The Words of the Ward Family

Addressing Poverty and Social Inequality -- A Unification Thought Approach to Economic Development [Working Draft]

Thomas J Ward
February 17, 2006
Co-Chair of the Research Institute for the Integration of World Thought and Vice President for International Programs, University of Bridgeport

I. Purpose of the Paper

In the Millennium Summit the United Nations outlined eight areas in which it wished to focus its efforts to address the problem of poverty and the lack of development in key parts of the world such as Africa, Latin America and parts of South and Southeast Asia. In the paper "In Larger Freedom," with which Secretary General Annan set the tone for this 2005 General Assembly, the 60th Session, he again made the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) a central focus and reiterated a commitment to achieve marked progress in eight specific areas by 2015:

1. Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
2. Achieve universal primary education
3. Promote gender equality and empower women
4. Reduce child mortality
5. Improve maternal health
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
7. Ensure environmental sustainability
8. Develop a global partnership for development

The challenges that we face today are enormous. For example, the United Nations points out that 1.2 billion people continue to live on less than one dollar per day. In the 21st century the UN points out that still 11 million children die every year because of lack medical attention and lack of nutrition. In less developed countries one out of every forty-eight women will die during childbirth. And in an age when some developed countries have too much food, famines in North Korea and Sudan take the lives of millions and more than one billion people do not have access to clean drinking water.

How are these problems to be solved? These are areas of fundamental concern for Unification Thought and here we will explore the way in which UT in which Unification Thought can help in addressing the challenge of poverty and contribute to economic development.

In trying to understand the cause of poverty, it may be important to begin by understanding the origin of wealth from the perspective of Unification Theory. One can point to a variety of factors such as natural resources, education, and innovation; however, Unification Theory helps us to understand that the real source of prosperity is linked to the élan of the Providence of God. Godís objective throughout history is to prepare an environment for the ultimate realization of His ideal. In preparing both the internal and external environments, Unification Theory helps us to understand that God must work through central figures, central nations and central cultures. Over the course of history, as the providential center has shifted due to accomplishments or failures, different cultures have risen while others have declined. The Exposition of the Principle points to the following pattern:

The ancient continental civilizations, which arose in Egypt and Mesopotamia, bequeathed their fruits to the peninsular civilizations of Greece, Rome and Iberia, and thence to the island civilization of Great Britain. This island civilization passed on its culture to the United States, a continental civilization. Then the direction was reversed, with the United States passing on its culture to the island civilization of Japan. Now these fruits are to be harvested in the peninsular civilization of Korea, where Christ is to be born.

Next, the essences of civilizations born on the shores of rivers and seas should bear fruit in the Pacific civilization to which Korea belongs. The river civilizations which arose on the shores of the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates Rivers passed on their cultures to the civilizations in the vicinity of the Mediterranean Sea: Greece, Rome, Spain and Portugal. These bequeathed their fruits to the civilizations on the Atlantic Ocean: notably, Great Britain and the United States. All these fruits will be harvested in the civilization of the Pacific Ocean, which links together the United States, Japan and Korea.

The emerging economic significance of the Asia Pacific region is increasingly a given. However, Exposition helps us to understand that the prosperity of the region is linked to a providential goal -- the realization of Godís ideal. Likewise, the emergence of the colonial empires of Spain, Portugal, France, and Great Britain also existed for a goal related to the Providence of God.

Too often, those who find themselves in a position of spiritual, political and economic privilege confuse their achievements with the context of the Providence, which allowed for those achievements to occur. The responsibility of the colonizing nations of the past five centuries was not to enrich themselves but to prepare a social, cultural, spiritual, political and economic environment that would facilitate the realization of the Providence of God. As Reverend Moon has taught, the blessing of Abel is not simply for Abel but for the lost brother whom he is meant to save. In Europeís colonization of the world, this responsibility was often forgotten. The developed world has a responsibility to assist the less developed countries (ldcs) because their own long-term survival as one deserving of Godís blessing is contingent on their responsible treatment of those less fortunate countries, which are no less the dwelling places of Godís sons and daughters.

Poverty needs to be addressed in two ways. First of all, immediate needs must be addressed. This is a responsibility of developed countries as well as any person or institution that is in a position to help. Organizations affiliated with the work of Reverend Moon have emerged, such as Service for Peace, the International Relief Friendship Foundation, and Religious Youth Services to play a role in responding to natural catastrophes and in addressing problems in less developed countries that require immediate attention. Although their efforts will not be part of this paper (beyond recognizing it here), these efforts are very substantial and there is also a need for scholars to review the contribution being made by these organizations as well as a need to study, the theoretical and practical approaches with which they approach this scale of problem and to assess their results. Such literature will be forthcoming.

The focus of this paper will be to consider the extent to which Unification Theory and Unification Thought offer a conceptual framework for a definitive, sustainable solution to poverty. Let us begin here by stating that such a solution can not consist primarily of a redistribution of existing wealth as some proponents, i.e., Marxism, Dependency Theory, or Liberation Theology suggest. With the close of the Cold War, it becomes increasingly evident that the key to addressing poverty is to increase the generation of wealth, goods, and services in less developed countries. This is consistent with the pattern of development in the countries that, according to Exposition of the Principle, have played a central role in the furtherance of the Providential ideal of the realization of Godís Kingdom on Earth. ..

II. Assumption of the Validity of the Market Economy as the basis for the development process.

In 1984 and 1985, while in Danbury prison, Reverend Moon read the CAUSA Lecture Manual (1984) two times in Korean and two times in English. The only changes that he made to the Manual related to the way in which the Manual dealt with the future direction of political economy. Divine Principle (1974) and the updated translation Exposition of the Principle (1996) state that in the world of the ideal, we would have a socialist economy although Principle does not enter into elaborate detail about the implications of this position. Nevertheless, it does compare the component parts and functions of the economy with the human body.

Communism -- Critique and Counterproposal (1974) further clarifies that the fundamental problem with the so-called capitalist society was not profit (surplus value) as Marx maintained but with the distribution of profit. These observations in Principle and in Critique and Counterproposal need not conflict with the observation that Reverend Moon made once he reviewed the CAUSA Lecture Manual that led him to recommend that, instead of speaking of a socialist economy as the ideal, the text would more accurately reflect the views of Unification Theory if it indicated that in a world restored to Godís ideal, the economy would be market-based.

Indeed the market economy, which is common to the central nations outlined in Principle, stresses the value of private ownership over state control. The market economy and modernization theory has also been embraced by the United Nations in its Millennium Development Goals. This would seem justified by the Third Blessing in Unification Thought where a person having realized the ideal of Creation assumes the role of an owner. The challenge in the world until today has been the failure to recognize the need for the owner to recognize that such "ownership" is contingent on the extent that he or she is able to represent God, the original owner.

Socialist systems have often failed because lack of ownership is replaced by a sense of entitlement on the part of citizenry and a sense of aloofness on the part of the bureaucrats who administer the system. In light of the above, our working position in this paper is that the best model for the furtherance of development is a market-based economy. However problems do exist within the market economy, which we will discuss here. At the same time we will explore ways in which Unification Thought can help to address those problems.

III. Conditions necessary for development

The Political Economy of Capitalism has gone through essentially four levels of evolution:

1. The Market Economy as conceived of by Adam Smith
2. The Monopolist model as conceived of by Herbert Spencer.
3. Modernization as championed by Walt Rostow and others
4. The Emerging Market model, which has been popularized since the 1990s and has begun now to be challenged.

In developing countries, the following institutions normally need to be in place for Emerging Markets and Pre-Emerging Markets to attract investors, long-term borrowing opportunities and reliable trade partners:

b. Democratic Institutions and/or Rule of Law
c. Regional Political Stability
d. Efforts to increase Ownership Opportunities such as Land Reform
e. Separation of Church and State
f. A Climate Conducive to Economic Growth (Tax Breaks for Long-Term Investments; Permission to Repatriate a Certain Portion of Profits to the Lending Country; A "Green Light" from One of the Major International Financial Services Institutions such as Price Waterhouse)
g. Commitment to the Building of an Export-Driven Economy and to the Use of Funds Loaned from Abroad for the Building of an Export-Driven Economy.
h. Commitment to Use a Portion of Earnings from Exports for Building a National Reserve of Precious Metals and "Hard" Currencies.

Typically entrepreneurs and government and private investment companies from developed nations will not work in countries, which fail to establish and insure the aforementioned conditions. This model is the Emerging Market Model, which traces its origins to Modernization, which was popularized in the decades immediately following the Second World War.

IV. Steps in the Process of Economic Development

In his classic text, The Stages of Economic Growth (1961), the late Yale political economist Walt Rostow, so central to the development of Modernization Theory, outlined the following steps in the process during which an economy moves to development:

a. The Traditional Society
b. The Preconditions for Take-Off
c. The Take-Off
d. The Drive to Maturity
e. The Age of High Mass-Consumption

The Traditional Society is typically agrarian-based with resources largely concentrated in the hands of a ruling oligarchy and their family members. When Rostow speaks of the "Preconditions for the Take-Off," he is talking of putting into place the conditions to move from a Traditional (almost always authoritarian) Society toward Modernization, with many of the characteristics that we have pointed to in the Emerging Market model. According to Rostow, in the "Take-Off," the society moves toward export of agricultural and/or other natural resources/raw materials. In the Drive to Maturity, its focus moves from an agrarian economy to one where first textile production takes on increasing production. This is followed by light industry and then heavy industry. In the highest stage, "High Tech" products assume increasing importance.. When we examine an economy such as Korea, the land of Reverend Moonís birth, we find that over the past five decades, they have indeed passed through these specific stages.

V. Examples of Economies that have succeeded in development

Economies that have embraced Rostowís views on socioeconomic development include Korea, Taiwan, China, and Singapore. Critics are quick to point out, however, that in each of these cases, a trained workforce was already in place. During Japan's occupation of these territories during the decades preceding the Second World War, she did prepare a sophisticated work force in each of these countries, although there are other valid reasons to be critical of that occupation.

Some argue that these countries may also not be the best examples for development because of the special circumstances surrounding the Cold War. The United States largely took responsibility for the defense of these countries against the possibility of a Soviet aggression, which resulted in a dramatic reduction in the amount of money, which they had to spend on defense. Even the Peoples Republic of China benefited from the US presence in the Pacific as it attempted to "jump start" its economy following the Cultural Revolution. The US presence made it possible for China to dedicate less resources to the building of its military during a period when there were sharp tensions with the Soviet Union over border issues (e.g., Mongolia). However, the economies of East Asia are not the only example. We might also look at the case of Chile that embraced the model of the free economy in the mid-1970s and has seen phenomenal success. Chile became renowned for its adoption of the free market principles of its "Chicago Boys," which resulted in vastly expanded exports as well as a privatized social security and healthcare system, which has allowed Chile to witness remarkable development of the middle class and impressive economic growth, fostered by local rather than foreign funding sources (resulting in lower interest rates). This is also the case for Mexico although perhaps its success is not quite on the same scale as Chile.

VI. Problems in the Model

In the case of Latin America, a number of countries in the 1990s, rushed to copy the Chilean Free Market model. While they showed initial success, most of them eventually faced very serious problems. Probably the most well known cases are the Alberto Fujimori government in Peru, and the government of Carlos Menem in Argentina. While both Mr. Fujimori and Mr. Menem initially received "high marks" for having dramatically improved economic growth trends in their respective countries, they later were accused of corruption. In both of these cases, one could argue that the issue was not the model of political economy that they chose. It was the fact that corruption had been able to undermine the system.

VII. The Moral Framework of Political Economy

Morals are central to economic development. If we review the various past and extant models of political economy, we find that each of them has a moral compass. Let us begin with the most primitive model of political economy, the kin system, and continue up to today.

a. Kin Model-->Parental Figure responsible to make decisions on economic distribution and is expected by the community to do so fairly, guided by a parental heart.

b. Tributary Model (e.g., China)-->"Jen"--Oversight of the Economy based on the benevolence of the ruler and the notion of the "Mandate of Heaven" (which would lead to the overthrow of the ruler who failed to be benevolent and just).

c. Marxist-Leninist Model-->The "End justifies the Means" and Leninís assertion that "From the point of view of communist morality that which advances communism is moral."

d. Democratic Socialist Model-->"Return to Kant," i.e., the notion of the Moral Imperative and the significance of having the right intent in oneís deeds.

e. The Market Economy as seen by Adam Smith

i. Self-Interest (Wealth of Nations) modified by Sympathy (Theory of Moral Sentiments)
ii. Fairness is reinforced by Competition and by the Rule of Law, (e.g., the Enactment of Legislation Sherman Anti-Trust Laws and the National Labor Relations Act) in the event that Selfish Interest becomes the consuming driver.

f. The Impact of Social Darwinism as developed by Herbert Spencer

i. A consuming focus on self interest and a belief in universal progress in which the victims of the process are seen as a "necessary sacrifice" for the ultimate goal of progress.
ii. Herbert Spencer was an atheist and his views on progress closely resemble Leninís End justifying the Means.
iii. The best-case impact of such an approach on the psyche of a less developed country is indicated by the well-known American political economist Walt Rostow who describes the conditions that lead to the "take-off" of an economy:
1. The less developed country experiences physical Intrusion (including both colonial rule and military intrusion short of colonialism)
2. The country then copies the example of the conquering or dominating force. In the case of the Meiji Reform, there was clear recognition that for her own survival Japan needed to inherit from the West, which Rostow describes as the "communication of ideas and skills.
iv. The negative consequence of such an approach was the fact that it contributed to a disdain for the West and for Christianity in many circles. George Plekhanov, the mentor of Vladimir Lenin, read Spencer before reading Marx, as did Mao Zedong. g. Sustainable Development -- its moral frame of reference requires us to look beyond the present and to consider the future. It also requires us to think not only of the well-being of human society, but of the well-being of the planet as a whole and the component flora and fauna, which also represent an important dimension of life. Sustainable Developmentís approach is especially necessary because of the abuses of Social Darwinism that paid heed to immediate profits and failed to weigh the impact of current activities on the future of humanity and the earth.

VIII. Unification Elements of Development

The Unification Thought does not specifically address economic development; nevertheless from a variety of texts (e.g., the CAUSA Lecture Manual) and the work of Reverend Moon and organizations that he founded or strongly influenced, one can understand the essence of economic development from the perspective of Unification Thought.

a. As already noted, Unification Thought recognizes the value of the market economy, especially if it is balanced between self interest (purpose of the individual) and sympathy (purpose of the whole, especially if sympathy is understood as "object consciousness" as explained in Unification Thought) as espoused by Adam Smith in his original explanation of it.

b. Unification Thought identifies with Rostowís stages of economic growth and development. It would want to review the notion of secularization in his formula and seek to emphasize that God needs to have a role in development and indeed can have a positive role if one understands object consciousness to God and the filial responsibility to fulfill oneís providential responsibility (to assist in the fulfillment of Godís ideal and to attend to Godís children wherever they may be and work for their spiritual, political and economic liberation).

c. Unification Thought recognizes the importance of the agrarian stage of development. Reverend Moon frequently refers to the Saemaul Undong, which played a key role in Koreaís development. Although little attention has been paid to this, the Unification Movement played an important role in its guiding philosophy, which has been described as follows:

"Rural Saemaul Undong is a movement of loving our country and people, sacrificing private interest and devoting ourselves to the welfare of the nation", said President Park Chung Hee, when he launched the program in the early 1970s. The aim of the program was to achieve stability and prosperity through hard work and cooperation. Rural Saemaul Undong was dedicated to rural development and matched the desire of the rural population for a better future.

The model had five principal components: ignition and stimulation through material supply, project selection by village assembly, community participation in planning and execution, and the development of community confidence, pride and empowerment. The effort has visibly contributed to progressive changes as well as sound lifestyles in society.

Each village elected its own men and women as leaders to motivate and aid the community. Construction of village roads, small reservoirs, channels, communication networks and village halls in 18,633 villages exceeded all targets. Gross investment totaled won 2.8 billion between 1971 and 1979; community contributions accounted for 49 percent.

Saemaul Undong is one of the most significant achievements in modern history, attesting to the people's unswerving belief in the movement. As a behavioral philosophy, it practices diligence, self-help and cooperation. Its ultimate goal is to establish social welfare through the development of friendly and cooperative neighborhoods, pleasant surroundings, a healthy society and a proud country.

d. The guiding philosophy of the Saemaul Undong has been described as follows:

i. The Saemaul Undong was a movement designed to promote love of country and efforts for its revitalization.
ii. The Saemaul Movement was designed to revolutionize the attitudes and lifestyles of citizens, helping them develop sound and healthy attitudes.
iii. It was committed to helping communities to live in love and harmony.
iv. It focused on the building of environmentally sustainable communities.
v. It provided a venue for economic stability as more of the Korean community began to be trained and brought into a higher level of technological development.
vi. It was an initiative to prepare for the nationís reunification and to construct a world where everyone can enjoy prosperity.

e. In 1997 in studying the challenges to development in Latin America, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) noted the impact that even two more years of Education could have upon development in Latin America. According to the IDB, even two additional years would make it possible for Latin America to reach a level of development similar to what one finds today in countries such as Thailand and Malaysia.

At the Jardim Center in Brazil, Reverend Moon has taken steps to train a workforce that can apply the philosophy of development established by the Saemaul Undong to other LDCs. He also created the World University Federation in 1996, which, over time, will facilitate educational opportunities at more advanced levels for citizens of less developed countries.

f. In Latin America, between 1995 and 2000 he established education and training in the following areas, especially through Unification Church Japanese missionaries:

i. Cattle Raising
ii. Fish Farming
iii. Forestry
iv. Technology and Machinery (Sharing of Appropriate Technology)

In the case of Latin America (and this must be the case of any developing country) Reverend Moon points out that a need exists to identify key products for export (consistent with the Saemaul approach). Those products should be sustainable for long-term trade (not just exotic things). At the time of the Depression (1929), much of Latin America spun into chaos when its exotic fruits were no longer exported by England and other developed countries, responsible for the creation of the so-called International Division of Labor (finished products generated in the developed world and raw materials exported from the less developed world). Countries such as Argentina and Uruguay faced far less serious setbacks than the island nations of the Caribbean because they focused on products that are regularly needed such as beef and wheat rather than luxury items. In the case of Korea and Unification-related food products, Reverend Moon emphasized agricultural products that promoted health such as ginseng.

IX. The Export Driven Economy and the Role of Customs Unions in Development

a. In 1984 Rev. Sun Myung Moon founded the Association for the Unity of Latin America. Although the organization had a number of objectives, the most important of those was its focus upon the building of a Latin American customs union. For too long, the division amongst the Latin American countries has been one of the factors which has made it possible for developed countries to play one country off another in the process of trade in Latin America. Reverend Moon's organization preceded MERCOSUR by almost 10 years and was one of the inspiring forces for the development of MERCOSUR.

b. He has also long emphasized the need for strong ties between less developed countries and the immigrant population from those countries who are living in the developed world. That diaspora population should lobby for strong and fair trade ties with their countries of origin. Reverend Moon has spoken of the role that African-Americans should play in promoting US trade with Africa and of the role that Latin Americans should play in promoting US trade with Latin America. The diaspora populations can also play an important role in those countries receiving most-favored-nation status for trade purposes. Likewise, lobbying for the sharing of appropriate technology with LDCs.

IX. Sustainable Development

a. This is an area of great importance, given the role of proper dominion in Unification Thought. Reverend Moon has dedicated much of the period between 1995 and 2000 that he spent in Latin America to protecting the environment while also encouraging development. In the year 2000 he founded the World Conference for the Preservation of the Pantanal and he began an important initiative for the preservation of wildlife and plants in Latin America. His work has resulted in one of the most complete assessments of the opportunities and the threats in that region. Wetlands are crucial centers for food, for life and for reproduction of many species and their being lost will have dire consequences as we already witness in the case of the Florida Everglades.

X. The Moral Basis of a Unification Model of Development

a. The importance of the lessons of Confucianism and its impact on East Asian Political Economies

i. Confucianism is frequently cited as one of the key of reasons for the development of East Asian economies. From the writings of Confucius and Mencius, we discover that there is a strong emphasis upon the role of the family as the paradigm through which all social and economic relationship should be established. Confucianism offers very practical insights into relationships into being benevolent, perhaps even more practical than those we find within Christianity because of its strong focus on family as the basis of its conceptual framework.

b. The Role of Lineage

i. Unification Thought goes further than Confucianism. It emphasizes that all of humanity is meant to be a part of God's lineage. If we could first of all identify ourselves as part of God's lineage and likewise, if we can view all human beings as part of God's lineage, Reverend Moon maintains that that would have a dramatic impact upon the way in which we relate to each other. He emphasizes that humanityís sense toward God has become dull as has our sense to humankind. In its study of axiology Unification Thought differentiates amongst desire, purpose, and value. Although purpose and value can be recognized, the greatest challenge that we may face is the strengthening of human desire to do what is good and right and especially the desire to connect to God as our real parent. In recent speeches Reverend Moon has strongly emphasized the need for strengthening the conscience. As the conscience is strengthened, the desire to do what is right is also strengthened. This will have an impact on everything, including the motivation and heart with which one deals with economic and socioeconomic affairs. It is that desire which Unification Theory aspires to revive through Hoon Dok Hoi.

c. The Role of the Fulfilling of the Three Blessing in the Securing of Lineage.

d. While lineage is extremely important, the securing of lineage is the real challenge. Lineage can only be secured through the achievement of the three blessings.

e. Significance of the Three Blessings and Human Life

i. The three blessings correspond to three important aspects of human life. The call to be fruitful, implies that the spiritual mind must come to dominate the physical mind. The fulfillment of this, Reverend Moon has clarified, relates to religion. The second blessing relates to family and the family provides a framework for the community and the polis; it also should thus serve as the basis for proper ethical and political relations. The third Blessing clearly relates to economy and to the proper relationship with nature and things.

f. Examples of The Importance of the Order of Three Blessings in the Ministry of Reverend Moon:

i. Divine Principle Analysis of the Emergence of Modern Democracy and the Market Economy

1. Divine Principle recognizes that in order for the free market to emerge through the writings of Adam Smith, it was first of all necessary for democracy to appear. For democracy to appear, it was first of all import and that the Reformation occur. The Reformation caused the sovereign king to be viewed differently. Through a different understanding of the role of the King, it also became possible to recognize inequality in human beings and to appreciate the need for all people to have a political voice, which led to the emergence of democracy

ii. The Three First Church Holidays
1. the first three holidays instituted by Reverend Moon True Parents day, True Childrenís day, and the day of All True Things, relate to the three blessings. True Parents day has as its focus, the understanding that through it for the first time in history, God had a man and woman on earth who could represent him. This represents the completion of the first blessing. True children's Day represents the completion of the family and the second blessing. The day of all true things, represents the third Blessing.
iii. Rev. Moonís Development of the Movement
1. Reverend Moon's development of the movement followed a similar pattern. Until 1960, the focus of the movement was individual development in preparation for the blessing. The focus thus was the first blessing. Beginning in 1960 with his own Blessing, Reverend Moon opened the way to the completion of the second blessing. Only after his Blessing did Reverend Moon begin to devote attention to building an economic foundation for the Unification movement.
iv. The Coronation Ceremony for the Liberation of God.
1. The coronation ceremony for the liberation of God resulted in three commandments. The first was to protect your lineage which relates to the first blessing. The second was not to hurt anyone's heart, which relates to the second blessing. The third was not to misuse public property, which relates to the third Blessing.

Unification Thought, as we have noted, maintains that inheriting Godís lineage is the foundation of a healthy polis and a healthy economy. In a family based on love Rev. Moon points out that justice is a given.


We can understand that as the work of Reverend Moon goes forward, there will continue to be a focus upon internal development as the primary basis for healthy economic development. This approach is consistent with Reverend Moonís teachings. Furthermore, object consciousness, which we have not addressed in this paper (but have addressed in an earlier paper on Adam Smith) is essential in developing an appreciation of Godís situation and heart toward those who are oppressed. This is related both to the responsibility of developed nations with a providential role to less developed countries and to the extension of Godís ideal through the raising of the lineage of humanity to its original heights and dignity as conceived by God. And as already noted, Reverend Moon himself has developed a variety of projects over the past five decades to support a comprehensive approach to economic development.

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