The United Nations recognizes the impoverished state of many countries and the importance that they are given assistance. On September 8, 2000, the United Nations met with world leaders and heads of state to determine a mission or a set of goals. The United Nations compiled eight measureable Millennium Development Goals to accomplish in this new millennium, by the year 2015. These goals were adopted by 189 nations and signed by 147 heads of states and governments. In the year 2010, there has been little success in completing these goals. After over ten years and all the support many countries, organizations, NGOs and individuals have contributed, none of these goals have been accomplished. A useful organization is one that is successful in completing its goals. If two thirds through the allotted time span there has been little headway, it is evident that the United Nations is not a useful organization. By not being a useful organization, the United Nations is ensuring the continuity of the World Systems Theory by maintaining a gap between developed and undeveloped countries.
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The United Nations is an organization put together in 1945 to replace the League of Nations. The League of Nations was assembled after World War One to prevent war, deal with labour conditions and human and drug trafficking. It was abolished in 1946 near the end of World War Two proving its ineffectiveness. This opened up space for the United Nations which was built with more regulations to prevent war and create a platform for negotiations. Although the UN has impressive accomplishments such as formulating a declaration of human rights and eliminating polio, it is still not a useful organization. The United Nations has failed to complete their goals of eradicating extreme poverty, achieving universal primary education and developing a global partnership for development and is therefore not considered to be a useful organization.
Immanuel Wallerstein is the founder of the World System Theory. This Theory discusses the economic relationship, distribution and exploitation between the richer and poorer countries. The core represents the developed, industry built and wealthy countries of the world. The periphery represents the undeveloped, exploited and poor countries of the world. The theory states that as prosperity grows, the majority of the wealth is enjoyed by a core of the population. Furthermore, even though the periphery has a greater population, it is the countries with the strongest economic system that holds the strongest government.
Of the United Nations eight millennium goals, their first is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. It is quite obvious that human rights dictate the need for every individual to have access to sufficient food. The issue is that citizens of these third world countries aren’t given the opportunity to think long term. If every effort is made to survive one day at a time, it is impossible to save or prepare for the future. By focusing on the lowest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a stable salary of physiological needs, there is no opportunity to think of the long term well being of a country and therefore build a proper functioning society. These citizens are fighting for the bare necessities of survival and don’t have the luxury of conserving money because much of the time there is no money to survive, never mind conserve. Many individuals are living off of a dollar per day and stretching their budget to cover food, shelter and medical supplies.
The majority of undeveloped countries have large issues with hunger and poverty and are thus unable to build a functioning society. These countries will not be able to bridge the gap between them and the wealthier, developed countries. Even a country like the United States in almost thirteen trillion dollars of debt can provide one of the best qualities of living for their citizens. The U.S. needs undeveloped or developing countries to ensure they remain the core.
The World Systems Theory says that the gap between the core and periphery needs to be tightened or even closed. It is iniquitous that third world countries can be exploited to such an extent. These actions are placing whole countries into extreme poverty and hunger. The United Nations should assume a stronger control over poor and selfish situations like these. As the U.N. has failed to eradicate poverty, abolish hunger and much more, the WST will continue to hold true.
The second Millennium Development Goal was to achieve universal primary education. It is radical to understand that there are countries in the world where children aren’t raised with the opportunity to go to school and learn. This has a significant impact on the future of these countries. A country cannot be built on a base of illiterate and formally uneducated generations.
In many areas of Africa, nearly a quarter of an indigent family’s income is placed toward paying for schools’ tuition, textbook fees, uniforms, faculty association and other charges. It is fees like these that are reducing children’s attendance to school, and the opportunity of primary education. In a first world country, there are many opportunities to send a child to school as well as many options as to the type of school one would like to attend. Religious school, language based schools, private schools or public school in North America all place children a step ahead of those countries that do not have the funding to offer their citizens. Everyone should be given the choice to make a better life for themselves and their children. These children have not been given that choice. Alas, these children and potential students cannot enrich their lives with a formal education. Therefore, they will not be able to strengthen their home, their community or their country.
Similarly, the United Nations have not succeeded with their second goal either. On average, a student who graduates high school will make almost ten thousand dollars more than a high school dropout. As well, one with a college or university degree will make more than forty thousand dollars more than one who is a high school dropout. The United Nations made promises to give children in third world countries the opportunity to attend school and better themselves but throughout two thirds of their allotted time, they have not come close to succeeding. A human being cannot excel without an education. As these children continue to fall behind first world countries’ students, they will continue to be exploited and will not have the opportunity to bridge the gap between first and third world countries.
According to the World Systems Theory, the United Nations to have failed with their second goal. As education becomes integral in developed countries and the trend of attending graduate programs is increasing, the gap is broadening. The disparity between the core and periphery will never close if the education system for the periphery continues in its direction. An available education will lead to brighter, more intelligent communities. This will provide the pillars to building a functional economic and political system. This is the first step towards equality and a unity among nations and reducing the markets of exploitation between the core and periphery.
The last goal of the United Nations is to develop a global partnership for development. The plan for the eighth millennium development goal is to economically advance third world countries in a few ways. Altogether, the first seven Millennium Goals are intended to prepare undeveloped countries for the United Nations to complete the eighth goal. However, considering the United Nations has not succeeded in implementing the first seven objectives, the eighth and final goal is not attainable.
For the United Nations to be successful, undeveloped nations need to invest in their own infrastructure in order to harness international economic development opportunities. The United Nations wants to develop a non-discriminatory trading and financial system, promote exports and restructure national debt obligations for countries committed to reducing poverty. These principals are the cornerstone to developing a competitive standpoint in international markets. This new presence would be a great step towards bridging the gap between the developed and undeveloped countries.
The issue still stands that the United Nations has not successfully developed a competitive infrastructure. The United Nations has not helped the peripheries to compete in an international marketplace and therefore they continue to be exploited. If they are continuously exploited, they will follow the world systems theory and there will be no change.
In conclusion, according to World Systems Theory, the United Nations is not a useful organization. Over ten years, they have failed to make significant progress in any of their eight of the Millennium Development Goals. Poverty and Hunger have not been eradicated, universal primary education has not been achieved and thus, a global partnership for development has not been developed. This gap will continue to grow as the core will become more intelligent and wealthy and the periphery will be exploited for the core’s benefit.