What does global partnership signify to you and to your country?
In terms of improving conditions in less developed countries, the UN has set a goal and defines global partnership through following:
– Existence and development of non-discriminatory trading and financial systems with openness, clear rules and predictability
– Focusing on improving conditions in least developed countries while taking into consideration their special needs (also landlocked and small island state developing States)
– Provide access to affordable essential drugs in co-operation with pharmaceutical companies
– Availability to new technologies (information and communications) in co-op with the private sector
(UN MDG´s. Quoted 19.5.2014).
In 2011, the official amount of development aid was 0,31 % of total GDP in developed countries. The percentage is decreasing, despite of the 0,7 % target set by the UN. Debt burden ratios in developing countries, however, have decreased, and products from developing countries now more easily find their way to the Western markets. The usage of mobile phones in developing countries is rapidly increasing, e.g. beneficial in the usage as payment methods with lacking, or danger of, banking systems in certain regions. (UNA of Finland. Printed Material. 2014; Business Insider. Quoted 19.5.2014).
Exactly how useful is it for a state to have increased access to mobile payments if, at the same time, there is lack of sufficient infrastructure to provide all its citizens with nutritious food? Food for thought, certainly. At least to me it seems somewhat contradictory.
In terms of natural resources, and alternative sources of energy, Africa as a continent alone has the potential to provide all of the world´s energy – through solar power. Currently, however, the continent produces only under one per cent of total world energy. (African Union. Quoted 19.5.2014; The Alternative Energy eMagazine. “Africa, the Untapped Potential for Clean Energy”. Quoted 19.5.2014).
Us humans are deeply curious by nature, through evolution, which made us the ultimate “learning machines”. As proof for this we only need to look back into the history of humanity, our ancestors.
“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision”.
As an example of human curiosity, courage and learning through mistakes, serves the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus, who in the 15th century accidentally discovered America in his urge to find a seaway to India. His voyages of discovery were a countdown to the European conquest of America, and he is said to be the father of imperialism, a term that today mostly awakens negative thoughts about the nature of humanity.
A couple of centuries later, in the 18th to be exact, the Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith, presented his ideas in the Wealth of Nations, a classical political economic theory, which still today serves as a foundation for economy. According to Adam Smith´s idea, a state has to secure people´s assets, solve disputes and make sure that rules/laws are being obeyed. In other words: the state needs to take care of things an individual is incapable of alone, or what the individual does without efficiency. In his description of market economy Smith argued that the willingness of an entrepreneur to make progress in his/her private privileges leads to economic advantages and benefits for the whole society. Furthermore, the foundation of the theory is based upon basic economic freedoms for everyone: freedom to choose a line of business, freedom to make decisions, free competition and freedom of trade. (Adam Smith Institute. Quoted 19.5.2014
Further on, international trade, including the terms absolute and comparative advantage, is said to be essential in sustaining friendly relations between different states. The term comparative advantage refers to the ability of producing a specific good or service at a lower cost over another leading to gains in trading between two countries, as long as relative efficiency remains different. In spoken language this means that a country has comparative advantage of another as long as it is able to produce a certain product/service with less total cost than another (cheapest possible production).
But how well does the theory take quality into consideration? Or labor law? There is no discussion at all about these important issues in the theory of comparative advantage. Luckily, many companies in developed countries have today developed business processes which take these important facts into consideration at all stages. Still, many companies necessarily do not.
According to ILO, the International Labor Organization, the amount of child labor worldwide is still as high as 168 million children worldwide. Imagine that! Who is employing all those children? Can we sleep tight at night without certainty about the fact that products/services we consume may actually involve the brutal usage of child labor?
Once again: everyone under the age of 18 is a child, and according to the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, every child has the right to be a child, to attend primary school, and no child should have to work.
Why not turn quality and transparency throughout all business procedures into competitive advantages in any business? With a world-changing rapidly only companies with sustainable business practices are those that will survive in the long run. Consumers´ are increasingly aware and critical when choosing goods/products/services to consume, and no one wants to take the responsibility of consuming products/services that have not taken quality or children´s/human rights into consideration.
“The price of greatness is responsibility”.