2030 Sustainable Development Goals: Collectivist Utopian Socialism
The 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs in short, is the UN's follow-up to the '2015 Millennium Goals'. Instead of repeating the UN's talking points (which you can find here) and relaying their perspective on this horrendous document, I will get right into the aspects of it that irk me, and my reasons for being so irked.
Firstly, the language used is overblown, overly dramatic, and either extremely sloppy, or evidence of deeply-rooted illiberal presuppositions. Allow me to provide some examples.
This sort of rhetoric seems to me to be of a Utopian socialist nature. Collectivist and illiberal, it seems that whomever spawned these phrases does not intend on giving anyone a chance to opt out of this 'collective journey'.
Many of the goals as expressed in this document would require massively increased control over the economy, both by national governments and international organisations such as the UN itself, the UN's ECOSOC, the EU, the ILO, etc. 'Sharing of wealth', 'combating inequality within and amongst nations', 'addressing income inequality', all of these goals amount to nothing more than wealth-redistribution. 'Changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns', and 'implementing a 10 Year Framework', are simply weasel words used to hide far-reaching economic regulation and centralized planning.
All of this is predicated on the urgent need for 'sustainability', a concept so nebulous, ill-defined and inherently flawed as to have no nearly real-world application at all. Imagine showing a person from the early 1500's a barrel of crude oil, and asking him what that barrel is worth. To him, it would be worthless! A liability even, some sticky black stuff. The barrel it came in would probably be worth far more to him than its contents.
Imagine asking a farmer from the same period what amount of woodland would have to be set aside, what amount of agricultural development space, etc. to be able to sustain a global population of a few billion. Leave aside the fact that the man would, in all likelihood, not be educated enough to even understand what it is you are asking, but, even if he were somehow to posses this information, his answer would still be predicated on a whole host of technological and social/societal factors that are wholly irrelevant to the modern day, which NO HUMAN BEING could have foreseen. The concept of sustainability is predicated on incorrect ideas on what 'resources' actually are, and how the production and wealth-generating processes actually function.
'The Economy' is the name of the system that distributes scarce resources with alternative uses.
Steel is abundant, yet the more steel is available, the more steel gets used in various applications, creating a constant 'scarcity' in the sense that people would buy MORE if it were cheaper. This being the law of supply and demand in action, whereby the more steel is supplied, the lower the cost, the more is purchased and used, which drives scarcity back up, which drives prices back up. Scarcity cannot be overcome, it is a constant force of equilibrium on the market.
Steel can be used for various applications, from construction purposes to consumer electronics. It can also be substituted by a VAST array of other materials. In a sense, all these materials are competing products to steel.
A free market, with government/judicial support for a basic safeguarding of free market conditions and the maintenance of law and order, on which any stable society and therefore economy is predicated; this is the system that has proven itself to be superior in providing people with the highest standard of living in the entirety of human history. Whenever governments, despots or monopolists get involved, even when they have the best of intentions, the results are always similar. Their actions always amount to a lowered standard of living for the whole society, for every single individual, rich and poor and everyone in between.
Even if you find capitalism to be a dirty word, or the idea of profit and the incentives it offers distasteful, it would border on the criminal to discount the fact that it is these principles that have been best proven to be capable of actually improving people's lives the world over.
To give another example of these principles in action, let us say an area is hit by drought, causing food production to fail, and the prices of foodstuffs to rise. In the past and present, often well-meaning governments and political leaders have implemented ceilings and maximums, for food-prices, trying to assure access to affordable food to the populace. If one compares cases in which such policies were enacted with cases in which it was not, one finds the difference is striking.
NOT implementing such policies seems to shorten the total time of hardship, drive down food-prices the quickest, and counteract the formation of gang run black markets. The reason for this is the following: Food prices go up. The incentive for people outside of the stricken area to incur heavier costs and risks to transport food to the stricken area goes up. The more people actually start importing food into the stricken market, the more prices will be brought down. This means that eventually, enough food will be brought into the market to supply the demand, until it said demand can be met more cheaply from elsewhere.
The idea that this function could be handled by a centralized institution either theoretically or practically has been dis-proven by Economists such as Milton Friedman, Friedrich Hayek and Don Lavoie. Yet here, we see the UN, comprised of the world's political leaders and employing some of the most 'well-educated' and intelligent people on the face of the damned planet spouting ill-conceived, illiberal, collectivist Utopian socialist rhetoric via a binding international agenda, which will both directly and indirectly affect the economic freedom, freedom of speech, and individual rights of each and every individual on the planet!
In closing, I will leave you with this final consideration: How many hands has this document gone through during its creation? How many man-hours at what average rate have gone into this document, which claims to be 'by the people, for the people'?