Our dream is a world free of poverty
So says the inscribed marble at the World Bank in Washington DC. Of course this is false – none of the high paid and tax-free employees want to see a world without poverty. Imagine the foreword from the World Bank President
This is the final annual report of the World Bank. The world is finally free of poverty; the World Bank’s mission has concluded.
Poverty reduction occurs despite the World Bank; there would be less poverty in the world today if the World Bank had never been created. Its policies have cemented dependency and entrenched poverty. It has preserved dictators and tyrants and helped to suppress the rise of the common citizen.
So too with the United Nations. It is well past its use by date and should be put to sleep. The United Nations today is an organisation devoted solely to lining the pockets of its many employees and promoting the causes of the five permanent members.
It is time for a major reorganisation of the numerous international organisations: the United Nations, IMF, World Bank, ADB, OECD etc. Many were formed with good intentions, but have been hijacked by special interests – rent seekers – over the intervening years. Then there are the numerous international NGOs – but that is a topic for another day.
The IMF should have been shut down when the Bretton Woods scheme collapsed in 1971, the very reason for its existence. Yet it has existed for 62 per cent of its life after the collapse of that scheme.
So too with the OECD, a creature of the Marshall Plan which is continuing to expand well beyond its original remit and competency. Supposedly a “rich man’s club” it has 34 members and is looking at incorporating China, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia and India.
It took World War 2 to kill off the League of Nations, so a pessimistic view would be that only wars can cause the termination of an international organisation.
The United Nations was formed in 1945 with 51 members and five permanent members on the Security Council. It now has 193 members. Yet none of the five permanent security council members has any incentive to change its structure to reflect present-day realities.
Would France give up its seat in favour of Germany or India? Of course not. The right to veto decisions has given these five members inordinate power over the United Nations. Only the resignation of the other 188 members would force the five permanent members to confront this reality.
As for the United Nations’ peacekeeping forces – they are principally there to watch and have been remarkably unsuccessful in keeping the peace. We don’t need a United Nations to prevent a major war – nor would the UN be capable of doing so.
Australian governments have boasted of ‘punching above our weight’. Yet we seek to preserve the status quo by running after a temporary and useless seat on the security council. In fact the bid is costing Australian taxpayers billions of dollars.
And for what? A two-year position on the security council with no effective influence while compromising our principles. Talk about diminished ambitions.
Australia could lead the way by encouraging the 188 members who do not enjoy a permanent seat on the security council members to resign from the United Nations system and to create a new, streamlined, effective, efficient and less costly international organisation(s) to take the world forward over the next 50 years. The new international architecture could better represent the interests of the world’s democracies and the people of the world. If the 188 members followed Australia, so too would the five permanent members.
The budget savings for the world would be astonishing. There is so much overlap and duplication and inefficiency in the present international architecture. They are ineffective, often promoting outcomes opposite to intent.
Australia needs a bold vision. The present security council bid is mediocre, costly and ultimately meaningless. Instead we should show world leadership: resign from the United Nations system and promote a new vision of international cooperation and development. That is our moral imperative.