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Global Development and Poverty Reduction

The Challenge for International Institutions

Edited by John-ren Chen and David Sapsford

At the beginning of the third millennium, underdevelopment and poverty continue to remain critical problems on a global scale. The purpose of this volume is to explore the various ways in which the institutions of the global economy might rise to the challenges posed by the twin goals of increasing the pace of global development and alleviating poverty.
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Chapter 5: International Institutions and Global Inequality: Theoretical Ability and Empirical Failure

Andreas Exenberger


Andreas Exenberger INTRODUCTION The Multidimensionality of the Problem International organizations grew significantly during the half-century following World War II: non-governmental ones (NGOs) as well as governmental ones (IGOs). A lot of hope was associated at least with some of these organizations to foster democracy and human rights all over the world, to reduce economic inequality around the globe, to fight global poverty and hunger, and to pave the way for development for all nations and peoples. However the result, after 50 years, is quite different. Development is not a worldwide phenomenon but limited to certain countries, areas and social strata. Democracy and human rights are far from being globally accepted. Economic inequality has grown, especially with respect to the ever-widening gap between the richest and the poorest nations. One-fifth of the world population has to live on less than one US dollar a day, almost half on less than two US dollars, and nearly 800 million people go to bed hungry every day. The dichotomous pattern of an advanced and dynamic centre and a stagnating periphery remained virtually unchanged during the last half-century. So what has happened? This chapter addresses two important issues. First, it addresses the process of development in its economic, but also in its political and social dimension. Thus ‘development’ is multidimensional: more personal freedom and democracy, more respect for human rights, better education and health service, better working conditions and a better environmental situation are at least as important as faster economic growth, increasing...

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