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The Rosett Report

The UN’s Millennium Development Flop

August 7th, 2013 - 2:47 am

True, these are broad categories and measurements, and Friedman himself goes on to explain that there may be variations among subsets of countries, which his study did not delve into. For that matter, there are UN-defined targets and measurements involved which do not necessarily reflect the enormous complexities of human progress (or lack of it). In the myriad interactions of politics, economics, and individual preferences, there is more at work than is dreamt of in any UN philosophy.

But broadly speaking, Friedman is highlighting data and questions that ought to be the subject of rapt attention and genuine debate at a UN that advertises itself as dedicated to helping the poor — and solicits billions of taxpayer dollars in the name of that cause. The MDGs have become one of the UN’s justifications for its ever-growing appetite for money. Meanwhile. the most highly visible and consistent beneficiaries of the UN Millennium Development Goals are not the poor. The clear beneficiaries are the first-class passengers on the UN gravy train — UN officials themselves, along with the constellations of well-paid consultants and jet-set conference-goers. The MDGs began with a huge New York summit for the signing of the Millennial Declaration, which Annan has since described as one of the highlights of his UN career. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has carried on in similar vein, touting and lauding the MDGs, and urging that member states pour resources into this UN campaign. The UN has held not only the initial 2000 Millennium Summit, but an MDG 2005 summit, a 2008 “High-Level Event,” a 2010 summit, countless conferences around the globe, and with the original MDG deadline of 2015 now getting near, there are plans afoot for a program of post-2015 MDGs.

The deeper problem here is that the MDGs, for all their lofty aims, amount in many ways to simply a UN-repackaged version of central planning. While we can all agree that it is profoundly desirable to end poverty, the real avenue to that goal is not a set of bureaucratically defined targets, but decent government, protecting a framework of law that leaves individuals free to choose for themselves the tradeoffs with which they try to improve their lives. At a UN where the majority of the 193 member states are not free market democracies, that’s a goal much harder to promote than a set of slickly packaged MDGs. But if the aim is to make a difference, that’s what needs galvanizing. Something the U.S. ambassador could usefully contribute would be to call attention to Friedman’s study, and ask the assembled worthies, in public, why on earth the UN would have the arrogance to consider such damning findings irrelevant.

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Oh goodness me, I need my sal volatile.
You mean trading spanking new UN Toyota Landcruisers for sex, hotel bills and waterfront properties didn't lift the peasants out of poverty? Silly old American taxpayers! Plainly, all our fault and we must pay more.

Personally, I'd rather see Mme. Power's entrails hanging from the flagpole. Maybe that's not sufficiently multiculti. Let's toss her in a pit and stone her instead.
[Aside to Ms. Rosett: a deeply sincere thank-you for wading through this slop so we don't have to.]
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
The problem with the MDG is that they were concieved with admirable spirit by people who didn't know what mattered to the people that they were trying to help. There is nothing new in the study that wasn't already known to people in the aid community if they stepped back and looked at the results. Read Easterly's book 'The White Man's Burden' for an earlier critique of centralized aid planning and what can be done with smaller and more practical initiatives that are more responsive to the market.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
I believe your "you can find it here" link is messed up. Both the format and the reference.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Thank you. Link fixed.
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CR
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
UN is the largest assembly of crooks and liars in the world & a complete waste of tax payers monies
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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