Functionalism and World Politics: A Study Based on United Nations Programs Financing Economic Development

Functionalism and World Politics: A Study Based on United Nations Programs Financing Economic Development

Functionalism and World Politics: A Study Based on United Nations Programs Financing Economic Development

Functionalism and World Politics: A Study Based on United Nations Programs Financing Economic Development

Excerpt

Speaking at dedication ceremonies for the University of Chicago Law School on 1 May 1960, the late Dag Hammarskjöld observed that "we are still in the transition between institutional systems of international coexistence and constitutional systems of international cooperation. It is natural that, at such a stage of transition, theory is still vague. . . ."

If theory to guide the statesman directly involved with United Nations matters is vague, it is no less so for the student of international organization. The latter would understand and explain that vast complex of activities known as the United Nations system. To do so he must grasp at straws of evidence borne by the turbulent and shifting winds of the modern world. The order of explanation often seems a far cry from the chaos of the real world.

The functionalist argument formulated by David Mitrany and others rises to this challenge. In its explanatory role this thesis proffers a means toward understanding the relationship between international organization and international community; within the interstices of its explanatory scheme an interpretation of international politics appears.

Nor do the functionalists pause with the explanation of relationships. As Inis L. Claude, Jr. puts it, the functionalist thesis "is not merely a recipe to be studied, but also a dish to be tasted. . . ." In its role as prescription the functionalist argument suggests a pathway for mankind to work its way toward peace and plenty. "Peace by Pieces"--Lyman C. White's fitting appellation --would . . .

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