When Ladies Hit 70
Absence of rule of law accounts for 60% of development failures. Development failures bring about poverty; poverty disease; disease conflicts and conflicts war.
Two ladies of utmost importance to our world have hit their eighth decade this month. And both seem to have walked through life with differing scores on effectiveness, grace and livelihood. One is a Hispanic; the other universal. One is seen as the unattainable dream. The other a failed fantasy. Both are headline makers. One is a woman; the other an institution. Raquel Welch and the United Nations (UN) are in their seventies!!
For Raquel Welch to turn 75 years old is yet another of her amazing feats. She is now enjoying the wonders of being able to be Hispanic, as her career beginnings where marked by a caucasianization process in light of Hollywood’s lack of sensitivity for diversity.She is trim and at 75 still sets hearts on fire!!
For over 50 years she has been at the plateau — alone or in company; married or single. And that course of action has paid off. She is today a happy grandmother, a kind wife and a living myth for both genders.For women, Raquel Welch personified eternal beauty and alluring sex appeal.
For men, Raquel Welch is the eternal representation of their youthful desires and exquisite femininity. The cult of Raquel Welch thus grows with time contrary to what is the feminine experience. And, as she continues to inspire women all over the world, many wonder what her secret is. The answer is curiosity.
Ms Welch ‘s curiosity led her to embark on a continuing discovery of the world that has taken her to transcendental meditation, yoga, organic farming and continuing education. Her curiosity driven continuing search for understanding the world around her has led her to swing with the times, turning her into an imperishable legend.
The other lady still turning heads is multicultural and saw the light under the best of all auspices. Born out west in the capital of the Gold Rush of the new world, the United Nations seemed to be mankind’s response to the horrors of a world war that had crashed through the threshold dividing civility from brutality. About 12 million people — from Jews to Russians to gays to Catholics — were annihilated in the name of revenge. This led world leaders headed by the Soviet Union, England and the U.S. to reinvigorate the Wilsonian dream of preventing war while promoting peace and development through an international organization. France and China would join as they became liberated.
According to President Truman the U.N. was to be «a solid structure upon which a better world can and should be built.» He further predicted «with this Charter the world can begin to look forward to the time when all worthy human beings may be permitted to live decently as free people.» And finished his thoughts on the subject with a premonition: «If we fail to use it we shall betray all those who have died so that we might meet here in freedom and safety to create it. If we seek to use selfishly — for the advantage of any one nation or any small group of nations — we shall be equally guilty of that betrayal.»
Fast forward to 2015. The 70th session of the U.N. General Assembly will convene on Tuesday, September the 15th, under signs of fatigue: Internal fatigue as thousands of bureaucrats that work for the organization seem to lack a clue as to how to best address challenges posed to humanity by modernity. External fatigue as heretofore unknown scourges run rampant in the planet. Traditional diseases which were almost eradicated like diphtheria, smallpox and poliomyelitis now share space in the health crisis screens of every country with Ebola, Chicunguya, SARS, Avian Flu, West Nile disease and BSE.
Economic Agencies like the World Bank; the International Monetary Fund and regional development banks have failed to provide for the development infrastructure that is needed to give poverty a push back or to prevent bubbles. War prevention and peace maintenance have not really become more effective: From the 1990s to today the world has been the electrified spectator of genocides in Kosovo, Bosnia, Rwanda-Burundi, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan. And most recently the world has witnessed with true dismay the prosecution of UN Forces sent to West Africa to prevent conflict and reinstate peace.
Many wonder why after so much anticipation and so many lessons, we are still facing so huge a desolation. I believe the answer to rest in lack of curiosity. Yes, the U.N. has failed to search for the meaning of transformation and thus is confused and paralyzed by a world where the economy is global, cities are more powerful than nation states, extreme weather is punishing our environmental excesses and poverty coexists with extreme and sometimes wasteful affluence. Key to the U.N. paralysis is its success in reigning in an international economy that was in tatters by 1945. Both the IMF and the World Bank not only stabilized the monetary dimension of world economics but also created significantly competent bureaucracies all over the world to run central banks and finance agencies.
But that success in developing a worldwide economic network was not accompanied by efforts to build the rule of law in the world or to decentralize from New York headquarters. Absence of rule of law accounts for 60% of development failures. Development failures bring about poverty; poverty disease; disease conflicts and conflicts war. By not decentralizing the UN bureaucracy failed to understand development and its own mission. Development according to, among others, Rosenstein-Rodan is «the process of creating social, economic and cultural value by a community.» Accordingly, development takes place in the field not in New York.
Because they were not curious enough, U.N. bureaucrats pushed for projects in the Third World that, as Hirschman put it, needed to «be billed as a pure replica of a successful venture in an advanced economy». As projects failed, populism had a fertile ground and as Montesquieu would have argued, the world lost the best way to prevent social disorder, which is to channel people’s passion’s into money-making. The 70th Session would be most useful if it concentrated on decentralization and rule of law. Sadly, there is no chance of such an outcome!!!