In 2009, I read something which seemed quite remarkable. It came from the UN and a speech by Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, the President of the United Nations General Assembly.
“The anti-values of greed, individualism and exclusion should be replaced by solidarity, common good and inclusion. The objective of our economic and social activity should not be the limitless, endless, mindless accumulation of wealth in a profit-centred economy but rather a people-centred economy that guarantees human needs, human rights, and human security, as well as conserves life on earth. These should be universal values that underpin our ethical and moral responsibility.”
In 2007 our 'Marshall Plan' proposal was introduced to Ukraine's government, saying this about its purpose:
'This is a long-term permanently sustainable program, the basis for "people-centered" economic development. Core focus is always on people and their needs, with neediest people having first priority – as contrasted with the eternal chase for financial profit and numbers where people, social benefit, and human well-being are often and routinely overlooked or ignored altogether. This is in keeping with the fundamental objectives of Marshall Plan: policy aimed at hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. This is a bottom-up approach, starting with Ukraine's poorest and most desperate citizens, rather than a "top-down" approach that might not ever benefit them. They cannot wait, particularly children. Impedance by anyone or any group of people constitutes precisely what the original Marshall Plan was dedicated to opposing. Those who suffer most, and those in greatest need, must be helped first -- not secondarily, along the way or by the way. '
The UN speech was the first I'd heard of people-centred economics in a decade since the manifesto which made the case for putting people before profit.
"Economics, and indeed human civilization, can only be measured and calibrated in terms of human beings. Everything in economics has to be adjusted for people, first, and abandoning the illusory numerical analyses that inevitably put numbers ahead of people, capitalism ahead of democracy, and degradation ahead of compassion."
Now here's the problem
We are seemingly alone when it comes to taking a stand against what caused the crisis in Ukraine. A crisis which has already cost thousands of lives. We need to defend people-centred economics and specifically the 'Marshall Plan' for Ukraine from those who would use it to benefit personally.
The primary focus of this work were the thousands of children at the mercy of a corrupt childcare system, of which part of the UN had been made aware:
"Opening up the reality of that situation resulted in threats against me and anyone else interfering with that system. I came under direct assault by tax police, government’s primary enforcement arm if anyone steps out of line. This is not a research activity where many, if any, other people dared to participate. UNICEF was willfully blind to the matter because it was just too dangerous to bother to intercede Powerful interests remained entrenched with enforcers to make it dangerous. Jurists were correct, in my view. It was more a mafia operation than anything else, aimed at misappropriation and laundering of large money. That was perfectly congruent with how Ukraine operated before the revolution. USAID wanted nothing to do with it, nor would they fund any organizations or activists who might try. Some things could be done and some things could not be done. Helping these children was something that could not be done. So, I exposed it and made it the central focus and metric of Ukraine’s microeconomic development blueprint. In that context, it was far more difficult to ignore, dismiss, or argue about. For about six months, I really did not expect to survive. Nevertheless, Ukraine’s government finally conceded the point and announced the opening of more than four hundred new treatment centers for children who were theretofore invisible under tight and deadly enforcement.”
The following paragraph may be found in our letter to USAID in February 2008.
'Although the PN reality is perhaps the absolute worst part of all things in Ukraine stemming from RICO, it is far from the only part in the same vein. There is also the much more visible matter of kids in “regular” orphanages and kids living on the streets and in sewers. Orphanages have been another money-maker via selling “top” kids to foreign adoptions. Kids with lesser market value (over seven years old and/or serious health issues) were shunted to lesser quality, out-of-the-way orphanages. Kids with no market value were tossed aside completely, i.e., PN facilities a.k.a. Death Camps, for Children. President Yushchenko rightfully suspended foreign adoptions for a period of time because orphanages were normally operated more like livestock farms with product for sale. It’s mostly not the staff who are any sort of problem in these orphanages, although redundant independent evidence strongly indicates that sometimes arrangements have somehow been made for adults to come in and “play” with children of their choosing during the night. More often it comes down to even the best, most sincere staff having had their hands tied regarding what little they could do for the children assigned to them, because so much money was displaced as to leave comparative crumbs for caring for the kids. Once orphanage children reach the age of seventeen, they’re booted out into the world with hardly any preparation to deal with it. If kids are attractive enough, they can be (and are) taken into prostitution rings and rented out for sex work. If they got a bit of training at night in their orphanage, they are better prepared for sex work. (In Kharkiv, militia runs that operation. For Donetsk and Donbass, it’s Donetsk mafia. Variations on the same theme play out across Ukraine.) Street kids are street kids mainly because they consider living in orphanages until seventeen worse than living on the streets and sleeping in sewers. Of course they also have access to street drugs to take the edge off their miseries. That coupled with unprotected sex and inevitable prostitution produces an HIV/AIDS factory. In Ukraine at this moment, HIV is a pandemic and getting worse."