The small independent stores of ghetto neighbourhoods are isolated from information and skills required in modern retail businesses. The retail revolution of the last twenty years has generated various types of local merchant associations for establishing common shopping hours and practices, conducting common advertising and promotion campaigns and providing a balanced set of customer services. Through these efforts, markets and profits have been increased. However, in many urban inner city communities, independent neighbourhood stores attempt to serve overlapping areas without the use of such cooperative structures or associated marketing methods. The threat of theft makes the merchant hesitant to leave his premises, and thus he remain isolated with little time to seek cooperative action with competitors whom he fears. As a result of not having the variety of stock needed to serve a large area, local businesses cannot compete with large outlets and community buying is done elsewhere. A move to some form of specialization seems risky and may merely catalyze another round of competition which would cost the merchant the few customers he now serves regularly.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.