Third-world bootstraps

Collective self-reliance. It was a good rallying cry at the recent New Delhi meeting of third-world nations to follow up on last fall's Cancun conference. The meeting may have ended without the diverse group present fully responding to the cry. But - along with divisions over US aid policy and ground rules for North-South negotiations - there were signs of readiness by some to stress bootstraps as much as transfers of wealth. A call not to parody the West but suit development to local needs and values. A recognition that he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Maybe, with the industrial nations joining in too, collective self-reliance can get off the ground. The idea of transfer, with one party giving up what another receives, could change to the idea of flow, with benefits passing back and forth. May such ripples overtake the echoes of conflict from New Delhi.

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