At various times in the 1970s there were sharp price increases in phosphates, coffee, cocoa, uranium, and several other commodities important to the economies of some developing countries. Paradoxically many exporters of these commodities subsequently faced difficulties partly as a result of the way they managed such exceptional gains. Typically government revenues were boosted by higher export earnings (either through taxation or participation in profits) and used to raise domestic expenditure to a level that could not be sustained when prices eventually fell. Countries took advantage of their credit standing to borrow on commercial credit terms, resulting eventually in a damaging increase in the debt burden.
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.