Executive Intelligence Review
This article appears in the August 1, 2003 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

UNDP Report:
A Needless Decade of Despair:
Developing Nations Are Dying

by Mary Jane Freeman

[The charts cited in the text are available to paying subscribers to Electronic Intelligence Weekly.]

The decade of the 1990s was one of growing poverty and genocide for vast parts of the human population, as evidenced by data released on July 8 in the United Nations' Human Development Report for 2003. While the report is a mixed bag, some of its conclusions are not only horrifying, but they also bear out the veracity of Lyndon LaRouche's and EIR's forecasts over that same decade, i.e., that without infrastructure-vectored economic development on a global scale conjoined with monetary reform centered on a New Bretton Woods financial system, millions of people would die needlessly.

Human development as measured by the UNDP looks at life expectancy, literacy levels, and per-capita income. The report compiles data from many agencies in order to measure poverty levels around the world, monitoring countries' progress toward eradication of poverty and establishing decent standards of living. The progress is measured against "Millennium Development Goals" established between rich and poor nations in 2000. But, rather than progress, this year's report found that "for many countries the 1990s were a decade of despair." The one area of the world which proved the exception to this despair was China, which, with a directed push for infrastructure development, as LaRouche had proposed, "made impressive gains" in poverty eradication.

Impediments to development throughout the 1990s were many: from free-market looting schemes called shock therapy, foisted on Eastern Europe and Central Asia; to so-called liberation wars throughout Africa, which often were orchestrated by external interests to destabilize governments in order to grab raw material resources; to increased debt burdens in Ibero-American nations thanks to stringent International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditionalities, met at the expense of the welfare of the peoples of those nations.

These three regions were among those where human development, as measured by UNDP poverty indicators, saw stagnation or reversals. Concretely, based on a "human development index" using the three metrics noted previously, the UNDP survey found: 54 countries are poorer now than in 1990; 34 countries have a lower life expectancy; 21 countries have more people going hungry; 14 countries have more children dying before age five; and 12 countries' primary school enrollment is shrinking. Of the 54 countries with declining income per capita, 20 are in Sub-Saharan Africa, 17 in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), 6 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 6 in East Asia and the Pacific, and 5 in the Arab states.

Other key markers of economic collapse detailed in the report include the fact that by the close of the decade, 2.4 billion people still did not have access to adequate sanitation; 1.2 billion people were living on less than $1 equivalent per day; 1.0 billion people lacked access to improved water sources; and 10.7 million children age five or younger in 2000 died of preventable diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and cholera.

LaRouche Warned of Potential Disaster

As early as 1974 LaRouche and his associates had forewarned of the potential for pandemics—not merely epidemic outbreaks, which are confined to a specific area or community, but the outbreak of disease affecting people globally. By the end of the 1970s, AIDS had been detected in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ibero-America, Western Europe, North America, and Australia and New Zealand. As of 2003, the world community is battling sudden acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), West Nile virus, as well as the resurgence of once nearly eradicated diseases such as malaria and tuberculous. LaRouche's warning was based on the scientific method he employed in creating the "LaRouche-Riemann Method" for measuring economic processes. As he explained in a May 1985 EIR feature entitled "The Role of Economic Science in Projecting Pandemics as a Feature of Advanced Stages of Economic Breakdown," a forecast of this nature is based on the "congruity and interaction of economic and biological processes." This method employs "conceptions for defining living processes, conceptions developed through the Nineteenth Century on the basis of initial discoveries by Luca Pacioli and Leonardo da Vinci, at the close of the Fifteenth Century."

He wrote: "The economist employing that method, if given a bare handful of the most crucial parameters on per-capita energy-throughput requirements, immunological requirements, and evidence from historical epidemiology, can readily elaborate reasonable estimates of the relevant effects of economic devolution." LaRouche—unlike the lady-do-rightly role of the UNDP and others which apply free-market-based band-aid solutions to nations facing genocide—throughout the late 1970s and 1980s designed and published development plans for most regions of the developing world, including Africa, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and Ibero-America, providing the antidote to the needless spread of disease and poverty. He also proposed a "war on AIDS" focussed on basic public-health measures and a Manhattan Project-style crash research effort to understand and cure the diseases.

The embedded axioms of the UNDP reflected in its report's emphasis on environmentalism, free trade, gender equality, and "post-industrial" low-technology ideology, provide the basis for its deadly so-called solutions, which will only perpetuate, rather than halt this cycle of imposed death. For example, the UNDP says, "Growth is more likely to benefit poor people if it is ... labor intensive ... rather than capital intensive." Similar is its call for elimination of tariffs and subsidies. The report notes that infrastructure investments in "roads and [agricultural] storage systems" are needed, but it falls far short of the technology-transfer transformation approach LaRouche has called for between the industrialized and developing nations.

In fact, many core assumptions in the UNDP report follow from two genocidal policies imposed on developing countries promulgated in the 1970s by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. The first was National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200), which was a policy for de-industrialization of what was then called the Third World; and the second, a by-product of the former, was the policy of "appropriate technology" transfer, by which was meant a pick, an axe, and a shovel rather than tractors and irrigation systems to farm the land. These policies were predicated on the ideas of the oligarchy's most evil proponent of Malthusianism in the 20th Century, Bertrand Russell.

Parameters of Despair

The imposition of such zero-growth policies on developing nations—promoted by the Club of Rome, Prince Philip's World Wide Fund for Nature, the IMF and World Bank, among other leading elements of the financial oligarchy—led to the biological holocaust evidenced in the UNDP report. Specifically, the needless despair and devastation that occurred over the 1990s includes a quadrupling of people infected with HIV/AIDS, from 10 million in 1990 to 42 million by 2002 (see Figure 1). The pandemic is likely much worse, because even the UNDP admits that its data are incomplete. While nearly 70% of people infected today are in Sub-Saharan Africa, Figure 2 shows that the spread of this killer disease is global, as the economic infrastructure to sustain human life was deliberately neglected to squeeze every drop of liquidity out of the real physical economy to feed the speculative economy.

The UNDP and other official agencies insist that HIV/AIDS is primarily a sexually transmitted disease, an assumption which focussed remedies on condoms and the like, ignoring environmental cofactors such as sanitation and nutrition, and thereby failing to halt its growth. It was precisely the refusal to acknowledge that it is the absence of or collapse of basic infrastructure for human life, such as water systems and electrification projects—as President Franklin Roosevelt launched to reverse the Great Depression in the 1930s—which has fostered the conditions whereby the human body's immunological resistance to disease has broken down.

Sub-Saharan Africa is deemed in the report "a region left behind" in the race for development in the 1990s. There are 45 countries or areas in this region which lie below or adjacent to the Saharan Desert. The economies of this region "have not grown," the report states, with "half of Africans living in extreme poverty and one-third in hunger, and about one-sixth of children die before age 5—the same as a decade ago." At the current rates of stagnation or negative growth, "Sub-Saharan Africa will not reduce poverty until the year 2147 or child mortality until 2165," it concludes.

Figure 3 depicts the growth in child mortality from 1990 to 2000 within the primary regions of the developing sector, as compared to child mortality rates in developed countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The metric of the rate shown is determined by taking child mortality, measured as deaths per thousand children under five, in these non-OECD regions as a multiple of the child mortality rate for OECD countries; or, how much more likely a child is to die in non-OECD regions than in OECD countries. For example, a child five years of age or under in Sub-Saharan Africa was 20 times more likely to die before a fifth birthday in 1990, than a child living in an OECD country; and 29 times more likely in 2000. In Latin America and the Caribbean, child mortality as thus measured stagnated, with a child being six times more likely to die before age five than a child in an OECD country. All other developing sector regions' rates increased.

This process of "Africanization" is spreading, as LaRouche and EIR warned it would without his solutions. The UNDP report states, "People in Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS ended the 1990s less healthy and with lower average incomes than people in Latin America and the Caribbean." Further, in this region during the 1990s, "poverty more than tripled, to almost 100 million people—25% of the region's population." As in Africa, this process was one of deliberate policy. With the breakup of the former Soviet Union, rather than becoming the opportunity for rebuilding nations, it became the looting ground of Harvard-trained bankers such as Jeffrey Sachs, a "guest contributing editor" to this UNDP report. Sachs was the key proponent of "shock therapy"—a free-market scheme in which countries had to deregulate prices on basic commodities and close down industries and become "market economies" to meet the IMF's terms for future loans. Shamelessly, the UNDP report attributes this region's failed economic growth to "a long, painful transition to market economies."

Poverty, lack of infrastructure, and spread of disease have created the conditions such that a person born in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2000 had a "healthy" life expectancy of only 38.7 years—that is comparable to 18th-Century levels. In 1990, a Sub-Saharan African had a life expectancy of 42 years—a loss of nearly four years of life span in just a decade. The UNDP estimates "healthy life expectancy," not total life expectancy, which would vary somewhat because of certain health data variables not easily compared across regions. Even with that caveat, the UNDP data in Table 1 shows that for all of Africa, on average an African is likely to live only to age 41, while a person in a developed country can expect to live to age 66; i.e., an African lives only two-thirds as long. "Without HIV/AIDS, healthy life expectancy at birth in Sub-Saharan Africa would have been almost six years longer in 2000," that is, 44.7 years, the report says. Moreover, "If malaria and tuberculosis had been eliminated," Sub-Saharan life expectancy "would have been almost nine years longer," that is, to age 47.7. Were economic policies fostered for global infrastructure development as LaRouche has called for since the late 1970s, this genocide could have been prevented.

The Exception to the Despair

China was the exception to the "decade of despair." The report states that only here "did the number of people in extreme poverty decline," while in South Asia, home to 500 million poor people, "the number hardly changed," and it rose everywhere else. It is lawful that China, which has embarked on many great infrastructure-building projects in the past decade, succeeded in reducing poverty and hunger, unlike other developing nations. China "made impressive gains" in the 1990s, as it "lifted 150 million people—12% of its population—out of poverty, halving its incidence," the report states. More than 1.2 billion people—one in every five on Earth—as of 2000 survive on less than a $1 per day. This was a reduction of extreme poverty from 30% in 1990 to 23% now. But, "excluding China, the number of extremely poor people actually increased by 28 million," over the decade.

The fastest progress in China, the report notes, has been centered in the coastal and metropolitan areas, while the inland regions of the country have not yet benefitted. The annual growth rate in the coastal areas during the 1990s averaged 13%, whereas it was 2.6% inland. This dichotomy begs for LaRouche's Eurasian Land-Bridge solution.

Had the ideas of LaRouche been followed, rather than the shock therapy of Jeffery Sachs or the Malthusian policies of the Club of Rome, billions of people in the developing sector would not have had to live in a state of imposed misery, or to die.

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