Cadmus

Archive for August, 2013

The Right to Development: Importance of Human and Social Capital as Human Rights Issues

Abstract

One of the most far-reaching decisions of the United Nations General Assembly was the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development in 1986. The Declaration was adopted with an expectation of optimism about progression to a new global economic dispensation. This did not happen. However, the Declaration remains an important symbol of global expectation. Notwithstanding it is an instrument that remains contested in many global fora. To the extent that the expectations of the Declaration received modest success, it is possible to explain this by the fact that the Declaration anticipated an economic theory that had not been intellectually and scholastically developed to make it work in practical policy arenas. On the other hand, a competing theory had evolved which embodied an import- ant level of intellectual coherence and was justified by a version of conventional economics that supported the political perspectives of the capital-intensive states and related interest groups. In this competitive universe of economic paradigms, the right to development initiative was seriously disadvantaged. However, things are changing today. Read More

Human Centered Development Perspective: Insights from Trieste

The Trieste Forum in March 2013 marked a significant milestone in the effort of the World Academy to evolve a comprehensive, integrated, transdisciplinary perspective for addressing global challenges. An initial presentation on the physics of Dark Matter aptly illustrated the need for new thinking in the social sciences. If the most mathematically rigo- rous of physical sciences is compelled to postulate the existence of an unknown, invisible substance and energy representing 96% of the total matter and energy in the universe, how much more true is it that the fundamental factors responsible for the development of society are subtle, imperceptible to the senses and beyond comprehension by the present concepts of social science. In comparison to Dark Energy and Matter, the magnitude and complexity of Human Capital might well be likened to an infinite number of parallel universes (multiverse). Read More

Networks: Innovation, growth and sustainable development

Abstract

The emergence of the Internet as a measureable manifestation of our social and economic relationships changed the domination of networks in our lives. From about 2000, the internet has allowed us to study and understand the type of networks in which we live, and to model their behaviour. The Internet has fundamentally changed the distribution of wealth. The rich became richer simply because of the larger scale of the trading network and stretched national wealth distributions. Network effects are therefore likely to be responsible for much of the perceived increases in inequalities in the last 20-30 years, and policies to tackle poverty must therefore address the extent to which the poor can engage with society’s networks of wealth creation. The greatest challenge to continued growth and prosperity, and therefore to peace and justice, is climate change. The potential cost of inaction on climate change could be as high. Our self-organising social networks have structured our societies and economies, and are now reflected in our technology networks. We can now replicate their evolution in computer simulations and can therefore better assess how to deal with the greatest challenges facing us in the next few decades. Read More

The Demographic Revolution: Reconceptualizing Macroeconomics

Abstract

It is important to reconsider the measurements which refer to the “Wealth of Nations” and from which the most appropriate references for better welfare policies are derived. In the present Service Economy, not all the “value added” measures indicate an increase in the level of wealth (the costs to cope with pollution for instance), whereas many developments in service functions and performances (in the case of many communication systems for instance) add to real wealth much more than the usual value added references indicate. In particular, the notion of productivity in a Service economy is much more relevant with reference to performance in time (hence in a probabilistic system) than to the production factor costs (in an equilibrium-based system). But all this is linked to progress in economics as a discipline, and to its integration with environmental issues (which also pretend to solve the problems of the “Wealth of Nations” on the basis of their “sustainability”). This will be a new era in economic development which will be beyond current extrapolations and will hope for “growth” in the traditional Industrial Revolution perspective. Read More

In Search of a New Paradigm for Global Development

Abstract

The World Academy has recently launched an initiative to bring together like-minded organizations and individuals to examine the root causes of the multiple challenges confronting humanity today and formulate a comprehensive strategy for addressing them. Its central premise is that viable, effective solutions can be found to meet the entire spectrum of economic, ecological, political and social challenges by formulation of an integrated perspective, comprehensive strategy and detailed policy framework attuned to the realities, needs and emerging opportunities of the 21st century. This article is intended to serve as an initial discussion paper for a WAAS e-seminar, an international conference at UNO in Geneva and a workshop at the Library of Alexandria in May-June, 2013. Read More

Inside This Issue

This issue of Cadmus marks a significant shift in emphasis from analysis of problems to the search for viable comprehensive solutions. The need for a new paradigm for global development capable of addressing the pressing challenges and opportunities of the 21st century was a main conclusion of the World Academy’s conference in Trieste in March 2013 and it is the central theme of WAAS conferences at Palais des Nations in Geneva and Library of Alexandria in June 2013.

The articles in this issue examine the philosophical, political, legal, economic, social, psychological, cultural and ecological dimensions of the subject. They draw on insights from the Trieste Forum to identify elements of a theoretical and practical approach to development based on the primacy of Human and Social Capital. These elements include the key role of human choice in the formation of public policy and social institutions; the central importance of universal values and human rights in development theory; the catalytic role of the individual as original thinker, entrepreneur and social innovator; the need for rectifying serious deficiencies in the functioning of democratic institutions; the psychological basis for the institution of money as a social organization; and the concept of society as a complex social network.

We hope you will enjoy this issue and contribute to the further development of a new paradigm.

Orio Giarini
Garry Jacobs
Ivo Šlaus

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