinion, training, administrative decisions, transport, and communication are powerful social forces and resources. Their productivity can be increased by increasing the speed with which they are employed, in the same way that land productivity can be raised by increasing cultivation from one to two cropping seasons per year.
In the most industrially advanced nations, the velocity of money is roughly 2.5 to 3 times higher than in the average developing country. Removing administrative red tape and inefficiencies in the banking system can multiply the use value and productivity of real money, because the same money can be utilized for more transactions. The same is true for information, technology, training, transport and other factors. Increasing the speed of dissemination of information and new technology can accelerate the creation of new businesses and new jobs. In many developing countries, inefficient bureaucracies are slow to take decisions, issue licences, review applications, sanction loans, and amend legislation. This inefficiency directly impacts on the pace of development. Streamlining and expediting decision making and the movement of other social resources is a highly effective strategy for spurring development. Comparative scales need to be created to measure the movement of each of these social forces within and between nations. Strategies can be evolved to stimulate more rapid overall development by directly acting to increase the velocity of these forces up to ten-fold or even more.
The world we live in today is an external expression of our inner attitudes. The world we aspire towards can be realized only by acquiring the attitudes corresponding to those achievements. Every political leader knows the power of attitudes. Great leaders possess the power to change them. Many of those who frankly acknowledge that external limitations such as money and technology are not insurmountable barriers to changing the world erect an alternative myth of inner determinism by insisting that the attitudes of people, and especially their leaders, cannot be changed.
In contrast, we view attitudes as one of the greatest of human resources, one that possesses a remarkable capacity for adaptation. Over the past two decades, we have witnessed and been parties to a radical change in attitudes of people, leaders and nations around the world regarding preservation of the environment. It would have been difficult to conceive in 1970 that, in spite of the myriad technological difficulties and powerful economic interests at stake, the entire world would make such a dramatic shift of attitude so quickly. This change was not brought about from above by enlightened leadership, but rather from below in response to a swelling tide of public awareness and concern, growing as a result of the work of countless individuals, voluntary agencies and research institutions projected through the media, confirmed by the findings of the UN World Commission on Environment and Development, embodied in the specific resolutions of the Earth Summit and in the growing body of environmental laws being adopted by every country, and now commonly incorporated in the educational curricula at every level.
The changes called for in this report require changes of attitude of this magnitude. But no longer is it necessary for a great visionary leader to espouse a new attitude. The higher general levels of public education, the worldwide extension of the media and the active initiative of literally thousands of institutions serving the public interest can exert a powerful force for change, which sooner or later political leaders will accept and espouse.
What is the shift in attitudes demanded to achieve global peace and prosperity?
Cultural Values and Development
The growing violence, more and more visible disparities between rich and poor, and large-scale destruction of the environment cited in this report have raised widespread concern that the present course of development is undermining the cultural as well as the natural environment for human development. A careful analysis of the relation ship between culture and development reveals that cultural values are the essential foundation for all lasting social achievement.
The security, stability, productivity, growth and sustainability of society are determined by its values. This report calls upon nations and the international community to make a conscious shift to values that can generate greater domestic and international security, higher rates of sustainable growth, and more equitable distribution of benefits for all. The insistence on immediate abolition of war, eradication of poverty, democratic human rights and full employment expresses a commitment to the pre-eminent values of human life, social and economic as well as political freedom, and the development of the full potential of the individual. The achievement of these high human values also requires the achievement of a large number of physical, organizational, social and psychological values: higher productivity, better quality, more efficient utilization of resources, faster speed, more systematic functioning, improved coordination and cooperation, punctuality, cleanliness, open-mindedness, tolerance, harmony and a host of other values essential for high achievement in any field. Therefore, we have stressed repeatedly the importance of the value of integration in the formulation of strategies, of maximum utilization of human and social as well as material and technological resources, of greater speed and organization, and other values.
Values are a powerful instrument to spur development. They are goals or standards that set the direction and mobilize the collective cultural energies of the society for great accomplishment. They prompt us to strive for the maximum that is conceivable, rather than the mini mum that is achievable. Values form the basis for the tremendous developmental achievements of the past two hundred years, such as the Japanese commitment to teamwork and consensus, the American devotion to enterprise and innovation, the German dedication to quality, and the Dutch commitment to partnership with other people, rather than exploitation. Development is retarded by the slow pace at which new values are acquired, which normally requires a change of generation. But values can also be consciously transmitted through education in order to abridge the time needed for transition. The efforts over the last ten years to implement the value of environmental security illustrate the range of knowledge, information, attitudes, institutions, systems, and skills needed to achieve any high value in life. The recommendations presented in this report are intended to form a basis for identifying and providing the values, attitudes, organizations and skills needed to achieve peace and prosperity at the dawn of the third millennium.
It is well known that societies which are able to harness their cultural energies for development tend to progress very rapidly. Yet at the same time, we know that cultural factors can also be a barrier to rapid progress. Clinging to the external forms and norms of behaviour which distinguish one culture from another generates resistance to progress, whereas the inner content of culture is a powerful engine for collective achievement. Customs are the external form of culture, values are the inner content. The customs vary widely, but the values are universal.
The controversy over the relationship between culture and development is complicated by the fact that development both creates and destroys cultural forms and values. Every developmental achievement results in an abandonment of old behaviours and attitudes, and the acceptance of new ones. Development destroys survival-based, traditional values and creates achievement-oriented, progressive values. Over the last two centuries in countries around the world development has strengthened expansive values that encourage greater freedom, tolerance, individual initiative, self-confidence and self-respect, dynamism, risk-taking, efficiency, punctuality, organization, communication and cooperation, open-mindedness and respect for new ideas, innovation and creativity. At the same time development has weakened values that support respect for tradition and hierarchy, seniority and authority, self-effacement and humility, patience and perseverance, generosity and self-sacrifice. The nineteenth century tolerated values based on the exploitation by people over people through slavery, colonialism and war, and the domination of nature by man. The guiding values for the coming century are freedom and respect for the individual, social equity, tolerance of human diversity and harmony with the environment.
Development is widely regarded as the cause of moral decline and increasing corruption, crime and violence. These negative consequences are primarily due to the fact that freedom has been extended to vast sections of the population which were confined in the past by rigid social barriers and minimum expectations, so they never had need or occasion to embrace the values they now eschew. The earlier self-restraint has been replaced by a self-assertion that has not yet acquired the productive values needed for achievement. Rising expectations enhance this tendency. While it is true that corruption is more prevalent today than ever before, it is also true that the entire global economy functions on the basis of a faith, honesty, openness and tolerance that would have been inconceivable in the past. We mourn the loss of cloistered values, which were very often accompanied by narrow rigidity and provincialism, while failing to recognize the enormous growth in positive human values that has made possible the incredible progress of the past few decades.
In past centuries cultural values were handed down to future generations through the family. Education, which now focuses on the transfer of information, ideas and mental skills, can also impart development-oriented values such as open-mindedness, initiative and innovation. Integration and tolerance of diversity are crucial values for the further development of the human community. Yet the increasing speed of globalization has accentuated a contrary tendency toward increasing fragmentation. The pull of fragmentation cannot be countered solely at the political level. Education both formal and public is the best means for rapidly communicating and imparting the benefits of integration to the largest numbers of people.
In order fully to harness cultural potentials for development, we need to understand better the natural process of value formation in society, to discover the circumstances and conditions under which new values are accepted, and the factors that retard or facilitate this process. In other words, we need to evolve a theory of value formation which will ultimately enable us to consciously identify and instil values that are most conducive and supportive of a peaceful, prosperous life for all humanity. The collective progress of humankind will achieve its maximum velocity when we have discovered how to consciously accelerate the process of values acquisition. The role of the UNESCO Commission on Culture and Development can make a valuable contribution to our understanding of this most important issue.