Archive for April, 2012

Social Evolution, Global Governance and a World Parliament

This article describes the relevance of a world parliament in the context of long-term social evolution and the crisis of global governance. It is argued that due to the development of weapons of mass destruction and complex interdependency, war has ceased to be a driver of socio-evolutionary consolidation of power at the world-system level. At the same time, there is an increasingly urgent need for global governance in spheres such as climate change mitigation or economics and finances. The author looks at how the established and now dysfunctional pattern of evolutionary change can be overcome and identifies the institution of a world parliament as an important political and psychological aspect of the evolving collective. Read More

Simulated ICJ Judgment: Revisiting the Lawfulness of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons

The author prepared this simulated judgment at the request of Cadmus editors to demonstrate that there is ample ground for revisiting and revising the landmark 1996 advisory opinion of the ICJ on the legality of nuclear weapons. The ICJ failed to anticipate the proliferation of nuclear weapons, which expands the evolution of the concept of sovereignty, the potential cataclysmic impact of nuclear war on climate change, the multiplication of nuclear-weapon-free zones as evidence of a widespread rejection, mounting evidence regarding the physical and psychological harm, and unwillingness of the nuclear weapons states to fulfill their obligations under the NPT. This article challenges the notion that a few sovereign states should be the sole arbiters of international law and affirms the legitimate claim of the global community of protection from the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons. The use or threat of use undermines foundational values of the international legal system and the specific rules of self-defense and humanitarian law. The contribution seeks to give an accentuated role for the explicit use of the fundamental values of international legal order, in crafting an innovative methodology for the formulation of the judgment. The very existence of these weapons undermines the rights of all of humanity. The ICJ should be moved to categorically declare the use and possession of nuclear weapons a crime against humanity. Read More

Flaws in the Concept of Nuclear Deterrence

The concept of nuclear deterrence is seriously flawed, and it violates the fundamental ethical principles of all major religions. Besides being morally unacceptable, nuclear weapons are also illegal according to a historic 1996 decision of the International Court of Justice, a ruling that reflects the opinion of the vast majority of the worldʼs peoples. Even a small nuclear war would be an ecological catastrophe, not only killing civilian populations indiscriminately in both belligerent and neutral countries, but also severely damaging global agriculture and making large areas of the earth permanently uninhabitable through radioactive contamination. The danger of accidental nuclear war continues to be very great today, and the danger of nuclear terrorism is increasing. In this perilous situation, it is necessary for the nuclear nations to acknowledge that the concept of deterrence has been a mistake, which is threatening the lives of all human beings as well as threatening devastation of the biosphere. Acknowledging that the policy of nuclear deterrence has been a grave error can reduce risk of nuclear weapons proliferation. Read More

Getting Risks Right: Thoughts about Increasing the Resilience of the Global Social & Economic System

The extraordinary extent of the financial crisis has inspired deep systemic reforms world-wide, rethinking financial stability, the resilience of our economic systems, and the role that national and international institutions play. While most of the ongoing activities are understandably centred on banks and the banking sector – the origin and centre of the crisis – other important elements have been relegated into secondary roles and fundamental democratic processes have been sidelined. Financial issues have crowded out real economic issues as policy-makers and politicians spend more time on the financial than the substantial (i.e. the real economy) and the democratic. Two fundamental concerns need to be addressed proactively: 1. A comprehensive approach to deal with both financial and real world risks on this planet, and 2. The global governance system based on democratic principles to follow globalisation of the business (and particularly the financial) sector. Read More

From Limits to Growth to Limitless Growth: A Revolutionary’s Vision of Wealth and Welfare

The publication of the Club of Rome’s landmark report ‘The Limits to Growth’ in 1972 shook the intellectual foundations of social theory and challenged the very premises on which modern economy and prosperity are based. Once set in motion, it led to a revolutionary re-evaluation of human aspirations and economic activities. Among its many consequences, it has stimulated creative minds to look freshly at the underlying processes governing the wealth and welfare of nations. The article then traces their creative impact on the mind of one of the most original economic theorists of our age – Orio Giarini.* As ‘The Limits to Growth’ alarmed the world by the unsustainability and dire consequences of unbridled economic growth, Giarini offers a correspondingly affirmative vision of economics with unlimited potential for wealth and welfare. Read More

Inclusive growth: Why is it important for developing Asia?

Although Asian countries attain relatively high growth rates of GDP, many citizens do not seem to benefit from it. To remedy this problem, multilateral development institutions have developed the concept of inclusive growth, defined as growth that allows all members of a society to participate in and contribute to the growth process on an equal basis, regardless of their individual circumstances. The most direct way to achieve inclusive growth in Asia is to bring the objective of full employment of the labor force (i.e., zero involuntary unemployment) to the top of the policy agenda. Specific policies to achieve it are: (i) Redress the neglect of agriculture; (ii) Undertake public investment in basic infrastructure; (iii) Use of industrial policy to accelerate industrialization and structural transformation in general; (iv) Direct fiscal and monetary policies to the achievement of full employment; and (v) Devise Job Guarantee Programs (JGP) to ensure full employment with price stability. Read More

Original Thinking

History that comes to us as a chronology of events is really a collective existence that is evolving through several stages to develop Individuality in all members of the society. The human community, nation states, linguistic groups, local castes and classes, and families are the intermediate stages in development of the Individual. The social process moves through phases of survival, growth, development and evolution. In the process it organizes the consciousness of its members at successive levels from social external manners, formed behavior, value-based character and personality to culminate in the development of Individuality. Through this process, society evolves from physicality to mentality. The power of accomplishment in society and its members develops progressively through stages of skill, capacity, talent, and ability. Original thinking is made possible by the prior development of thinking that organizes facts into information. The immediate result of the last world war was a shift in reliance from physical force and action to mental conception and mental activity on a global scale. At such times no problem need defy solution, if only humanity recognizes the occasion for thinking and Original Thinking. The apparently insoluble problems we confront are an opportunity to formulate a comprehensive theory of social evolution. The immediate possibility is to devise complete solutions to all existing problems, if only we use the right method of thought development.
Read More

Economic Crisis and the Science of Economics

The American subprime mortgage crisis, the international financial crisis that followed and the European financial crisis presently centered on Greece are all expressions of a deeper and wider crisis that has been preparing to surface for decades. This crisis encompasses not only government fiscal deficits, exchange rates and financial markets but spreads out in concentric circles of rising unemployment, growing economic inequality and environmental devastation which now threaten to undermine the very fabric of the world economy. The sources of that crisis are no more difficult to identify than the sources of the American and French Revolution. Their origin can be traced from the mechanization of production during the industrial revolution to the computerization of financial markets in recent decades, but the heart of the crisis is neither machines nor intelligent systems. The real crisis is a crisis of thought, a poverty of ideas, a world view justified by specious formulas disguised as scientific theory, based on the fallacious conception that the infinite complexity of social life can be measured and mapped mathematically and the misguided faith in the benevolent wisdom of the unregulated market place, a fallacy which would have made Adam Smith cry laughing. The real problem is nothing more than ideological ignorance and narrowly selfish self-interest run amuck. The world does not suffer from poverty or shortages. Like the European church at the time of Copernicus, it suffers from insistence on dead conventional feudal conceptions and beliefs that are out of tune with our times. Read More

Immediate Solution for the Greek Financial Crisis

The recent agreement to write off a substantial portion of Greek bonds only postpones but does not resolve the essential problem. The key to the Greek crisis lies in economy, not finance. Any financial solution that results in further contraction of the economy will only aggravate budget deficits and debt servicing problems. Economy can restore financial stability, not vice versa. The solution lies not in successive rounds of external funding at concessional interest rates, no matter how crucial that may be in the short term, but in unleashing the productive forces of the Greek economy which has contracted by more than 10% in the last two years, 15.5% in December 2011 compared to December 2010. The most essential requirement for a quick turnaround and a lasting solution is to drastically reduce the unemployment rate which has tripled since 2008 from 7.2% to 20.9%. Youth unemployment is nearing a totally untenable 50%. Read More

Evolution from Violence to Law to Social Justice

Law is a complex phenomenon. The principles and practice of law are a composite of multiple forces – the force of past precedent, established custom and accepted tradition; the force of present political, economic and social power; and the force of emerging aspirations and ideas striving for acceptance. At any point in time, law consists of a more or less precarious balance between the past and the future. The elite of society who achieved in earlier generations naturally accord greater legitimacy to past precedent. Currently prevailing social achievers, like the hedge fund traders of today, affirm the legal basis for their wanton freedom of action. Read More

Next Page »