ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by S NanjundanSubscribe to S Nanjundan

Indian Industry Stagnation or Growth

simple reason that the archival sources did not provide material on this aspect. The abundant archival material on other aspects, however, makes up more than adequately for this void.

A New World Order

S Nanjundan Is the 'new world order' a euphemism for Pax Americana or a real attempt to reshape the world order towards a. more equitable, more co-operative and more progressive system?

UNIDO The Turnaround, 1985-89

THE United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), Vienna, will be completing, by the end of 1989, its first four years operating as an autonomous specialised agency of the United Nations system. The third session of its general conference to he held from November 20 to 24 will mark the completion of the first term of office of its first director-general, Domingo L Siazon of the Philippines. The conference is expected to unanimously re-elect him to a second term of office, which he richly deserves for having brought about a turnaround in the fortunes of and prospects for UNIDO. The expectations raised by the new UNIDO versus realities of the international environment were analysed in this journal four years ago,1 The UN system was facing an unprecedented crisis of confidence in its bona fides as well as a financial crisis due to the disenchantment of the richer countries with multilateralism and default in payment of its assessed contribution by the most powerful country, the United States. UNIDO, till then a part of the United Nations secretariat, had itself been bogged down in north-south confrontationist issues of redeployment and redistribution of world industrial capacity, transfer of technology and flow of external financial resources, even though it had progressively developed a technical co-operation programme with the developing countries to an annual expenditure (on technical assistance) of almost $ 100 million by 1985. This author had commented as follows four yers ago in the afore-cited article: In the changed circumstances of today when the world economy is at a standstill if not stagnating, when the burden of debt of the developing countries and the lack of growth of developed countries have led to drying up of multilateral assistance, when it will be difficult to raise additional resources, it is a moot question whether the conversion of UNIDO will be to the long-run advantage of industrialisation of the developing countries.2 The results of the functioning of UNIDO during the last four years have belied these pessimistic expectations. The turnaround achieved has been due both to exogenous and to endogenous factors. The world economy has grown faster than in the first half of the eighties, despite continued stagnation in Africa and Latin America. Confidence in the United Nations system has markedly improved due to the political initiatives and successes of Perez de Cuellar, the secretary-general of the UN (Iran-Iraq, Afghanistan, Namibia, Angola, Western Sahara). While these factors have helped UNIDO, much of the credit for its turnaround is due to the realistic and pragmatic policies and initiatives of its director-general, Siazon. Before dwelling on these, one should analyse the extent and magnitude of the changes in UNIDO activities.

From North-South to South-South

September 20-27, 1986 they showed and how it could best be presented''. This was the time when Arndt met for the first time three influential Australians, L F Giblin, doyen of Australian economists' H C Coombs (Governor of Australia's central bank) and R I Downing (Ritchie Professor at Melbourne). Among his earliest semi-political writings, was a letter to the newspaper Sydney Morning Herald defending the newly founded IMF against aspersions cast on it by Eddie Ward, Labour Minister and "leader of the faction opposed to Australia joining so deplorably capitalistic and US-inspired an institution". Arndt also became the research director of the Fabian Society of New South Wales and wrote a pamphlet on "The Case for Bank Nationalisation" His inaugural lecture as Professor for the newly created Chair of Economics at the Canberra University College was on ' The Unimportance of Money", which he confesses, "now reads like a caricature of then current vulgar-Keynesian views on the subject". Although denied formal contact with officialdom in Canberra, Arndt was amply compensated by invitations to attend the regular series of Sydney Meetings of University Economists at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (now the Reserve Bank of Australia) initiated in 1952 by Governor Coombs. As in Sydney, Arndt, always the committed economist, devoted a good deal of his time in Canberra to adult education, journalism, and politics, and also graduated on to the international circuit, which took him, among other spots, to the United States, Calcutta, Delhi, Geneva and Paris. During his Indian sojourn Arndt produced a bold critique of the Mahalanobis planning model pointing. to its excessive generality ("so general that it would be as applicable to Singapore as to India, to Western Samoa as to the Soviety Union") and "its total neglect of comparative advantage''. But Arndt overlooked that the Mahalanobis model far from being general was in fact geared specifically to large subcontinental economies like India, Soviet Russia, and China with a broad and diversified resource base and large internal markets. Subsequently, Arndt also worked with the Indian Planning Commission (Pitamber Pant, Tarlok Singh, et al). He was "powerfully affected by the emotional experience of learning about the abysmal poverty" of Indian and declined to return for a longer period when asked by MIT, for fear that "he would never get away" if allowed "to be further emotionally involved". Arndt also spent a sabbatical year (1960-61) with the UN Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva in its Research Division (with Kaldor and Hal Lary). Soon thereafter he moved to the Chair and Headship of the Department of Economics in the new Research School of Pacific Studies, which among others, led to a prolonged and most productive involvement with Indonesia's economic problems including the foundation of the justly reputed Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies. Arndt's success in conferring scientific status on regional economic studies is a fitting riposte to the likes of Martin Bronfenbrenner who are inclined to "Pity the Poor Country Specialist".

Industrialisation via South-South Trade

Industrialisation via South-South Trade S Nanjundan Industry and Development: Global Report 1985, UNIDO, Vienna, 1985; THE United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has published the first of a projected new series of Annual Global Reports, intended to be policy- oriented and proposing measures for improving the environment for the industrial!' sation of the developing countries. The 1985 report is divided into two parts. In the first and shorter part (40 pages), entitled 'Current World Economic Situation and Policy Issues for Industrialisation',, industrialisation in the South in the post-war period, and particularly since the 1960s, is analysed and assessed in the context of global developments in trade, finance and technology (or productivity) and in relation to developments in the North. The review is carried out on familiar lines

The New UNIDO-Expectations versus Realities

August 31, 1985 had been completely oblivious of the various cleavages that necessarily arose in his corrupt regime As long as each faction generally looked to Obote for political clout, he did hot give a damn for all the infighting that characterised his government. As is well known,, political struggles in Africa very soon acquire a tribal and/or religious shrouding, and in Uganda this factionalised politics was of late reaching such proportions that Obote's own actions began to be associated with it Lacking the tact to steer clear of that politics, he thought he could clamp down on it by lending his weight on one side. It was a fatal mistake. Having an army which is predominantly of one tribe, Obote made it appear that he was siding with a tribal grouping that enjoys a minority position in the army. The officers from the majority tribe could not but be alarmed, and when they ordered their men to march on Kampala, Obote had no option but to flee. Such, then, is the brankruptcy of politics in Africa. For it should not be thought that these features are purely Ugandan, in truth they characterise political developments in the continent as a whole. The political decay differs from one African country to another only in its degree.


Back to Top