Archive for November, 2011

Program Framework for the World Academy of Art & Science

This document forms part of the second report of the WAAS Strategic Planning Committee presented to the Board of Trustees in May 2010 but never circulated to our Fellows. We publish it now inviting readers from both within and outside the Academy to contribute their ideas on the type of knowledge the world really needs today to effectively address the pressing problems and unprecedented opportunities unfolding. Comments can be sent to

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Report on Activities of WAAS & Club of Rome

September 2011

Members of the Academy and Club of Rome met in Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 26-27, 2011 to participate in the Dubrovnik Sustainable Development Conference and to launch the WAAS project, “From Crises to Prosperity”, which will examine the root and common causes of four international crises related to global governance – financial stability, unemployment, climate change and nuclear proliferation. The project will examine strategies to generate support for a quantum shift in values and global governance structures. Ivo Šlaus is the project leader. Read More

In Search of Failure’s Silver Lining

Technology offers a number of examples of serendipity, of random discovery, of experiments going off the rails – though we highlight mostly the ones where the offshoots were spectacular.
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The Turn Towards Unity: Converting Crises into Opportunities

Human progress is stimulated by external threats and pressures. Values distilled from long experience possess the essential knowledge and power needed for continuous development and evolution. Successive waves of foreign invasions following the collapse of the Roman Empire coalesced the tribes of England into a nation state. Centuries of incessant warfare finally compelled the countries of Western Europe to evolve a regional union within which war has become unthinkable. Most recently, the rising incidence of terrorism has compelled national security institutions to forge a network for global coordination unimaginable during the Cold War. Challenges met are converted into opportunities. Opportunities missed degenerate into problems. Read More

Brief History of Alternative Dispute Resolution in the United States

Editor’s note: This issue of Cadmus focuses on the power of organizational innovation to address social problems and enhance social effectiveness. The development of law marks the evolution of civilization. Survival of the fittest is the law of the jungle based on strength alone. As society developed, rule by the governing principle of physical strength on the battle field was progressively supplanted by the rule of social authority as determined by those in power. Monarchy, dictatorship, plutocracy have gradually given way to principles of justice as rule of law and administered government through legislation and the courts. Read More

Rising Expectations, Social Unrest & Development

The relationship between peace and development holds the key to effective strategies for addressing the roots of social unrest. Rising expectations are the principal driving force for social development. However, the faster and higher aspirations rise, the greater the gap between expectations and reality. That gap promotes a sense of frustration, depravation and aggression leading to social unrest and violence. Read More

Mediation of Conflicts by Civil Society

The number and severity of conflicts (violent clashes where there are more than 1000 casualties) have declined markedly since the end of the Cold War. This is shown graphically below despite this being a time of high population growth:1
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The Moral Arc of History

The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

1. One Tribe Becomes Many

Between fifty and one hundred thousand years ago, a small group of homo sapiens made its way out of Africa and established settlements in what we now call the Middle East. Over the millennia, we multiplied and spread across the whole earth. In response to variations in climate, one race became many. Read More

Real Economies and the Illusions of Abstraction

The yawning gap between the real world and the discipline and profession of economics has never been wider. The ever-increasing abstractions in finance and its models based on “efficient markets” and “rational actors”: capital asset pricing, Value-at-Risk, Black-Scholes Options Pricing have been awarded most of the Bank of Sweden prizes since they were founded in the 1960s and foisted onto the Nobel Prize Committee. Most of these abstract models, based on misuse of mathematics, contributed to the financial crises of 2007-2008. Now, the family of Alfred Nobel, led by lawyer Peter Nobel, has disassociated itself from the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economics In Memory of Alfred Nobel.1,* They point out that Nobel never would have approved of a prize in economics since it is not a science – and would have disapproved even more that most of the prizes were given to Western, neoclassical economists using mathematized, abstract models – far from Nobel’s wider concerns. Read More

The Evolution of Wealth & Human Security: The Paradox of Value and Uncertainty

Life evolves by consciousness, consciousness evolves by organization. Human life evolves by a progressive heightening of our awareness, expansion of our knowledge, widening of our attitudes, and elevation of our values. This evolving human consciousness progressively expresses itself through the formulation and creation of more complex and effective organization – a seamlessly integrated, organic web of relationships encompassing ideas, knowledge, people, activities, processes, systems, technology, laws, institutions, power and values – political, economic, social, cultural, intellectual and psychological. The capacities of one person acting on his own are limited, but the action of organization has no limit. Organization creates abundance. Read More

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