Reshaping the International Order - Part 1 - What Does a World Governed by Humanistic Socialism Look Like? *

Knowledge Driven Revolution
07.04.2008
Brent Jessop

“The establishment of a New International Economic Order entails fundamental changes in political, social, cultural and other aspects of society, changes which would bring about a New International Order.” - RIO: Reshaping the International Order, 1976 (p5)

The Club of Rome is a premiere think tank composed of approximately 100 members including leading scientists, philosophers, political advisors, former politicians and many other influential bureaucrats and technocrats. This series of articles describes the major conclusions of the 1976 book Rio: Reshaping the International Order: A Report to the Club of Rome [1] coordinated by Nobel Laureate Jan Tinbergen. The RIO report “addresses the following question: what new international order should be recommended to the world’s statesmen and social groups so as to meet, to the extent practically and realistically possible, the urgent needs of today’s population and the probable needs of future generations?”

From RIO: Reshaping the International Order:

[Italicised text is original emphasis and bolded text is added by author.]

“Many in the RIO group believe that this equitable social order could best be described as humanistic socialism…” - 63

So what exactly does a new social order based on “humanistic socialism” look like? Below is the RIO group’s own description of what the future should look like.

Collective Workers and Full Employment

“Society must also deliberately aim at creating employment for all those seeking it and at ensuring that the distribution over different types of jobs achieves a balance between the satisfaction derived from the job and the satisfaction of the needs of society. The latter necessitates that certain unpleasant (heavy, dirty, dangerous) activities be performed. If these activities can be learnt relatively easily, they could be performed by all citizens. Their efforts could be organized in the form of ‘land’ or ‘neighbourhood armies’ for work in rural areas, in the field of environmental care…” - 69

“A full employment policy should be adopted by all governments as part of their development plan.” - 145

“As a counterpart to these rights, a number of duties must be accepted, especially the duty to use one’s capacities in the interest of an adequate level of production…” - 63

“Public power should be used to ensure that education is geared to meet the needs of individuals and the needs of society, that is, all individuals. The supply of qualified types of labour should be so planned as to equal, to the greatest extent possible, the demand for them by society (i.e. by the ‘organizers of production’).” - 69

A Planned World Economy

“Effective application of public power implies the need for middle and long-range planning at different levels… The UN Economic and Social Council might be best suited for undertaking such a task, perhaps assisted by the UN Development Planning Committee.” - 70

“At the highest level, the level of world affairs, international institutions must form the prime movers of planned change.” - 100

“… the optimum utilization of human and physical resources in the world as a whole.” - 140

“One of the basic questions which today faces the international community is whether it should accelerate the process of this evolution and consciously put in place the various elements of a system for global planning and the management of resources

The achievement of this global planning and management system calls for the conscious transfer of power - a gradual transfer to be sure - from the nation State to the world organization. Only when this transfer takes place can the organization become effective and purposeful.” - 184

Private Sector and Global Free Trade

“New forms of cooperation between private initiative and public authorities will have to be characterized by a certain balance of power…” - 280

“In the trade field, an International Trade and Development Organization, formed by expanding the responsibilities of UNCTAD [United Nations Conference on Trade and Development], should be set up with a very broad mandate for overall coordination of policy issues relating to international trade in primary commodities and manufactured goods. Likewise, UNIDO’s [United Nations Industrial Development Organization] responsibilities should be increased to enable it to participate in the planning of a more equitable world industrial order;…” - 184

“This [Third World development] implies that, if a new international order is to be created, the rich nations must be prepared to give up part of their future productive capacity. To be able to do this smoothly they will need to resort to adjustment policies and such policies must form part of their development strategies… The creation of an optimal international division of labour, and as such the selective development of economic activities in Third World countries, calls for the substantial extension of such adjustment policies…

It is no longer desirable that the industrialized countries adopt policies of protecting their labour-intensive industries in the manufacturing sector. Rather, they should seek, as must the Third World, to develop those industries in which they have a comparative advantage…

The process described, albeit with distortions, is already taking place: some sectors of Western manufacturing industry are moving to Third World countries. The movement of Western European garment industries to North Africa is a case in point. As such, private initiative will no doubt prove responsible for a large part of the adjustment required. That adjustments are at present insufficient is witnessed by the millions of workers who migrate from the Third World to seek employment in the Western industrialized nations. To the extent that the adjustments brought about by private initiative on the strength of international market forces will be inadequate, and in view of the fact that private enterprises may not be sufficiently creative nor responsive to the needs of countries, adjustment must be stimulated and guided by selective taxes and subsidies. Subsidies should be offered to those industries with a clear potential for contributing to a country’s or a regions’ development efforts. Such subsidies could aim at supporting changes, where necessary, in the production mix of enterprises…

To ensure the effectiveness of adjustment policies, there is a clear need for coordination of policies both between the industrialized countries and between public authorities and the private sector…” - 112

“The industrialized countries, on their part, will have to introduce policies of adjustment, develop specialization in knowledge-intensive products and gradually introduce and enforce environmental protection standards.” - 143

“In the long term, transnational enterprises will still form part of the world structure, in either their present form of private enterprises or in a renovated form comprising genuine international ventures.” - 160

Public International Enterprises

“The possibility of genuine internationalization of some transnational enterprises or transnational operations should be further investigated. They could be owned, controlled and managed by an international development authority. The pharmaceutical industry could be used as an initial test case for analysis because of its international social implications.” - 281

“Active sharing of benefits [of the ocean], with particular regard to the needs of the less developed countries, through a variety of devices including international public enterprises, especially for fishing and offshore oil production; international tax on ocean uses, etc.” - 175

Consumption Patterns

“The rich nations… must develop new consumption styles which are less wasteful, less resource - intensive and geared to the consumption of social services rather than of superfluous consumer durables.” - 183

“Growth in equality would make it less difficult for people to accept the principle of self-restraint in the satisfaction of material needs, the ideological cornerstone of the future ’steady state’. It would equally create the necessary social conditions for self-control of family size and the consequent reduction in population pressure; birth-control campaigns are likely to remain largely ineffective (unless enforced by coercion, which is clearly unacceptable) up to the time that peasants are freed from material insecurity, that infant mortality rates go down, and that the use of unpaid child labour is no longer necessary to make ends meet.” - 162

“Ultimately, they must aim to construct their policies on a series of ‘maxima’ which define an appropriate style of civilized living in a world of deprivation and declare that all consumption beyond that fixed maxima is not only waste but a conscious action against the welfare of large numbers of poor and disprivileged, their own children, and the prospects for a peaceful world.” - 76

Financial and Monetary Change

“(a) The gradual introduction of a system of international taxation which should be handled by a World Treasury, both to meet the current as well as the development needs of the poorer nations;

(b) The creation of an international reserve currency by an international authority, such as an International Central Bank, which should be under international management without being dominated by the interests of one particular group of nations;” -184

“The statutes of transnational enterprises should be under the supervision of, and their profits taxed by, an inter- or supranational authority.” - 160

More on the proposed changes to the financial system in part 2 of this series entitled: Reshaping the International Financial Order.

International Control of All Mineral Resources - The Common Heritage of Mankind Concept

“In the long term, and assuming progress towards the creation of an equitable international economic and social order leading to a pooling of material and non-material resources, mineral resources will need to be viewed as a common heritage of mankind. This concept implies both a real world market for all mineral resources and a system of world taxation to replace national mining taxation. The revenues collected should be redistributed among Third World countries - possibly through such an agency as IDA [International Development Association - World Bank group]…

This tax could, for instance, be introduced as one of a moderate rate and gradually be raised to something in the order of 70 per cent of profits on fossil fuels and 50 per cent of the value of production of ores (including uranium).

Such a tax would, like the present taxes on oil products, in fact be paid by the consumers…

Such a tax, at the rates proposed, would probably induce consumers to restrict their consumption of mineral raw materials…” - 148

“It is now recognized that a more elaborate system of careful husbandry and management of raw materials and scarce resources is inevitable.” - 244

The redefinition of sovereignty from “territorial sovereignty” to “functional sovereignty” as well as the establishment and expansion of the concept of the “common heritage of mankind” is discussed in more detail in part 3 of this series entitled: “Functional” Sovereignty and the Common Heritage of Mankind.

Reshaping Public Opinion

“Public opinion is no phenomenon sui generic. It is in part the result of government policies and by definition politicians cannot hide behind their own creation. If some sectors of public opinion in the industrialized countries are immersed in the rhetoric and slogans associated with misunderstanding, then much of this may be inherited from their political leaders. And if these leaders are in part responsible for a situation which impedes acceptance of the need for change, then they themselves must be held responsible for changing this situation.” - 110

The reshaping of public opinion and the importance of the scientist and experts is further described in part 4 of this series entitled: Reshaping Public Opinion and the White Coated Propagandists.

World Food Authority

“A number of measures have been proposed which should bring greater planning and coordination in the field of domestic food production and international supplies of food, including the establishment of world grain reserves… In the last analysis, it may require the setting up of a World Food Authority to supervise this vital area of human activity and survival” - 184

More on the establishment and functioning of the World Food Authority in part 5 of this series entitled: Population Control and the World Food Authority.

A Glimpse into the New Order

The final article in this series will examine a wide range of topics including: regional unions, world solidarity, foundations of the international legal system, freedom and the establishment of an standing United Nations military.

[1] Quotes from Jan Tinbergen, RIO: Reshaping the International Order: A Report to the Club of Rome (1976). ISBN 0-525-04340-3

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