For a Strong and Democratic United Nations: A South Perspective on U.N. Reform

In This Review

For a Strong and Democratic United Nations: A South Perspective on U.N. Reform

By The South Centre
Zed Books, 1997
229 pp. $62.50
Purchase

This volume, had it been written a generation ago, would have been full of fiery rhetoric about dependency and global injustice and would have put forth a strong program for using the international agency as a mechanism for equalizing rich and poor. As it is, the first two-thirds of the present book are defensive, answering charges by (mostly American) critics of the United Nations regarding excessive staffing, bloated budgets, inefficiency, and the like. The key substantive recommendations are to move security issues from the Security Council to the General Assembly, and to strengthen agencies like the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development and the U.N. Economic and Social Council at the expense of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, which are seen as agents of Northern interests. While the authors are doubtless right about the latter, the last thing the Third World needs today is a return to the politics of dependency and hostility to the global capitalist order.