Our world history is tragically marked by human struggles for power and wealth. In search of elusive peace, mankind has found solutions in minimizing points for bloody conflict. The terrible lessons of the past have made us realize the value of working together and engaging in dialogue to resolve our common problems: hunger, poverty, death, suffering, corruption… The list is long, and each one is complex, but our solutions share a common theme: we can peacefully address our problems if we belong to an institution, a community of nations helping each another in an atmosphere of enlightened self-interest (WTOa; WTOb). This, however, is easier said than done, because man is a complex animal – ambitious, free, intelligent, a mixture of all that is good and evil in the world. Each man (or woman), each community or nation, has different goals and wants, dreams and desires. Reconciling all these differences is the substance of politics, the art of the impossible, where give and take is crucial. Ugly compromise is the essence of politics, making living together possible. We established three man-made institutions – the United Nations (UN), the World Bank/International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (WB/IBRD), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – after the Second World War with the intention of avoiding a repeat of so great a human tragedy.
If we look at the last sixty years, we can proudly claim that despite the cold war threat until the late 1980s, the UN has provided a venue where major differences could be ironed out before minor conflicts could escalate into a world war (Krugman 11). In this sense, it was a success. So too was the WB, set up to help finance the reconstruction after the war and in the economic and social development of nations. The IMF likewise has done a good job helping nations by imposing financial discipline in governments hampered by inexperience, populist bias, and poor governance (Fischer 91).
These three are not perfect, as any organization run and managed by humans can never be perfect. A main criticism seems to be their ruthless implementation of the basic rules everyone has agreed to follow: talk before you shoot, repay your loans, avoid weapons of mass destruction, and choose your leaders wisely. Many examples abound of nations seeking exemptions from these rules, or of nations hiding the truth, tying these institutions into moral hazards difficult if not impossible to escape (Fischer 96).
Another criticism is that these institutions are mere instruments of powerful nations and groups to subjugate the helpless majority. Statistics and several academic studies do not support this claim: just look at the nations that gained independence and developed in the last sixty years of peace. Yes, problems exist - and may never be totally eradicated - but we cannot deny that these institutions have done more good than bad: sixty years of relatively peaceful co-existence in the world, billions of people definitely out of poverty, and wealth creation at an unprecedented global scale (Ben-David et al. 38-40).
How did it happen Simply, world peace led to the globalization of world trade.
Globalization: The Beast of the WTO
We can say that peace is the consequence of doing battle with three beasts. The UN fought the beast of world wars and, inasmuch as the world has not had one since 1945, seems to be winning. The WB/IBRD fought the beast of poverty and human suffering, and it seems to be ahead too. Although continually locked in battle against the beast of bad government and poor fiscal management, the IMF manages