International Meeting of Experts on the New International Economic Order - Philosophical and Socio-cultural Implications

(Vienna, 2-3 April 1979)


In conformity with the resolution adopted by the Executive Board of the I.P.O. (21 June 1977) and referring to the resolution unanimously adopted by the I.P.O. conference on "The Cultural Self-Comprehension of Nations" (Innsbruck, 29 July 1974), the international meeting of experts discussed the subject of "The New International Economic Order Philosophical and Socio-cultural Implications."

The discussion was based on resolutions 3201 (S-VI) and 3202 (S-VI) adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (1 May 1974), containing the Declaration and Programme of Action of a New International Economic Order, and on resolution 9.11 adopted by the General Conference of Unesco (1976) concerning the cultural and scientific aspects of the New International Economic Order.

The meeting of experts, which was held under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Austria, Dr. Rudolf Kirchschläger, was attended by representatives of the United Nations, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Arab League's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Independent Commission on International Development Issues, and by a number of experts from the Arab region, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The conference was presided by Ambassador Dr. Mohamed Sadiq A-Mashat (Iraq). Co-chairmen were Ambassador Alioune Sène (Second Vice-President of the I.P.O., Senegal) and Prof. Umberto Gori (member of the Executive Board of the I.P.O., Italy). The opening lecture was delivered by the Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Finance of the Republic of Austria, Dr. Hannes Androsch.

In conformity with the Executive Board's resolution stressing the necessity of a more profound research on the socio-cultural implications and the philosophical and ethical as well as legal basis of the principles regulating the New International Economic Order, the participants have been trying to apply an interdisciplinary approach in the discussion, according to the proposals presented by the President of I.P.O., Dr. Hans Koechler, in his opening speech.

In the discussion, special emphasis was given to the considerations formulated by the President of the Republic of Senegal, Prof. Léopold Sédar Senghor, who has introduced a genuine interdisciplinary method into the worldwide debate on the establishment of a New International Economic Order.

The general trend of the discussion can be summarized as follows:

Economic aspects of the New International Order

1. The prerequisites of a more rapid, further economic advance of the developing countries are their continued industrialization and their increase in the volume of non-traditional exports of manufactured goods. The aim would be to overcome the economic disadvantages resulting low differentiation, i.e. specialization in the production of agriculture and raw materials. Furthermore, a rise in export earnings is essential to enable developing countries to cover the heavy service payments due on their external debt.

2. The process of industrialization of developing countries requires adequate industrial strategies of the advanced countries, e.g. reduction of labour-intensive industries and protectionist policies by advanced countries.

3. The developing countries aided by the developed countries should aim at improvements in their agricultural sector and the stabilization of primary product markets.

4. Developed and less developed countries should strive for an internationally managed economic solution embracing the main factors determining the pattern of domestic and international productive investment.

5. The importance was stressed for the developing countries to aim at greater economic independence by financing a larger percentage of investment out of increased domestic savings. The ability to do so will be closely correlated with their export potential and size of per capita income.

6. To consolidate the existing external debt of developing countries into a more appropriate maturity structure.

7. To reduce the commitments of the less developed countries to the private banking system and to ensure an increased flow of financial resources to the developing world, especially on a concessionary basis.

8. To match more appropriately than has been the case in the recent past the financial needs of the less developed countries (e.g. for short-term balance-of-payments finance, trade finance, project finance, infrastructure and social investment, etc.) and the particular type of financial provision (short and medium-term bank credit, IMF lending, long-term development agency finance, etc.).

Global aspects of the New International Economic Order

1. The concept of the New International Economic Order must be seen as part of a global pattern of cultural development.

2. Therefore, a holistic or systemic approach is indicated as the only legitimate approach.

3. A scientific approach should include: a. reliance on fact-finding; b. inductive reference; c. cross-cultural comparison.

4. The principles as expressed in the resolution of the United Nations concerning the establishment of a New International Economic Order should not only be discussed in an abstract and formal manner. Those principles should be transformed into rules of international law. Special emphasis should be given to the recognition of the fundamental social rights - as part of the system of human rights -, not only on a national level, but as guiding rule of the transnational responsibility of states.

5. Any global approach has to include not only the aspect of fact-finding (descriptive level), but above all the aspect of ethics (normative level).

6. Therefore, the system of international economic relations is not exclusively related to "pure" (immanent) economic concepts, but it is linked, in its very essence, with ethical principles of mutual responsibility on a transnational level.

7. It will be necessary, therefore, that commonly accepted principles of "social" policy, already accepted on the level of national governments, will be implemented as rules of the economic and diplomatic relations between sovereign states. The global inter-dependence will make it necessary to give up the traditional do ut des principle as guiding rule of foreign policy; it should be replaced by the multi-dimensional concept of solidarity.

8. A prerequisite for the establishment of a New International Economic Order lies in tolerance and in a spiritual predisposition to open oneself to a dialogue with the members of the human community, as the present day mankind has to live with antinomies and with the fact of complex and not entirely soluble conflicts, without prejudice to constant search for peace and global development.

9. A dramatic change of attitudes and mind - especially in the developed and former colonialist countries - is required to the effect of a shifting the emphasis from having to being, and from consumption to quality of life.

The general consensus reached at this meeting of experts was that this conference should be the first step to influence - by scientific means - the international public opinion (especially in the developed countries) in regard to a new and multi-dimensional concept of development which will include not only the economic progress, but all forms of cultural self-realization of nations. The participants have expressed the hope that this might lead to overcoming the evil consequences of colonialism and to establish international relations based on the principles of equality and solidarity. The International Progress Organization was asked to continue its strife for this new system of international co-operation.

Vienna, 3 April 1979