5.6 Some Issues of Transition in Poor Regions and Areas with High Unemployment
5.6.0 Principal thoughts, relationship between the “West” (mainly the USA) and the Third World
5.6.1 Some Observations regarding Third World cultures
5.6.2 Empowerment and cultural change
5.6.3 Empowerment and technological progress
5.6.4 Further steps towards better institutions
5.6.5 Appendix: Addressing international economic issues and international efforts to promote progress in local cultures
5.6.0 Principal thoughts, relationship between the “West” (mainly the USA) and the Third World
Most Third World countries are rapidly developing, largely emulating a model of Western civilizations, with a growing middle-class that is similarly educated and behaves and thinks similarly in all continents. Main problems with the transfer of Western institutions to poor countries are: they do not work very well, even in some highly industrialized countries; they are not adapted to Third World cultures and conditions; they are likely to introduce problems that local cultures in poor regions do not have today; and they are too resource-consuming to be realizable in a world of eight to ten billion inhabitants.
A central issue in misguided developments in the Third World derives from leading Western countries’ failure to create a good model of democratic, economic, social, legal and educational institutions, of an infrastructure that may be broadly applied in densely populated poor countries, and of ecologically sustainable developments that avoid overuse of nonrenewable resources and leave large areas of land natural or return them to a natural state. [Regarding a proposed framework for constitutions, see 4.0.2 Outline of a proposed constitution and its goals]
An example is transportation: particularly poor densely populated areas would do best with an extensive public transportation system that includes metropolitan subways, light rail, suburban, intercity and high-speed trains, small buses and vans for connections within neighborhoods, taxis, and readily rentable vehicles. Mountainous and very thinly populated areas should be connected with narrow-track light-rail trains that may be very small and may use cogwheel technology. The present development of an increasingly dense road and highways system and a car import, production, repair-service and distribution network for the middle-class should be stopped and reversed, particularly in poor countries with large populations and areas of very high and very low population density.
The world’s economic problems are to a significant degree due to the extraordinary international interdependence and the domineering role of USA’s economic model. The U.S.’s Federal Reserve Bank system (“the Fed”) has been extremely successful in keeping the value of the dollar stable even when the economy performed poorly. The strength of the U.S. dollar has empowered the U.S.’s banking system and financial institutions; these, directly and indirectly, powerfully influence the economies of most countries. They spread their basic philosophy like a cancer, moving economies towards their model of a money supply that mostly grows by creating debt, and establishing a production-distribution system that is highly centralized, squashing many small local enterprises. Many countries that largely isolated themselves and kept distance from the USA’s financial institutions had economic growth far above the average of highly industrialized and most Third World regions.
While middle-class people in all parts of the world have much in common, there are big differences in factors that influence the quality of life, people’s resilience, sense of community, etc. Within an essentially capitalist economic frame of reference, the socioeconomic-political systems of countries vary greatly leading to differences in young people’s development, general contentedness and happiness, etc. However, no civilization reaches what may be considered “ideal”; further development is needed. Third World countries should evaluate what aspects of what culture works best for them and make efforts to follow and improve good models to a significant extent. Examples are Lebanon having attempted to emulate a Western, particularly Swiss and Costa Rica a Scandinavian model.
Economic development should focus more on local needs than on exports. It is preferable for people to specialize and economically interact mostly within areas of similar culture, rather than everybody and every small enterprise trying to sell to and buy from very distant civilizations. The money of a small poor state may not be convertible into ‘hard’ currency without substantial losses, limiting the import of goods from highly industrialized countries; the priority of governments should be to establish and maintain an adequate money supply to avoid the need to barter and/or borrow for trade within a region that shares a culture, family connections, etc.
In the USA, the democratic system works poorly: money has become far too important and elections are often derailed by extremists and/or they are primarily a popularity contests rather than dealing with problems. People directly electing politicians may work well in small states where there is a good independent press and a high level of education and a widespread interest in public affairs; otherwise, small communities (neighborhoods, towns) should appoint representatives who can study issues and candidates before voting. The separation of state and church (politics and religion) is often ignored – pleasing fundamentalist science-denying Christians appears often more important than health care, education and global warming. This sets a very bad example to Islamic nations. The two-party system lumps unrelated issues into each party so that many people would prefer to separately vote for some democratic and republican proposals rather than having to decide between one and the other party. Women’s role in politics is still slim; women have largely to think like men in order to reach influential positions.
The USA’s legal system is bad in design and so expensive that poor and most middle-class people cannot afford proper legal help if involved in some legal problem or a divorce – women often cannot even protect their children from an abusive ex-husband if seeking child support. When committing a very similar crime, women are often punished more harshly than men and pregnant women are not given much consideration. Poor and particularly minority men are usually treated more harshly than middle-class Caucasians; black Americans may be killed by Latin-American or Caucasian men with no legal consequences when the murderer claims to have been afraid and/or defending himself or his property.
The USA’s economic system is now mostly based on borrowed money, particularly bank loans (bank loans were much less important in the past and still are much less important in many European countries): if most people would refuse to buy on credit, (if “consumer confidence” would be very low) the economy would collapse. However, indebtedness greatly reduces people’s quality of life, leads to depression and even suicides. Paying high interests is also associated with discounting one’s future, more impulsivity, more abuse-addiction disorders and crimes. Technological progress depends much on “venture capital”, inventors and entrepreneurs borrowing money from investors who hope and expect to make huge profits. In other countries, people study in free or heavily subsidized universities, save in their early work years, then possibly borrow some from family and start an enterprise free of strings and without a fiduciary duty to create profits for investors. Such entrepreneurs may follow their ideals and create what is good for society, even if earnings are low and there are no profits.
5.6.1 Some Observations regarding Third World cultures
Third World countries benefit much from European thinkers and Western technologies, but Western countries should learn from Third World cultures as well. Most importantly, Western political, economic and social thinking, which appears largely based on 18th century philosophy, must develop further, based on science and science-based ethics.
Some basic observations:
– Third World people, particularly women, show an incredible resilience, from which Westerners may learn. They may shift to enjoying human interactions and seeing meaning in many aspects of their lives shortly after enduring unimaginable pain and when having reason to fear abuses, more pain and dangers to their own and their loved ones’ lives; they appear to have apprehension about their future but hardly unmitigated, overwhelming fear. It appears that many have a religious belief that their conditions are somehow ‘right’, to be accepted and endured, that they may need to make some sacrifices for spirits, ancestors and/or gods (or the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God), but not live in a constant state of conflicts and fears.
– In spite of their resilience and relatively high pain tolerance, knowledge from other Third World cultures and Western thinking should decrease-minimize suffering, particularly cruelties that are enshrined in cultures having hardly any function other than being loyal to their ancestors’ traditions or functions that easily could be addressed in humane ways. Two sets of ideas have been most valuable to severely abused people of many cultures: 1. European Enlightenment thinking concerning equal rights of all people versus feudal and cast systems, slavery, etc. These ideas lead to end absolute monarchies, feudalism, slavery, genocidal wars and later colonialism, and it lead to “rights revolutions” most notably the International Declaration of Human Rights; also rights of animals, children, homosexuals and, belatedly, women. 2. Empowerment, utilizing a belief in and relying on local and international laws to demand, as groups, that people (in the Third World particularly women) are respected, treated humanely and given rights equal or comparable to those of men and treated humanely.
– Past civilizations and many modern Third World cultures are primarily village-based; people have a sense of communality, identity or belonging; much of the interactions appear more humane than in an anonymous society. Western cultures are too large and centralized, the anonymity of interactions leads to less inhibition to cheat and exploit, and people who seem left out are ignored. Western cultures and Third World countries that rapidly move towards urbanization and depopulation of rural areas may review and learn from the benefits of returning to a relative self-sufficiency of small communities and benefits of small schools and production places where everybody knows who belongs and who is an outsider, visitor or guest, or intruder.
– Often people with much indirect knowledge may develop most valuable ideas, as philosophers guided politicians towards revolutionary changes, in most areas without civil wars. Many Western engineers, biologists and other scientists have been instrumental in developing “appropriate technology”, simple devices that are very laborsaving or fostering health in Third World regions. Such innovations may help large populations while highly sophisticated Western devices can only benefit a small, urban middle class. Much more ‘appropriate technologies’ are needed, particularly in view of psychosocial and ecological problems.
In all settings, local cultures reinforce their own traditions, no matter how dysfunctional. Outsiders readily recognize what is unethical. In the process of advancing cultures, outsiders should be included in decision-making processes and in working towards any form of change. Members of very diverse cultures, Third World, European, etc., may be brought in as leaders or consultants. Regarding Western economies: non-economists and foreigners who observe the USA’s financial system’s failures and negative consequences may need to help politicians move forward.
Generally, the Western socio-economic and political thinking and most NGOs’ goals rely largely on obsolete concepts: equality, equal rights, individual autonomy, freedom of speech and justice; they are are elusive, almost meaningless in a modern civilization, and they miss the basic issue: teaching and practicing pragmatic ethical thinking and being humane in all endeavors. Today in the USA, freedom of speech and autonomy is mostly used in the pursuit of unethical goals; equality is essentially an idealized perception or illusion, and justice is a meaningless term considering that there is, scientifically, no basis for a ‘free will’. Religious freedom must be restricted: religions must not deny science, prevent medical treatments, associate religiosity with capitalism or another political system and or demand unethical acts, such as discriminating against some groups or treating girls-women inhumanely. Religious preaching, Muslim, Christian or Jewish, and other forms of ”free speech”, must be limited. Western thinking must move forward, integrating sciences and natural ethics; its teachings must not be transplanted in their present predominant forms into Third World cultures.
5.6.2 Empowerment and cultural change
There is always significant resistance to change: people who appreciate their position do not want to lose it; people who suffered may have some pride in what they endured reinforcing a belief that it was meaningful, and they may thus be reluctant to protect the next generation from the same suffering. There is often a fear that change has many unknown problems. However, sometimes people want radical changes and are blinded by expectations from progress that is promised by outsiders. Generally, ‘empowerment’ and carefully developing new or changed traditions appears valuable: aid workers should educate people according to local needs, help them develop self-confidence and teach workable approaches for self-organization and political action and gradual changes in traditions, etc. Many UN related organizations, governmental aid programs and NGOs have gradually learned that it is often best to work at the most local levels (‘grassroots’). Particularly women benefit greatly from ‘empowerment’, pursuing goals that men respect their decisions and that they are treated well and with dignity. (Women’s issues are generally neglected in patriarchal societies and many traditions specifically harm women.) In many places the importance of women’s contribution to broad progress has finally been recognized.
There must be a balance between
1. outsiders helping local people determine what they want most and what they believe would be most valuable,
2. outsiders and local leaders evaluating what goals are actually constructive, beneficial and effective versus changes that may make situations in important ways worse, and
3. outsiders gently introducing other priorities that people may not readily recognize but should work toward.
In essentially all cultures people must understand the principles of sciences: models of reality that help explain occurrences and that have predictive value, in health care, in technologies that are laborsaving and prevent accidents, etc. Religious practices of any sort must be limited to cultural traditions that do not interfere with recognizing and applying scientific approaches; religions may include beautiful rituals, but if people believe in gods and spirits, they must accept that humans cannot effectively communicate with them; humans can neither understand them nor move them to help or hurt others. However, religious practices often help cultivate spirituality and free self-healing propensities that are usually inhibited.
It is important that good traditions are maintained, possibly altered, but not renounced. “It takes a village to raise a child” is a meaningful insight; ‘footloose’ cultures where children have few relatives in their neighborhood are problematic. If community elders settle many conflicts, such systems should generally not be replaced but rather complemented where needed. Relative self-sufficiency of many areas should be valued.
If a tradition is considered inhumane or obsolete, people may still think about replacing its symbolic-cultural meaning e.g. with beautiful, possibly strenuous, rituals. Traditional healers should not be completely replaced but they should learn what herbal or spiritual remedies are valid or at least safe and where they need, immediately or eventually, the help of Western medicine and surgeries. Traditional healers may serve as hypnotists helping with painful and psychosomatic conditions and having psychotherapeutic benefits. Ancestors and spirits may be relevant in a culture, inspiring art, dances and rituals, but they should not be feared and they must no longer be blamed for diseases, obstetric problems, etc.
When people feel empowered to determine what cultural traditions should be altered or abandoned, local activists may greatly benefit from global perspectives. In the case of female genital mutilating surgeries, people may not only learn about health consequences, but also that the tradition is older than Islam and rarely practiced in Saudi Arabia and the most populous Muslim countries (Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, etc.) [The term female genital cutting or FGC is more acceptable to people practicing it, sounding less judgmental than female genital mutilation or FGM, however, except where the injury is minimal (e.g. in practices in Indonesia), the term is as misleading as ‘female circumcision’; the purpose of the cutting is to alter functions, decrease the girls’ ability to enjoy sexual feelings]. People discussing local culture may compare their tradition with cruelties in other cultures, present, recent and in more distant past, since most people readily recognize the inhumane nature of other cultures’ mandates or expectations and how assumed benefits are spurious; examples may include foot binding; with life passage rituals required scarifications and tattooing that often leads to severe infections; men having to kill and scalp another man to be eligible for marriage; and burning widows alive on husband’s pyre.
Often, cultural changes have to be enacted along with multiple changes. If FGC is assumed to decrease the likelihood that girls invite premarital sex, or in case of infibulation, that they are not likely to be raped, boys should agree that they favor the abolition of FGC because of empathy and caring for their sisters; this must then go along with generally broader teaching of empathy, particularly towards girls: boy and men should always feel protective of girls and women, and rape must no longer be considered a women’s or girl’s fault. Such changes go along with abolishing arranged marriages, stopping pressure for girls to marry early, and girls’ virginity being an issue of honor, even if parents may continue to have a reasonable influence regarding their children’s marriages. Regarding ethics: learning to be empathetic is essential and requires to learn and practice visualizing being a different age, ethnicity, sex or even an animal. Traditionally, males were extremely reluctant to visualizing themselves in the shoes or skin of a girl, which may be related to homophobic fears and general uncertainty regarding their maleness, male courage, aggressiveness and readiness to treat enemies children and wives in a harsh way; men rarely wanted to know of menstrual periods, childbirth, etc. Older men may also refuse to allow any feelings of compassion to surface when seeing young boys suffer during initiation practices. However, many African men feel very compassionate concerning young girls’ suffering with FGC and cutting in preparation for marriage; such men may be the main teachers making empathy a desirable aptitude in boys and making ready access to good obstetric care, including access to obstetric surgeries, a high priority in all poor areas, rural, shantytowns, etc. Other changes may be enacted that help women reduce unnecessary suffering in general and improve the relationship between the sexes.
5.6.3 Empowerment and technological progress
As people feel empowered to move forward, abandoning some of the most problematic and time-consuming traditional attitudes and practices may be heavily influenced by outsiders, scientist, writers and philosophers from any area, inventors and innovators from other poor countries and volunteers who use their spare time to invent and develop goods that seem needed in poor areas, and are often also helpful in highly developed areas. Examples of ideas and projects that may be introduced by outsiders in poor areas:
– Medical help in all village societies must include ready access to C-sections, and other basic surgeries e.g. for blocked intestine, appendicitis, tubal pregnancies, fistula repairs; well-trained nurse practitioners, possibly women who previously performed FGC, and nurse anesthesiologists should be taught to perform such surgeries safely.
– For transportation, very small trains make most sense in very poor, thinly populated and mountainous areas (similar to plantation, mine and entertainment park trains) are much preferable compared with roads and four-wheel drive trucks – For transportation, very small trains (similar to plantation, mine and entertainment park trains) make most sense in poor, thinly populated and mountainous areas; they are much preferable compared with roads and four-wheel drive trucks. Rail lines and train cars are inexpensive to build, maintain and run, they can run during torrential rains, they need much less fuel and may be run with any type of engine; for steep inclines, cogwheel technology may be used. In addition, there is a need to develop and locally assemble-produce human powered (peddling) vehicles for one or multiple persons, with or without pulled trailer, rain/sun cover or electro-assistance (small motor and batteries that are charged while breaking and going downhill). Light train cars and small vehicles may be built partly with local materials such as bamboo.
– Labor-saving simple devices, developed in one area or for one specific purpose should be known in most poor areas, so that, with local ingenuity, they can be adapted, e.g. to somewhat different crops. An example of renewable free energy: vertical axis sail wind mills that may be used for lighting and appliances or to operate a food grinding or pounding device.
– In many areas, the introduction of a local currency (barter coupons) can stimulate economic activities. Local currency may be issued by village governments for working on public infrastructure projects, helping the disabled, maintaining and improving public buildings, etc., and some may be evenly distributed to all inhabitants; however, local currency can only buy locally produced goods and services and cannot be readily traded for national or foreign (hard) currency to buy imported goods.
– Techniques to reverse overgrazing and desertification by greatly increasing surface that absorbs and radiates light and heat, and increase in underlying material that store heat. Example: deep groves or thin walls running East-West keep temperature close to the ground relatively cool during the day and warm during the night, similar to thick vegetation, thus increasing rainfall and growth of plants.
Local leaders may cultivate the attitude that doing what is obviously needed is primary and adequate payment for labor is secondary; in other words, a local leader may encourage all able workers to start building or improving houses, irrigation systems, roads, and rail ways, without assurance of any compensation for labor, use of their tools, and contributed materials. Participating in such work may be required from people needing unemployment support in the form of public payments, coupons for food, etc. Some inhabitants may produce food to feed hungry laborers, without expectation of proper payments. Then an economy can develop that, initially, is partly based on barter, partly on money, partly on charitable work.
Bank lending should be largely avoided. Microcredit, given to groups of women with conditions of participating in national goals of educating children, etc. may work (compare Grameen Bank by Muhammad Yunus, Bangladesh)
The importance of cheap, reliable transportation between villages appears particularly important for young women who do not live in their own families’ villages. Among chimpanzees, our closest non-human relatives, and in most human cultures, it is the adolescent girl who seeks a partner outside her family’s group or village to avoid inbreeding, or her family “gives her away”, i.e. arranges a marriage, to a stranger. This situation puts a young woman into a very vulnerable situation at the bottom of the new family’s rank order, below all men, older women, co-wives and matriarch, until she herself is a grandmother with daughter-in-laws. Even if fully accepted and loved by in-laws, a young woman, particularly a young mother should always have close connections and frequent visits with her family of origin. Particularly when giving birth, when a child is ill or when there are conflicts within her new family, much support from her mother, big sister and other close relatives is most important. Since young women with children are not likely to ride bicycles, motor bikes, oxcarts and trucks between villages, small narrow-track trains are most important for women and children.
Special issue primarily affecting women are often overlooked: e.g. in many places, particularly rural Third World areas, a scarcity of public restrooms often limits women’s ability to travel comfortably and safely. Even in highly industrialized areas, women have often avoided drinking adequate amounts of water which lead to or aggravated urinary tract disorders. A related issue are mostly preventable and easily treatable bladder and kidney infections consequent to sexual contact.
5.6.4 Further steps towards better institutions
To foster development, Third World countries of diverse ethnicities may form economic-cultural alliances, including free trade zones and shared research-educational institutions. Leaders of distant poor regions with similar conditions may organize their citizens to cooperate in improving agricultural techniques, education, medical services, housing, infrastructure, etc., learning from each other and adapting their cultures and economies accordingly.
International efforts to develop educational tools for all levels of education and all ages is valuable; education should include most fields of science, nutrition, meditation techniques, etc., but most important may be teaching natural ethics, using study materials to illustrate compassionate empathy, evaluating situations from different angles, applying ethical principles in conflict resolution, etc.
Countries should limit the production of goods for export, i.e. to earn hard currency. Rather than encouraging foreign-owned plants to build sophisticated industrial products for export and local use (cars, electronic products, instruments used in health care, etc.), it appears preferable that countries buy license agreements and lease machines and equipment, keeping control of what is produced and marketed.
As broad education spreads, decentralized small industries may evolve, comparable to the highly specialized small enterprises of Switzerland. Local engineers may then develop products and production processes further, to better adapt them to local and internationally changing conditions. Decentralization, partly reinforced by use of local currencies, is important to stop the flow of unemployed people to shantytowns of huge metropolitan areas.
Acceptance of patent rights, particularly in the health care field, should be considered negotiable rather than follow national and international laws that were devised to protect interests of corporations of highly industrialized countries. Spreading the application of new inventions may follow a model of developing educational materials and techniques and teaching medicine: young professionals learn from older ones, adaptat techniques and learn at conferences and from journal articles; every professional may introduce a different in some ways much better approach that others can learn from, e.g. in medicine a new way of psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress symptoms, vaginal rather than transabdominal hysterectomies, or finding a completely new use of an old medication – no patents are involved, practitioners learn from journal articless and directly from each other, discussing approaches at conferences or when working in the same institution.
For the development of sophisticated services and industries, countries may work with non-governmental donor organizations and negotiate bilateral agreements with progressive highly industrialized democracies. Particularly the small European countries (Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and the Netherlands) and possibly China would be likely to enter bilateral agreements and award development aid.
Until the later part of the 20th century, there was quantitatively little trade and even school systems wanted locally adapted teaching materials. Switzerland, having few natural resources, was not able to import many items people may have desired. Consequently almost everything was produced or at least assembled in local small enterprises, most of them started with personal and family savings rather than being financed by banks and outside investors who later would want to control production. Most products were essentially copies of foreign products that were further developed. In my education, much of the teaching materials, including books used in medical schools, pencils, fountain pencils, art materials, paper, drafting instruments, microscope, etc. were Swiss made, so were most appliances we used including food processors, dishes, sowing machine, skis, pianos, string instruments, and materials the house was built with. Main imports were some food items, parts of instruments, some large appliances and cars. Many tiny industries serving a local market created niches; there has been a high level of adaptability in thinking and production adjustments, leading a good number of industries to be able to compete in international markets.
There has been a false belief that ‘primitive’ cultures have to go through stages of development as Europe did. [When teaching in Austin, Texas, in 1978, the great economist Gunnar Myrdal stressed that Third World countries are referred to as ‘underdeveloped countries’ since, as he studied the problem of India, the highly developed countries developed rapidly while India could hardly keep its growing population from dying of starvation – he compared the Third World’s development with a dog chasing a car. American leaders considered Bangladesh as hopeless, a “basket case”] In reality, people easily skip development stages and readily copy, reinvent and further develop what they see as models for their own future. The main issue is what models they want to emulate: A sustainable model that is reasonable for the whole world population versus a model that leads to toxic pollution and destruction of the environment? A model that looks good but makes people miserable, destroying rather than improving what is fairly good within their present culture versus a model that maintains and strengthens what helps them to be resilient and, much of the time, relatively happy?
5.6.5 Appendix: Addressing international economic issues and international efforts to promote progress in local cultures
Third World countries may, as a bloc, deal with large debts to foreign nations by suspending or greatly reducing payments and negotiating with the highly industrialized world as one or few alliances. They may declare interests, other than compensation for inflation, illegal retroactively, and recalculate debts accordingly. Costs and inflation may be calculated in accordance with local economic conditions, e.g. if a loan was, at inception, equal in value to a certain quantity of the country’s principle export crop and the value of this crop dropped because of world-wide overproduction, the country may base debt negotiations on the present value of that export crop rather than the inflation adjusted value of hard currencies. This is particularly justified if Western experts projected the country’s ability to repay debts, e.g. based on estimating the value of future agricultural exports.
In renegotiating actual debts, its history may be reviewed, the consultations and projections, etc. A financial institution offering a loan must accept risks, whether the borrower is an individual, a corporation, or a government. If a responsible government inherits a debt, incurred during an era of ambitious, irresponsible governing or a dictatorship, the country’s population and its government must not be held fully responsible.
Certain debts, incurred during previous autocratic governments, may be considered responsibility of the autocrat and people close to him who also benefited, particularly if the autocrats extracted much wealth from the country. Consultants who advised Third World governments to make unproductive investments and corporations who benefited from the loans may be considered partly responsibility for some debts. A UN agency may serve as mediator or arbitrator in negotiations regarding foreign debts. Some debts of Third World governments to local financial institutions, owned by and primarily serving their upper class, may be reviewed like debts incurred by a dictator and his cohorts; they must not be considered responsibility of the whole population.
The question of debts by Third World countries has to be reviewed very broadly. Third World countries have been experiencing a large loss of adult workers, including in a poor country trained engineers and physicians. The workers benefit from the higher pay and living standard but are often exploited, e.g. foreign physicians invited to work in the USA are only offered least desirable and lowest paid work, as resident physicians working in public hospitals that are underfunded with many indigent and Medicaid patients (the USA is unable to educate the needed number of physicians, a majority of physicians in undesirable areas and least paid positions are foreigners). Similarly, legal and illegal young adult immigrant workers with low levels of education were no burden to local schools and health care systems and no American workers had greatly reduced taxes to help raise them; as they arrive they become immediately an asset to the country’s economy. The USA has an ethical obligation to pay the countries of origin for rising and educating these healthy young workers.
As the world population grows, millions of workers, minimally educated and with professional training, are unemployed, even though there are adequate material resources to work with and great needs for goods and services. The cause of the unemployment is a general shortage of money for economic interactions. Rather than trying to squeeze money from the poorest, an international UN currency should be introduced that is readily convertible into most major currencies; this added money supply may then be distributed to Third World countries and help fulfill most basic needs, and in the process create employment.
Generally, newly introduced UN currency may be used for debt service, in disaster aid, and, most importantly, to help countries provide a basic income to the poorest, preventing starvation and creating employment. If harvests fail and food prices rise, the poor should be given aid in the form of UN currency; people then could buy food from neighboring regions and imported food, and farmers could buy seeds, fertilizer, irrigation supplies, etc. Food aid from wealthy donor countries should always be sold rather than distributed without charge in order to avoid competing with and destroying local agriculture; gained income should be used to support the farmers and help provide a basic minimum income to poor inhabitants.
Particularly in Third World Countries, minimum basic incomes, frequently adjusted to be adequate for survival, are most important, since the poor starve whenever their crops are inadequate, when there is no work (other than subsistence farming), and when food prices rise. Because of poverty, a significant part of the African and South Asian population is chronically malnourished and in danger of starvation. Stunted growth of children is very widespread, often with impaired development of the brain, although many inhabitants later become obese (Malnutrition is often aggravate by poor hygiene and parasites, and poor people may have nutritionally inadequate calorie rich diets that include much fat and sugar containing ‘junk foods’ and soft drinks.) Money put into circulation as minimum basic income would considerably stimulate all branches of local economies. With a minimum income to secure basic nutrition, clothing and housing, people would rapidly learn to work for “luxuries” such as varied foods, bicycles and improved carts, slightly better and/or larger houses, minor improvements in clothing, etc.
Central governments of poor countries should, with international aid, help regional governments to
– improve agriculture, adjusting to local conditions, ecological factors, etc.;
– curtail child labor, creating jobs for unemployed adults and increasing school attendance,
– utilize unemployed educated people to provide basic education and vocational training for all children and minimally educated adults (women need more scientific knowledge than men because they make most vital decisions about their children’s health and basic needs);
– teach and widely promote global ethics at all levels of education; promote literature and entertainment that promotes compassionate empathy and is sensitive to ethical issues;
– include locally adapted forms of artistic expression in children’s and adult education;
– greatly increase training opportunities in health professions and other critical fields;
– improve medical care, particularly for women and children; including access to pain relief;
– assure universal access to family planning, including availability of abortions (while making efforts to minimize need/wish for abortions);
– expand safe water distribution systems to all communities (water may be transported by train), and safe waste disposal;
– improve veterinary services in rural areas;
– construct community buildings and new housing, utilizing local materials, e.g. adobe, concrete reinforced with bamboo and plant fiber (jute, henequen, sisal);
– construct tiny shelters for single, relatively isolated individuals (who may have hard to treat mental problems);
– constructing parks and plazas;
– gradually improve working conditions and general safety for all people; also assuring reasonably humane treatment of farm and work animals.
In cooperation with universities and international bodies, governments should:
– improve communication and cooperation between Third World regions, particularly concerning education and research, and when addressing cultural traditions that violate natural ethics and human rights;
– introduce and/or develop devices specifically adapted to local conditions, including energy efficient wood burning stoves, solar cookers, solar hot water, water desalination, use of geothermal energy, and small windmills (for pumping water, food processing, cooling equipment, etc.);
– build human powered and small engine vehicles, adapted to local conditions and needs; advance development of small farm implements;
– build a dense network of public transportation, primarily very small and intermediate sized narrow-track trains, for sparsely populated and mountainous areas, and standard gauge trains for most connections between cities;
– establish large cohesive national parks, where feasible return some areas to a natural state; where appropriate, promote eco-tourism.
To foster positive developments in each country, the international community must encourage the establishment of an effective United Nations’ directed system of international agencies and tribunals to define and supervise or enforce guidelines of global ethics (human rights) and critical aid. Its branches should, in cooperation with NGOs, deal with major ethical violations. They may:
– pursue gross human rights violators, e.g. by ostracizing dictators and culprits in local governments, their executive officials, and their primary beneficiaries, and prosecuting them in international tribunals (convicted violators could not leave their country without being apprehended and they could not invest in or retrieve invested money from any other UN member country);
– help local governments establish “truth commissions” to deal with passed human rights violations;
– institute international disarmament efforts through international negotiations and inspections,
– mediate in international conflicts; enforce prohibition of economic sanctions that hurt the poor and prohibition of any form of war to solve conflicts;
– address unethical migration policies;
– address unethical trading and business practices and promote decentralization of industries, minimizing economic need for migration;
– organize international relief efforts in natural and other catastrophes;
– help local governments enforce present laws against widely condoned human rights violations, such as wife beating, child abuse and forms of discrimination, possibly by bringing in counterparts from other cultures (including village elders, local women leaders, and mayors of small cities from distant countries and different cultures) to discuss and address traditional barriers to changes, and to help [people tend to be blind towards ethical violations practiced in their own culture but can readily appreciate them in other, similar cultures: the Southern USA would certainly benefit from Canadian or Scandinavian consultants in reviewing their laws and law enforcement];
– oversee the present legal system;
– work towards developing laws and customs that assure comparable rights of both genders with equal valuation of girls and boys, as reflected in equitable inheritance laws, adjusted expectations of a bride’s and groom’s families’ contributions to the new couple, including input regarding where a new family may or should live, passing down of family names, etc. (e.g. in tribal organizations, girls, boys, and couples may choose their clan membership: father’s, mother’s, in-laws’); however, rights of both sexes must not be equal, women generally need more rights and more protection than men (e.g. pregnant women should be protected from high stress which may harm fetal development and increase childbirth complications; in case of divorce, the mother must have the right to keep her children with the father and/or government having an obligation to support them);
To avoid bureaucratic inefficiencies, agencies should be decentralized but cooperating with each other as much as feasible. In major emergency situation, a UN agency should be given leadership in organizing the distribution of tasks among government agencies and NGOs; the UN must also mediate in major conflicts and hold the power to arbitrate.