Planning for the 1960s in the 1970s: Part II
B. Report of the Commission on International Development ("Pearson Report")
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Extracts from: International organizations and the generation of the will to change -- the information systems required. Brussels, UAI, 1970, 89 pages (UAI Study Papers INF/5). A review of some of the implications of three reports on the United Nations System in terms of the total network of organizations making up the world system and the complex network of interacting problem areas. Printed in International Associations, 1970, 3, pp. 135-152 (Part I) [PDF]; pp. 221-226 (Part II) [PDF]; pp 355-362 (Part III) [PDF]; 1970, 4, pp. 226-236 (Part IV) [PDF]. (The following remarks are based on the French edition. Quotes have therefore been translated.)
Comment on Pearson Report
The Report is based on the efforts of a team of World Bank experts to study the effect of aid over the past twenty years and to propose strategies which could lead to more rapid progress in the future.
The major points criticized in the Jackson Report find their equivalent here, namely:
And yet the Report makes the context oriented point: "Who can ask where his country will be in a few decades, without asking where the world will be ?" The first chapter of the Report has the interesting title "A Question of Will". This is not taken up in the text however, which, whilst apparently recognizing the problem of persuading public opinion and ensuring the creation of political will (which the Secretary Genera1 of UNCTAD has stressed as being of the highest priority "in order to avoid a second Development Decade of even deeper frustration that the first" (TD/ 96) ), merely goes on to suggest as a strategy for the future that the following are required: improved exchange facilities, foreign capital, evaluation of effectiveness, increase in aid, solution to the problem of increasing debt, improved aid administration, improved quality of technical assistance, reduction in population increase, increased aid to education and research, and increased multilateral aid. Presumably the question of "will" is whether the governments will want to do this.
The problem of how to overcome the increasing lack of interest in development aid, noted by the CESI Report, is not touched upon. The possibility that the solution to this problem might in fact influence the strategy chosen -- as would be the case in the operations of a business faced with a similar problem -- is not considered. Once again, we are faced with a partial approach to a problem.
One chapter in the Report is entitled "Partners in Development" (also the title of the English version of the Report). The partners are the governments supplying financial aid and the governments receiving such aid. No other bodies would appear to be considered as partners in the development process.
In a chapter concerned with more effective aid, there is however a section on private and benevolent aid which (freely translated back from the French) runs as follows:
How non-profit bodies do not, generally, and in many cases it is so stated in their constitutions, accumulate funds. The income is balanced by the aid dispensed. From this and the quote, one may conclude that:
The implications of this conclusion have certainly not affected the Capacity Study team. From the context they have apparently not affected the Pearson team. The quote is not from a section which forms part of the main argument concerning future strategy, but from one on aid effectiveness. Despite the figure for aid from private sources, these sources are not discussed elsewhere in the report or the tables. Nor is there any suggestion that they should be discussed.
As mentioned earlier, the problem raised in the first chapter was that of "will". The key to this problem has apparently been recognized in the quote above. No comment is made on how to obtain a will to develop, given this recognition. The Report states a goal and a strategy with no idea of how that strategy should be implemented. We are back to a position of "If only the rich nations would... "
And consider the following views:
How does the Pearson Report handle this possibility ? Recognizing the importance of volunteers, and ignoring the structures they themselves have built up, it recommends (in agreement with ECOSOC) that an international volunteer corps should be created. It is not clear whether this is supposed to be governmental, but it seems quite clear that the other nongovernmenta1 structures are considered de trop.
This approach of course ignores all the "non-volunteer" nongovernmental bodies and their functions which a political scientist (see above) or a sociologist would consider vital. One can see here the consequences of a study by economists. The volunteers represent manpower -- therefore they must be brought under the UN development aegis. The nongovernmenta1 structures have no significance in economic terms -- therefore they may be ignored. This attitude recalls some of the early disasters of development aid, when it was thought that Western man could fix any developing country by pouring in money and techniques and ignoring the social structure and customs. The important constraint could only be detected with another discipline-which was then considered to be irrelevant in that context. Only time and lack of success could bring the point home. How does a UN Agency determine whether a topic is being evaluated in the light of all the relevant discipline perspectives ? How often do sociologists check the recommendations of economists, etc ? Does the World Bank have non-economists on its staff ?
Why are high-powered teams set up on such important matters with only the insights of a single discipline to guide them ? Some requirements of an integrated approach to the control, management or understanding of change are illustrated by the following:
And each "way" highlights different features which are significant and critical.
This approach also saves a great deal of confusion, time and resources. Because if strategies, recommended as a result of the perspective of one discipline, ignore certain critical factors (and constraints) which can only be detected by another, then the inadequate strategy can be eliminated at an early stage of strategy formulation. Without this, the corrective can only be brought to bear through the lengthy and muddled process of report and counter-report. But only if representatives of other disciplines consider the origina1 unidisciplinary report worth criticizing (for, by definition, none is equipped to detect the significance of another). And only if administrative structures are so arranged that all the other relevant disciplines are brought to bear on the problem [ A technique for systematizing the determination of relevant disciplines under such circumstances forms part of a project proposed by Clark, Jere W. and Judge, Anthony Development of transdisciplinary conceptual aids; simple techniques for education, research, pre-crisis management, and program administration highlighting patterns of information transaction and sub-system interdependence, New Haven, Southern Connecticut State College, 1970.]
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