Ahead of the Curve?

Ahead of the Curve?

UN Ideas and Global Challenges
Louis Emmerij, Richard Jolly, and Thomas G. Weiss
Foreword by Kofi A. Annan
Distribution: World
Publication date: 7/1/2001
ISBN: 978-0-253-10830-2
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Description

A Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 2003
Ideas and concepts are arguably the most important legacy of the United Nations. Ahead of the Curve? analyzes the evolution of key ideas and concepts about international economic and social development born or nurtured, refined or applied under UN auspices since 1945. The authors evaluate the policy ideas coming from UN organizations and scholars in relation to such critical issues as decolonization, sustainable development, structural adjustment, basic needs, human rights, women, world employment, the transition of the Eastern bloc, the role of nongovernmental organizations, and global governance.

The authors find that, in many instances, UN ideas about how to tackle problems of global import were sound and far-sighted, although they often fell on the deaf ears of powerful member states until it was apparent that a different approach was needed. The authors also identify important areas where the UN has not stood constructively at the fore.

Author Bio

Louis Emmerij is Senior Research Fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center, where he is co-director of the United Nations Intellectual History Project. Until 1999 he was special adviser to the president of the Inter-American Development Bank. Before that he had a distinguished career as president of the OECD Development Centre, rector of the Institute for Social Studies in The Hague, and director of the ILO’s World Employment Programme. Among his recent books are : Economic and Social Development into the 21st Century (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), editor; Limits to Competition (MIT Press, 1995), co-author; Nord-Sud: La Grenade Degoupilée (First, 1992); Financial Flows to Latin America (OECD, 1991), co-editor; Science, Technology and Science Education in the Development of the South (Trieste, 1989); One World or Several? (Paris, 1989), editor; and Development Policies and the Crisis of the 1980s (OECD, 1987).

Richard Jolly is Senior Research Fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center where he is co-director of the United Nations Intellectual History Project and Professor Emeritus at the University of Sussex. Until mid-200 he was special adviser to the UNDP administrator and architect of the widely-acclaimed Human Development Report. Before this, he served for fourteen years as UNICEF’s deputy executive director for programmes, and prior to that a decade as the director of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. Publications to which he has contributed include: Development with a Human Face (1998); The UN and the Bretton Woods Institutions: New Challenges for the Twenty-First Century (MacMillan, 1995) Adjustment with a Human Face (Clarendon Press, 1987); Disarmament and World Development (1984); and Planning Education for African Development (1969).

Thomas G. Weiss is Presidential Professor at The CUNY Graduate Center, where he is co-director of the United Nations Intellectual History Project and editor of Global Governance. From 1990 to 1998 as a Research Professor at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies, he held a number of administrative assignments (Director of the Global Security Program, Associate Dean of the Faculty, Associate Director), served as the Executive Director of the Academic Council on the UN system, and co-directed the Humanitarianism and War Project. He has also been executive director of the International Peace Academy, a member of the UN secretariat, and a consultant to several public and private agencies. His latest books are Military-Civilian Interactions: Intervening in Humanitarian Crises (Rowman & Littlefield, 1999); Humanitarian Challenges and Intervention (Westview, 2000), 2nd edition with Cindy Collins; and The United Nations and Changing World Politics (Westview, 2001), 3rd edition with Roger A. Coate and David P. Forsythe.

Reviews

"This groundbreaking book is the first volume of a projected series by the United Nations Intellectual History Project of which the coauthors, affiliated with the CUNY Graduate Center, are codirectors. Although many institutional histories of the UN have been written, this pioneering work fills a gap in scholarship by focusing on the UN as a crucible in the world of ideas in the economic and social realms. Oftentimes eclipsed by global political events, many of these ideas have not only raised global consciousness and permeated international public policy discourse but have also inspired and precipitated important international initiatives. The book's nine chapters trace the evolution of these ideas chronologically and thematically, highlighting the UN's role as an epicenter of global discussions of such critical transnational issues as sustainable development, structural adjustment, women's rights, population growth, the environment, and global governance. Carefully researched and well documented, this dissection of the UN's contributions and failures in the areas of international economic and social development is an important addition to the literature. A must purchase for academic libraries with major UN and/or international development collections. Upper—division undergraduates and above." —D. Ettinger, George Washington University , Choice , May 2002

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Table of Contents

Preliminary :

List of Boxes, Tables, and Figures
Foreword, Kofi A. Annan
Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations

Introduction
1. Four Powerful Ideas and the Early Years
2. Development Hits Its Stride
3. Employment Creation and Basic Needs
4. UN World Conferences and Global Challenges
5. Current Orthodoxy, The New Social Question, and Policy Alternatives
6. The Socialist Bloc’s Collapse
7. Widening Global Gaps
8. Governance, Good Governance, and Global Governance
9. Conclusion: The United Nations and Ideas