BEYOND THE NORTH-SOUTH STALEMATE by Roger D. Hansen

BEYOND THE NORTH-SOUTH STALEMATE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

As a contribution to the 1980s Project of the Council on Foreign Relations, Hansen's study is structured around the policy approaches available to Western decision-makers dealing with the problem of relations between industrialized and non-industrialized (or industrializing) nations. Hansen (Int'l. Studies, Johns Hopkins) lays out three broad approaches; co-optation, global reform, and basic-human-needs. The first scenario involves little in the way of innovation or change--the West stands pat, hoping that the ""south"" coalition will fragment with the richer, resource-producing nations moving away from their poorer allies and gradually becoming fully integrated into the current economic system. Although this proposal has had considerable support among conservatives, Hansen rejects it in view of the strong southern perceptions of systemic inequity, and opts instead for a combined reform and basic-human-needs approach. This program entails the establishment of trans-national organizations to locate problems in food and energy production and distribution, as well as population, and channeling resources toward those problem areas through automatic capital-transfer mechanisms (these measures in addition to trade liberalization and international finance reforms). But the danger in stopping there is of turning loose an army of technocrats on a sanitized world, so Hansen adds a commitment to ""basic-human-needs""--to assure a distribution of resources toward ameliorating conditions of absolute poverty. As Hansen is aware, this scenario is full of problems beyond those of setting it up--on the one hand, northern hard-liners oppose reform, while, on the other, southern leaders balk at human-needs monitoring--but taking domestic politics in each grouping into consideration, he believes it the best that can be accomplished. Complementing Stanley Hoffman's recent contribution to the same series, Primacy or Worm Order, Hansen provides a coherent overview of the issues involved--domestic and international, economic and political--even if skewed toward northern policy options.

Pub Date: April 8th, 1979
Publisher: McGraw-Hill