Social issues overshadowed by economic issues in North-South discussions
Lack of understanding of social and economic contexts in development programmes
Imbalance in economic and social planning
Economic development, and particularly industrialization, is too often implemented without due application of a unified approach of integrated and balanced economic and social planning. This may give rise to social problems and retards development. In many countries poverty and mass unemployment, for example, are so widespread and affect so critically the social equilibrium that they constitute, in themselves, blocks to further improvement. It is no longer possible to rely on the assumption that an expanding modern economic sector will, in a reasonable interval of time, absorb the mass of people and provide them with decent living standards.
Developing countries with their still-recent experience of colonialism, are disinclined to discuss their social structures and priorities with developed countries. The developed countries are also disinclined to negotiate what they consider purely internal matters, such as levels and patterns of consumption. The result is that economic issues dominate the North-South negotiations.
The content of North-South negotiations indicates that social issues are very much at the centre of concern. When food is being considered, for instance, although the focus is on the nuts and bolts of finance, production and distribution, the end result is more food for the hungry. Similarly, when the transfer of technology is negotiated, such vital social needs as employment, health and transportation shape the priorities of governments. In fact all economic negotiations are conducted with social ends in view.