Rhetoric and Reality in North-South Relations

by Charles Wolf, Jr.

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Reviews two volumes resulting from the 1980s Project of the Council on Foreign Relations: Reducing Global Inequities, by W.H. Wriggins and G. Adler-Karlsson; and Rich and Poor Nations in the World Economy, by A. Fishlow, C. Diaz-Alejandro, R. Fagen, and R. Hansen. The reviewer does not believe that dividing the world into "North" and "South" is a useful or constructive approach to problems of poverty and development in less developed countries. The authors, excepting Fishlow, are critical of the inefficiency and inequities of markets without realizing the potential for miscarriage and mischief in nonmarket solutions. In calling for a "new international economic order" the authors fail to realize that the shortcomings of the "old international economic order" transcend the distinctions between developed and less-developed countries; and they neglect the truly dramatic records of modernization achieved within the "old" order by South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Brazil, and Mexico.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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