Tuesday 17 Jul 2018 | 12:14 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 17 Jul 2018 | 12:14 | SYDNEY

For rent: UN veto, barely used


Malcolm Cook

9 November 2009 12:21

Mark’s latest post shows the benefits of applying cold, hard economic logic to the woollier world of international politics and the UN.

I think the FCO could take it further. Instead of selling the permanent seat, why not rent the UK's veto (conferred by its ownership of a permanent seat on the Security Council) to other members on issues of particular importance to them. This would be riskier in terms of future cash flows but would allow the FCO to benefit from other members' particular sensitivities to Council issues (issues that, as a permanent member, the UK could even table for them).

Over time, this could allow the FCO to raise even more money from its control of this international political rent, and also exercise the veto itself when there are issues it is concerned enough about not to flog off its veto to the highest bidder.

One step further: the FCO could even offer to sell its use of the veto on particular issues to non-UN members like Taiwan or a multinational firm. By increasing the pool of customers, this would raise the price of the veto itself, a true win-win solution.

Photo by Flickr user justlibby, used under a Creative Commons license.