Multimedia for Economics of United Nations Topic
Below are links to video segments for Economic Thinking workshop.
The United Nations tries to accomplish many things, and a central one is to promote prosperity and economic development in the poorer countries of the world. But United Nations aid and development policies have been generally counterproductive. That is, U.N. programs tend to make people and countries worse off both in the donor countries who fund U.N. aid programs, and in the developing countries who find that U.N. policies are misguided and funding goes to government officials and favored industries, rather than to support economic progress.
The following segment from Nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose Series (from the early 1980s), explains why market economies do better than economies subject to dense and often arbitrary government regulations.
I recommend playing the first 16 minutes. Dr. Friedman introduces basic economic benefits from trade and specialization, and contrasts market-oriented economic policies in Japan with state-planning, subsidies, and protectionism in India
• Note too the key point that Japan’s economic reforms came in the mid-1800s when pro-market and pro-trade policies were popular. India however gained independence in 1947, a time that socialism and planning were popular.
• The United Nations was founded about the same time as India, a time with government planning was considered the best way to achieve prosperity. India was to be a shining example of how development experts, foreign aid, and economic planning could accelerate economic development. United Nations aid and programs in India have failed for decades, as they have in Latin America and Africa.
Here is a segment on Indian economic development (or the lack of it) from The Commanding Heights:
India’s Permit Raj (from the Commanding Heights) 3.33 minutes.
Protectionism was government policy, but was also promoted by the United Nations as “self-determination” and “self-sufficiency.”
Foreign Aid failures in Africa.
In recent years (during the George W. Bush administration), Jeffrey Sachs argued that though foreign aid had failed in the past, new programs with modern measurement strategies could succeed. Sachs and others called upon the United Nations and other countries to double foreign aid to poor nations.
Affirmatives can argue that this United Nations development strategy has continued to fail, and that U.N. aid programs should be reformed or discontinued. Below are two John Stossel segments on the failure of foreign aid.
So if foreign aid fails to promote economic development, what works?
How can poor people in African, Asian, and Latin American countries improve their lives and gain the prosperity that most in Europe and the United States take for granted?
This video from Poverty Cure with suggested solutions:
The Poverty Cure website is here. With more informations on the various organizations involved.