Proposals for a Concerted Development of the World Economy
What remains for us to do? I would like for us to reflect on a comprehensive set of measures capable of rapidly implementing the principles I have just outlined, for each of our countries individually, and as a group.
I do not ask that you decide upon such a set of measures today, but that at least this indispensable joint action be launched in the coming year.
Barring this, each one of us will withdraw into himself, trade conflicts will worsen, and protectionist practices will establish themselves. No one has anything to gain by this.
The past bears witness to the reality of these dangers. The first phase of each of the two previous industrial revolutions in the West was characterized by rising unemployment, protectionism, and inflation.
During a second phase, in the better prepared countries, the social forces of change prevailed; growth and stability returned, and investment rose.
Today, if we are not careful, we run the risk of witnessing the same sequence of events; the new industrial revolution has already begun to intensify unemployment, inflation, financial problems and inequalities. This trend may last if we do not decide to put an end to it.
Not one of us, despite the differences of opinion dividing us, can resign himself to this. We are all responsible for ensuring that the transition is carried out as soon as possible. We are equipped to do so, as we can anticipate and organize change, and coordinate the transformation. It is for this reason that I wished to approach this subject with you.
-- that we launch a concerted programme of selective growth through technology;
-- that we grant equal priority to employment and working conditions;
-- that together we foster the fulfillment of cultures.
First Proposal: Launching a Concerted Programme of Growth Through Technology.
The broad field of action open to us may be organized into six major branches:
1. Global targets: fixing them in percentage of GNP for 1985 and 1990 and exchanging our views on national research and development policies, completing this action, if necessary, with sectoral objectives and drawing upon work already completed by international institutions such as the OECD.
2. Setting a few priority measures for technological cooperation between private and public companies and between nations, in the following areas requiring heavy initial investment: new energy sources, telecommunications, robotics, new materials, composite materials, electronics, artificial intelligence, space, biotechnologies and agricultural technologies specifically designed for the Third World.
An Implementation Committee could be appointed for each project adopted, which would include relevant public agencies from the participating countries. A minimal financial contribution from each country would be established.
3. Innovation should be stepped up in all of its forms by determining useful procedures. This should entail the creation of new firms, cooperation between firms in different countries and the framing of joint policies in opposition to monopolistic practices and to hindrances to competition.
4. Establishing gradually a world technology market (standards, patents).
5. Taking a number of joint initiatives in order to enable the countries of the South to master new technologies. Increasing research and development in areas of particular interest to these countries, essentially education, training, nutrition and health, within the framework of co-development agreements; creating research centres and promoting research personnel exchanges; ensuring the growth of national energy sources through specialized subsidiaries of the World Bank. Finally, the implementation of the guidelines established by the United Nations Conference on Science and Technology for Development will be accelerated.
6. Finally, we should stabilize as quickly as possible the international monetary system, the impredictability of which is curbing investment. In order to achieve this, we have to search for the ways and means of reinforcing a balanced monetary cooperation between the three monetary poles -- Europe, America, and Japan -- with a view to returning to stable and economically correct exchange rates.
Preparation for this programme could be based on the methods already used in different cooperation formulae: the setting up of networks of research centers allowing for wide distribution of information (weather, environmental and oceanographic data), the establishment of common rules and standards, bilateral action within the framework of a multilateral program (international telecommunications development program, world weather program) and "custom-built" project models (Unesco science programs).
Second Proposal: Placing Technology at the Service of Employment and of Working Conditions.
1. By establishing a vast training system designed to manage the job transformations which I discussed, in order to speed up the transition of the industrial revolution. To this end, we should:
-- Begin in 1983, in each of our countries, using our own methods, a specific system for training in the new technologies, such as data processing, biology and the new jobs (telecommunications, biological sciences, engineering, leisure activities), in the following three directions:
priority for the training of engineers and specialists;
training programs for the young jobless aged 16 to 18;
a program for the conversion of workers in mid-career to the new technologies.
-- Request the OECD to prepare, in the forthcoming six months, a special exchange and cooperation program concerning training and conversion methods.
-- Request the International Labour Organisation to set up an observation post to follow the evolution of the occupations concerned with the new technologies.
2. We must also draw on the new technologies to improve living and working conditions. I suggest the following:
-- To intensify cooperation and research on the organization and conditions of work associated with the new technologies, and on the effects of the new technologies on the duration of the workweek and its possible reduction.
-- To set up, prior to the next Summit, a program to evaluate the experiments -- both positive and negative -- conducted in the cities, and the effects of the technological changes on urban living patterns, pertaining to cabled cities, new modes of transport and housing.
Third proposal: Fostering Together the Fulfillment of Cultures.
I suggest directing our efforts at three matters:
1. The School.
The computer revolution is gradually working its way back to the wellsprings of education, to the earliest years of schooling. While they maintain their standard traditions, our teaching systems are in for some rude shocks, and this implies hopes and fears. To cope with these transformations, we should:
-- mount a joint effort in order to develop new teaching systems adapted to each country, and elucidate together the means to enable our school systems to keep pace with their environment;
-- develop a family of simple data-processing languages for worldwide use;
-- act jointly to expand the use of computers in the classroom, in order to familiarize young people very rapidly with the tools of their future everyday life and with the requirements of their future jobs.
2. Communication and Language.
The development of teaching and research in the field of linguistics and communication is indispensable to withstand the powerful trend towards uniformity which I discussed earlier. We could do the following:
-- Set up, within the United Nations University, a world network linking all the teaching, training and research centers devoted to languages and communication. This network should facilitate the development of the following activities in the different countries concerned: the study of languages, the elevation of the role of national languages in the spread of technologies, the proliferation of multilingual computer glossaries, the setting up of programs of mechanical translation for languages other than the major ones, and the training of specialists in communication.
-- Compile a great encyclopedia of all the cultures of the world. It is conceivable today to create the tools for the mass dissemination of cultures, even isolated ones. For each nation, this means gathering together all the essential components of its cultural identity or identities. Apart from books, the means of dissemination could be:
one or more satellites, placed under the control of Unesco, designed for regional television broadcasts;
a major computer center, such as that of the European Space Agency, which could be the server of a bibliographic data base that could be consulted via the world's leading telematics networks.
3. Charter of Communication.
I feel that negotiations should be carried out in stages, in the international bodies concerned, for the preparation of a World Charter of Communication, which is so difficult nowadays. The Charter could be based on five principles:
-- affirming the respect for the diversity of languages;
-- promoting the harmonization of legislations governing information, intellectual property, contract law and the protection of individual liberties;
-- instigating the determination of common rules for international data exchanges;
-- protecting the sovereignty of States and their cultural integrity, which is threatened by the new technologies;
-- guaranteeing the countries of the South the means to control their communications and the messages of which they are the vehicles.
4. A World Exhibition "For a Present Image of the Future".
This would illustrate the role of technological development in bringing nations closer together.
France would be ready to organize this exhibition in 1989.
Before concluding, I should like to clarify the conditions for the joint implementation of the proposals that I have presented to you:
-- we will set up a working group of eight personalities immediately after this Summit, with the mission of identifying a number of priorities based on the proposals contained in this report and on your discussions;
-- the group would work in consultation with the competent international institutions, including the OECD, and would be required to prepare a report, by the end of this year;
-- the report's conclusions and the resulting projects would be examined at the next Summit of the industrialized countries, to be held in 1983 in the United States of America.
If, through our concerted action, we succeed in launching these projects, will we have resolved the problems facing our societies? Certainly not. Technological progress does not in itself ensure economic and social progress. It can only contribute to the resolution of these problems in those societies able to incorporate it into coherent policy.
Much remains to be done in order to re-establish balanced and equitable growth, and in order to abolish misery and servitude in all of their guises. We must rebuild a stable monetary system, provide low-cost financing for companies, devise equitable economic and political relations between continents, and do away with all trade barriers. Finally, and most importantly, we must make it possible for each individual to freely use the time made available to him by progress.
We will in this way have accomplished our role as leaders.
Each individual will thus have more material means at his disposal to live the human experience as he sees fit. The human experience: both limited and exalting, incomplete and grandiose, fleeting and eternal.
For our part, by tackling the problems that beset us, and finding rapid solutions to them, we will have secured for our nations the most important element of all: self-confidence.
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