I daresay some readers have been following developments at the United Nations over the pie-in-the-sky 'Sustainable Development Goals' adopted by that organization's members last Friday. We're informed that it will cost a mere "estimated $3 trillion a year needed to enact the SDG's".
The World Bank, with other development banks, coined the phrase "Billions to Trillions" to illustrate the challenge.
. . .
Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, said the agenda would not be achieved without business - and that meant ensuring stability and good governance in countries to support big partnerships.
"Business is attracted to where there is a solid and able environment and basic rule of law, commercial law, dispute resolution, peaceful and inclusive societies," said Clark, the former New Zealand prime minister.
"For us, it's fundamentally not about financial contributions that business makes to U.N. agencies. It's about shared values ... the way business does business. Is it inclusive, and is it sustainable?"
Centerpiece to funding talks has been a focus on helping countries boost their domestic resources by improving tax collection and attacking tax evasion and illicit cash flows.
While some criticize this as tinkering with a broken global tax system, Gurria said SDG funding does not need new initiatives but can build on and improve existing structures.
He called for a team of "tax inspectors without borders" to build trust in countries' systems and boost investment.
"If you get it right, you can get trillions," Gurria said.
But it is agreed that funding alone was not enough to achieve the global goals, with policy changes needed to support the priorities.
Michael Green, executive director of the Social Progress Imperative which analyzes countries' progress on social measures, said economic growth alone would not meet the SDGs, which deal with subjects ranging from energy subsidies to developing genebanks.
"The SDGs are about political will and inclusion," Green told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "We have the resources if we use them properly for this is not just about money."
There's more at the link.
Wait a minute. You want $3 trillion every year - two times the annual expenditure of the entire US federal government - to implement these Sustainable Development Goals . . . and you're telling me it's not about the money?
Pull the other one, ducky. It's got bells on it.
Note the emphasis on business as "inclusive" and "sustainable". What they really mean is "taxable". It's not about businesses so much as it's about sources of revenue that can be taxed, to raise money for these SDG's. That's demonstrated clearly by the proposal for "tax inspectors without borders". To hell with national sovereignty, privacy, confidentiality and every other principle that's guided nations for the past several centuries. If we want to tax you, we'll follow you to the ends of the earth and ride roughshod over every protection you thought you had. Show us the money!
A big part of the emphasis on the cost to implement these SDG's is that it'll take money from wealthier nations and peoples and redistribute it to poorer ones. However, they're also being driven by an anti-business, anti-capitalist, pro-ecology philosophy of life that's fundamentally opposed to our present way of life. The Guardian made that clear last week when discussing the SDG's.
Right now, our planet only has enough resources for each of us to consume 1.8 “global hectares” annually – a standardised unit that measures resource use and waste. This figure is roughly what the average person in Ghana or Guatemala consumes. By contrast, people in the US and Canada consume about 8 hectares per person, while Europeans consume 4.7 hectares – many times their fair share.
What does this mean for our theory of development? Economist Peter Edward argues that instead of pushing poorer countries to “catch up” with rich ones, we should be thinking of ways to get rich countries to “catch down” to more appropriate levels of development. We should look at societies where people live long and happy lives at relatively low levels of income and consumption not as basket cases that need to be developed towards western models, but as exemplars of efficient living.
How much do we really need to live long and happy lives? In the US, life expectancy is 79 years and GDP per capita is $53,000. But many countries have achieved similar life expectancy with a mere fraction of this income. Cuba has a comparable life expectancy to the US and one of the highest literacy rates in the world with GDP per capita of only $6,000 and consumption of only 1.9 hectares – right at the threshold of ecological sustainability. Similar claims can be made of Peru, Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Tunisia.
Yes, some of the excess income and consumption we see in the rich world yields improvements in quality of life that are not captured by life expectancy, or even literacy rates. But even if we look at measures of overall happiness and wellbeing in addition to life expectancy, a number of low- and middle-income countries rank highly. Costa Rica manages to sustain one of the highest happiness indicators and life expectancies in the world with a per capita income one-fourth that of the US.
In light of this, perhaps we should regard such countries not as underdeveloped, but rather as appropriately developed. And maybe we need to start calling on rich countries to justify their excesses.
. . .
Perhaps we might take a cue from Latin Americans, who are organising alternative visions around the indigenous concept of buen vivir, or good living. The west has its own tradition of reflection on the good life and it’s time we revive it. Robert and Edward Skidelsky take us down this road in his book How Much is Enough? where they lay out the possibility of interventions such as banning advertising, a shorter working week and a basic income, all of which would improve our lives while reducing consumption.
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This is not about giving anything up. And it’s certainly not about living a life of voluntary misery or imposing harsh limits on human potential. On the contrary, it’s about reaching a higher level of understanding and consciousness about what we’re doing here and why.
Again, more at the link - not that anyone needs any more of that drivel, but still . . .
The ultimate lie to such moonbattish sentiments can be found on the ground in those same South American nations so lauded by the author. If things are so great there . . . if buen vivir is so marvelous . . . if those countries are so "appropriately developed" . . . then why the hell are their citizens so bound and determined to make it to the USA by any means possible, fair or foul, legal or illegal, so they can have access to our way of life instead?
The moonbats never bother to answer that question, because they can't. It gives the lie to their pie-in-the-sky ecologist theology (and that's what it it is, in truth - a theology, a form of religious faith based on belief but not on observable, verifiable, empirical fact).
The truth is not in these people. The old acid test still applies. Follow the money. If you do, it shows pretty clearly where their real interest lies. "Give us money to assuage the guilt we're trying to make you feel!"