|Article Title: A Partnership for Development with the United States of America|
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As Mr. David Rockefeller wisely admonishes in his excellent article "A Hemisphere in the Balance" in The Wall Street Journal of October 1, with the basic groundwork already in place--after 500 years--to build a true "new world" through the creation by the year 2000 of an American hemisphere-wide free-trade system, within a democratic context, it would be no less than a crime if NAFTA, a key turning point in its accomplishment, were frustrated or delayed in Congress.
As honorary chairman of The Americas Society and the Council of the Americas, and as a man who has shown a life-long active interest in the well-being and prosperity of all of the People of the Americas, which includes of course the people of Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean, as well as the people of the United States, he has a clear vision of the potential for growth which would be unleashed by such a colossal creation. A free trading area stretching from Canada´s Hudson Bay to Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America: a true and significant empowerment of the American Hemisphere, a community of nations with a predominantly young population of more than 700 million people that already generates a combined gross national product of more than U.S.$7 trillion.
On the verge of such momentous and promising change however, which will no doubt come to pass sooner than later, it is an obvious imperative to also note, on the one hand, the marked developmental disparities amongst Latin American and Caribbean countries, and on the other hand, the abysmal developmental difference between these countries (excepting perhaps Mexico and Brazil), and the U.S. and Canada. With such an imbalanced inter-American economic scenario, and in the light of their own harsh national realities, how are the critically-disadvantaged masses of the most underdeveloped countries in the American hemisphere going to fare in their shoeless climb to paradise? Who, then, is able to help them? Who is willing to help them? How can they be helped?
But a few seconds pondering such questions should suffice to make responsible officials in the OAS and elsewhere, and most thinking persons on the planet, keenly aware of the absolute necessity of expediting massive private risk-capital flows from developed countries into the less developed nations in the American hemisphere, well in advance of the final toppling of inter-American trade barriers.
Indeed, one quickly and unequivocally realizes that for these vulnerable nations, fueling their private sectors, the economic engines that drive efficient job-creation, is the only pragmatic way to minimize the human suffering which the coming tremendous dislocation of their workers, forced to compete at even greater disadvantage, will inevitably bring. To be sure, a mercy ride for the financially handicapped on the steep road to economic salvation; and in the dusty fall of communism´s gilded leaden angel, the only visible ride. But an indispensable one, and not of necessity, a free one. In fact, they are not economically disabled and should not be forsaken, lest they become so, permanently, and a needless burden to themselves and the world. After all, the most developed nations of the American hemisphere, and the world, are expectantly banking on cheap labor and vast untapped consumption potential, to spur mankind into a great surge of general economic activity and prosperity lasting well into the next century.
Truly, the poorest of Latin American countries include some of the hardest-striving and most deserving people on earth, whose daily torment will now be greatly increased by a step-up of the media´s penetrating non-stop free-market-hawking of more goods, services, and lifestyles, typical of developed countries, currently afforded, and as is human, flaunted, only by their upper-middle-class compatriots; a minuscule but highly-visible stratum. The world cannot afford to simply stand by, watching, while hemispheric free trade slowly resolves their atavistic poverty through an upward harmonization of their standards of living with those of the rich. Relative economic idleness by the extremely disadvantaged would carry an opportunity cost which is by far too great to bear. Worse, it would be borne to an unfairly disproportionate and intolerable degree by those who cannot and will not afford it: the dislocated poor without savings or welfare systems to support them, during the long transition to a system whose success ultimately and ironically depends on their political support.
Moreover, through the formation of Sendero Luminoso and Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru, and their gruesome and destructive activities in Peru, recent history has again shown us the horrific effects which the sudden perception by the innocent, of their prolonged extreme poverty and suffering, will have in an emerging free-market economy; effects which by their very nature serve only to exacerbate their causes. In truth, without substantial and timely external aid for development during this painful transition period and beyond, many a fragile democracy may literally be threatened by hungry hordes descending on the capital, or by new Tarata Street incidents, affecting mainly the very same Andean countries whose populations stand the most to gain, and to give, if the desired inter-American system were successfully implemented. Clearly, regional and inter-American prosperity and security, and eventual political integration, will not be served by ignoring this lesson and risking an escalation of such effects.
What underdeveloped Latin American countries need then, at this time in which a new world order is emerging, and what the world expects from its only remaining superpower, is no less than A Partnership for Development with the United States of America that would work to the advantage of all of the People of the Americas. Prominent institutions and individuals who share our view of the urgent Latin American need, and opportunity, would be convened to establish Development Consortiums in appropriately prioritized Target Country capitals in Latin America, selected from amongst the most underdeveloped nations. These Development Consortiums would provide a means of structuring and coordinating symbiotic efforts between private, public, and multilateral institutions in the inter-American community, including the U.S. Treasury, to effectively channel private-resource outflows from OECD-Source Countries seeking acceptable risk-capital investments with the highest total rates of return, for their focused application to balanced economic, social, and environmental development.
To ensure their acceptance and success, Development Consortiums should be convened and sponsored by a prestigious inter-American multilateral organization, and would operate under the leadership of recognized players in the U.S. Securities and insurance industry in partnership with local financial institutions, in order to underwrite massive local IPOs and new issues through the worldwide sale of a new and suitable ad hoc financial instrument of universal appeal, aimed primarily at OECD and local institutional investors. If successful, all participants, and indeed the entire American hemisphere would stand to benefit. Hark! O good and mighty People of the Americas, prepare anew to hear your liberty bells toll!