Nipawin - Thursday, July 12, 2001 - by: Mario deSantis


Lately, the United Nations has released the ranking of one-hundred-seventy-four countries with respect to quality of life and Canada slipped to third place after having been on the top of the ranking for six years; Norway is first and Australia is second. Our conventional economists and this same government have admitted that Canada is behind some 30% in the standard of living in comparison with the United States, yet the United States is ranked sixth by the United Nations.




What do we do with these numbers? Do these numbers help us to become better people and better countries? NO! There is no such a thing as an objective way to say that one country's quality of life ranks above another country's; as there is no objective way to say that the Norwegian language is above the Italian language. The United Nations should not spend money and time on the ranking of the quality of life of different countries, and you know why? Because in exercising this ranking manipulation, the United Nations implies that all the countries under the current globalization framework are getting better, richer and more democratic.




This is not the case! Just refer to the ongoing racial violence in Great Britain, to the ceaseless confrontation among Israelis and Palestinians, to the war in Bosnia, to the genocide in Rwanda. I am of the opinion that the United Nations doesn't have its priorities straight, and the United Nations doesn't have its numbers right!




In a recent report the United Nations says that "truly impoverished countries are now in a minority among the world's nations." These people at the United Nations give us selected and contradictory information to purposely deceive the public of what is really going on in the world. The United Nations acknowledges that about half of the world's billion people live on less than $2 a day, and that some 1.2 billion live on less than a dollar a day. Now, I would like to ask the United Nations this question: do 3 billion people living on less than $2 dollar a day and composing some 50% of the world's population constitute a minority?




The United Nations is giving us too many numbers and causing a misdirected economic direction to alleviate poverty in the world. I don't trust the United Nations when they state that technological transfers to Third World countries are the major requisites for development. I subscribe to David Korten's understanding that


"development depends on people's ability to gain control of and effectively use the real resources of their localities-land, water, labor, technology, and human ingenuity and motivation-to meet their own needs."


  Relevant articles published by Ensign
  Canada slips on UN quality of life index, CBC Canada, July 10, 2001
  UN says developing world needs technology, CBC Canada, July 9, 2001
  Life improving for poorest: UN. Technology's spread and despotism's decline credited for longer, richer, smarter lives, Steven Edwards, National Post, July 11, 2001
  When Corporations Rule the World, by David C. Korten, 2nd Edition 2001, Prologue, page 14