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The coming Peace Dividend
Interview with the the Master –, through Benjamin Creme
by Patricia Pitchon

All nations could cooperatively organize so that the money saved from armament reduction would be available for the debt relief needed by the Third World.

Patricia Pitchon: There is a general feeling that there will be no ‘peace dividend’ unless the twin tasks of disarmament and debt relief are tackled more or less simultaneously to free sorely needed funds for development. The poor everywhere urgently need clean water, an adequate food supply, housing, education and health programmes. What are the necessary next steps to begin this mammoth task?

The Master: There must be and there will be a growing realization that the world cannot continue to support the investment in arms which pertains today. Already the major powers are beginning to realize this (through their own problems connected with it) and, as everyone knows, the Soviet Union is leading the way.

Mr Gorbachev, in particular, is aware of the extent to which massive armament investment has bedevilled his attempts to reconstruct Soviet society and the Soviet economy. But until all the powers recognize the imperative need for huge reductions in armament expenditure, little progress can be made in the direction of realistic aid for the developing world.

Once this is achieved, a crash programme of massive aid for the undeveloped nations must take place. Those nations that have prepared themselves in advance by sensible measures for aid allocation and management will render their countries the best service.

PP: How can nations prepare themselves to receive the aid that they need?

The Master: Those nations, who, at the moment, are preparing lines of communication and centres of reconstruction — whether governmental or voluntary — will find themselves in the best position to receive aid from the developed nations. Therefore, it behoves those governments now working for the betterment of the developing nations to organize, so far as is possible today, the various agencies and statistics of need which will be required to ensure a rapid response to that need. Necessarily, aid will be on a first-come first-served basis, and those best equipped and best organized will be the first to receive.

PP: What would writing off total debt for the Third World actually signify to the banks and financial institutions still owed this money?

The Master: Many banks would collapse unless their losses were guaranteed by national governments; this is what Hierarchy would hope to see. There is really no reason to expect that the banks alone should bear the cost of the debt. This has to be underwritten by governments in association with the banks.

Many banks will be found ready and willing to accept a proportion of their losses for such a worthy cause, but it would be unrealistic to assume that they could bear the total cost. However, it should not be forgotten that there are many banks today whose wealth is in large measure gained from advantageous loans to the developing world.

PP: What does the Master think of so-called structural adjustment loans favoured by the World Bank and the IMF? (Note: This type of loan often requires that the developing country allows foreign imports without being able to improve the terms of trade on the world market for its own agricultural and mineral exports; it is also compelled to lift food and energy subsidies. When food and transport prices soar, the shocks are felt by the poor, who often riot — a phenomenon which has repeated itself all around the globe in the eighties and into this decade.)

The Master: Based as these loans have been on a market forces concept, they are basically flawed. Reliance on market forces in the unequal situation pertaining in the developed and undeveloped world makes no sense which can be called just. These provisions are a travesty of what is actually required in the Third World. In some cases, they have been sufficient to galvanize a nation to greater material prosperity, but not infrequently with a deleterious impact on the culture of the people.

Where market forces are the sole priority inequality is assured and injustice must be the result. The World Bank and the IMF have misused their power to impose an ideological view of economic ‘norms’ on the Third World. It has been little more — in practice — than the extension of American hegemony in the international political-economic field.

In practice, the World Bank and the IMF, while undoubtedly aiding many countries, have acted to a large extent as a tool of successive American administrations; as the major contributor, the US has imposed its will on the modes of service which the World Bank and the IMF confer.

PP: How can the Third World nations begin to break this stranglehold?

The Master: It will depend to a large extent on the growing awareness that the world is one and that no progress is possible, even for the developed world, if at the same time two-thirds of the world’s population is left in poverty. This cannot for much longer be sustained. The present economic well-being of the major developed nations is but a bubble which is soon to burst. The nations must realize their interdependence, and when they do so through economic privation, they will adopt measures to restore the world economy.

Until the major nations are ‘up against it’ little real action is likely. In the longer term, a complete reconstruction of the world’s economic systems is needed and eventually will be implemented. As Maitreya has said, market forces, by their very nature, are unjust, and since they create division, separation and inequality, are evil.

PP: Can we expect a period of economic chaos?

The Master: Only a period of privation and difficulty will bring the governments of the developed nations to see reality: the interdependence of all peoples and the need for a more just distribution of world-resources.

However, the aim of Hierarchy in Its work vis-à-vis humanity has always been to reduce chaos to the minimum. In light of this aim it is to be expected that the transformations, although radical, will proceed at a pace consonant with the general well-being of all nations. The minimum of chaos will pertain.

From the November 1991 issue of Share International

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First published April 1999, Last modified: 15-Oct-2005