Economy & Finances

Picked up four articles of this matter:

Top leaders pledge to help poor economies benefit from global trade – ADB, Published on Forbes, Sept. 19, 2007: MUMBAI (Thomson Financial) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said top global and regional financial officials have pledged to help small and weak states in Asia and the Pacific build and strengthen capacity to benefit from trade and spur economic growth to alleviate poverty … (full text).

Greenspan: China to determine world economic fate, Published on CHINAdaily, Sept. 18, 2007: Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan signs his book “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World” in New York, September 17, 2007. [AP]
Former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan predicted in his memoir that the world’s economic fate depends on China and its market economic development by the year of 2030. “If China continues to press ahead toward free-market economy, it will surely propel the world to new levels of prosperity?” Greenspan wrote in “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World.” … (full text).

UN Finance, published on global policy, article not dated: The United Nations and all its agencies and funds spend about $20 billion each year, or about $3 for each of the world’s inhabitants.

This is a very small sum compared to most government budgets and it is just a tiny fraction of the world’s military spending. Yet for nearly two decades, the UN has faced a financial difficulties and it has been forced to cut back on important programs in all areas. Many member states have not paid their full dues and have cut their donations to the UN’s voluntary funds. As of March 31, 2007, members’ arrears to the Regular Budget topped $1,355 million, of which the United States alone owed $785 million (58% of the regular budget arrears). Many proposals for UN reform deal with restructuring the UN’s funding. Some suggest that the UN must seek alternative financing sources to fund its programs. Proposals include instituting a global tax on currency transactions, while others propose environmental taxes and taxes on the arms-trade. However, member states responsible for the highest contributions are reluctant to reform the system, fearing they would lose political leverage. This section examines the UN?s financial condition and offers proposals for alternative financing of the UN … (full text).

UN Reform, published on global policy, article not dated: The UN needs reform. On that everyone agrees. But there is sharp disagreement on what kind of reform is needed and for what purpose. Again and again over the years, the UN has been reformed ? on average once every eight years. But the pace has now quickened and reform projects seem almost a constant part of the landscape. Foundations, think tanks and blue ribbon commissions regularly call for institutional renovation at the UN. Secretary Generals frequently re-organize departments and set up new coordinating committees. NGOs gather to press their reform causes. Diplomats negotiate. And from Washington come somber warnings that the UN must ?reform or die? But after the fireworks, the same problems regularly persist ? because the shortcomings of the UN are primarily rooted in the dysfunctional global order and the conflict-prone state system, not in the UN?s institutional arrangements. Few reformers are willing to admit that the UN?s complex and inefficient machinery results from deep political disagreements among its members and between other contending forces in the global system. Yet the United States, military superpower and transnational corporate headquarters, clearly wants a weak UN with an impossibly small budget and scarcely any voice in economic matters. Many other nations, to the contrary, want a stronger UN and more effective multilateral policy making. Whose ?reform? is to prevail? And how will any newly-devised UN institutions be paid for? … (full text).

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