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The New International Economic Order

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Promulgated as a United Nations declaration in 1974 , the NIEO was the most widely discussed transnational governance reform initiative of the 1970s. Its fundamental objective was to transform the governance of the global economy to redirect more of the benefits of transnational integration
toward ‘‘the developing nations’’—thus completing the geopolitical process of decolonization and creating a democratic global order of truly sovereign states. It was, in short, a proposal for a radically different future than the one we actually inhabit.

 

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At the core of the NIEO’s agenda was a series of interrelated proposals for reforms
to the structure, governance, and norms of the global economy designed to improve
the relative position of the so-called developing states. In particular, the NIEO Declaration called for:

(a) an absolute right of states to control the extraction and marketing of their domestic natural resources

(b) the establishment and recognition of statemanaged resource cartels to stabilize (and raise) commodity prices

(c) the regulation of transnational corporations

(d) no-strings-attached technology transfers from north
to south

(e) the granting of preferential (nonreciprocal) trade preferences to countries
in the south

(f ) the forgiveness of certain debts that states in the south owed to
the north.


Together, all these proposals amounted to an assertion of the ‘‘economic sovereignty’’ of postcolonial states. Although the point of origin for some of these demands can be traced back to the Mexican revolutionary constitution of 1917 or even earlier, the more proximate intellectual origins for these ideas derived from pioneering work in development economics by the Argentine economist Raul Prebisch, first as the head of the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLA) from the late 1940s and then as the founding secretary general at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) from the early 1960s.

(The bottom text, for prototype reasons, is reprinted from Nils Gilman, The New International Economic Order: A Reintroduction, published in Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 2015, pp. 1-16 )


 

The New International Economic Order

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decolonial centre | Pluto Educational Trust | 2023