Wednesday, January 30, 2008
At the United Nations, the Curious Career of Maurice Strong
February 8, 2007
By Claudia Rosett and George Russell
NEW YORK — Before the United Nations can save the planet, it needs to clean up its own house. And as scandal after scandal has unfolded over the past decade, from Oil for Food to procurement fraud to peacekeeper rape, the size of that job has become stunningly clear.
But any understanding of the real efforts that job entails should begin with a look at the long and murky career of Maurice Strong, the man who may have had the most to do with what the U.N. has become today, and still sparks controversy even after he claims to have cut his ties to the world organization.
From Oil for Food to the latest scandals involving U.N. funding in North Korea, Maurice Strong appears as a shadowy and often critically important figure.
Strong, now 77, is best known as the godfather of the environmental movement, who served from 1973-1975 as the founding director of the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) in Nairobi. UNEP is now a globe-girdling organization with a yearly budget of $136 million, which claims to act as the world’s environmental conscience. Strong consolidated his eco-credentials as the organizer of the U.N.’s 1992 environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro, which in turn paved the way for the controversial 1997 Kyoto Treaty on controlling greenhouse gas emissions.
But his green credentials scarcely begin to do justice to Strong’s complicated back-room career. He has spent decades migrating through a long list of high-level U.N. posts, standing behind the shoulder of every U.N. secretary-general since U Thant . Without ever holding elected office, he has had a hand in some of the world’s most important bureaucratic appointments, both at the U.N. and at the World Bank. A Canadian wheeler-dealer with an apple face and pencil mustache, Strong has parlayed his personal enthusiasms and connections into a variety of huge U.N. projects, while punctuating his public service with private business deals.
Along the way, Strong has also been caught up in a series of U.N. scandals and conflicts of interest. These extend from the notorious Oil-for-Food program to the latest furor over cash funneled via U.N. agencies to the rogue regime of North Korea, which involves, among other things, Strong’s creative use of a little-known, U.N.-chartered educational institution called the University for Peace. Above all, the tale of Maurice Strong illustrates the way in which the U.N., with its bureaucratic culture of secrecy, its diplomatic immunities, and its global reach, lends itself to manipulation by a small circle of those who best know its back corridors.
Officially, Strong cut his ties to the U.N. Secretariat almost two years ago, as federal investigators homed in on the discovery that back in 1997, while serving as a top adviser to then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan, he took a check for almost $1 million that was bankrolled by Saddam Hussein’s U.N.-sanctioned regime. The check was delivered by a South Korean businessman, Tongsun Park, who was convicted last summer in New York Federal Court of conspiring to bribe U.N. officials on behalf of Baghdad. Strong denied any wrongdoing and said he would step aside from his U.N. envoy post until the matter was cleared up.
Since then, Strong has receded, as he often does, into the shadows. He is currently spending most of his time in China. His name flickered recently through the speaker lineup for a gala dinner for clean technologies in San Francisco, but the organizers say he then canceled because “he has so much going on” in China.
China is a special place for Strong, a self-declared, life-long socialist. It is the burial place of a woman said to be one of his relatives, the famous pro-communist American journalist Anna Louise Strong, a vociferous supporter of Lenin and Stalin until the mid-‘30s, and a strong booster of Mao Zedong’s China. Maurice Strong’s presence in Beijing, however, raises awkward questions: For one thing, China, while one of the world’s biggest producers of industrial pollution, has been profiting from the trading of carbon emissions credits – thanks to heavily politicized U.N.-backed environmental deals engineered by Strong in the 1990s.
Strong has refused to answer questions from FOX News about the nature of his business in China, though he has been linked in press reports to planned attempts to market Chinese-made automobiles in North America, and a spokesman for the U.S.-based firm that had invited him to speak in San Francisco, Cleantech Venture Network, says he has recently been “instrumental” in helping them set up a joint venture in Beijing. Strong’s assistant in Beijing did confirm by e-mail that he has an office in a Chinese government-hosted diplomatic compound, thanks to “many continuing relationships arising from his career including 40 years of active relationships in China.”
And from China, Strong has to this day maintained a network of personal and official connections within the U.N. system that he has long used to spin his own vast web of non-governmental organizations, business associates and ties to global glitterati. Within that web, Strong has developed a distinctive pattern over the years of helping to set up taxpayer-funded public bureaucracies, both outside and within the U.N., which he then taps for funding and contacts when he moves on to other projects.
Working With Kofi Annan
Working as a top adviser to Annan from 1997 to 2005, Strong was the author of Annan’s first big round of U.N. reforms, which broadly shifted power away from the member states and toward his boss in the Secretariat. These changes included adding the post of a deputy secretary-general to help manage the expanding turf of the Secretariat. Annan first gave that job to a Canadian, Louise Frechette, who ultimately drew criticism for mismanaging Oil-for-Food and left the U.N. early last year to join a Canadian institute that included Strong on its board of governors. Annan replaced Frechette with one of Strong’s former colleagues from a stint dating back to the mid-1990s at the World Bank, Mark Malloch Brown, who — with Strong as one of his special advisers — had then served under Annan from 1999-2005 as head of the U.N. Development Program (UNDP).
More ominously, Strong’s reforms also created the Office of the Iraq Program, which consolidated ad hoc operations into one department inside the U.N. Secretariat that was better known as the Oil For Food program. That office was headed by Benon Sevan, who was indicted last month in New York federal court for taking bribes via Oil-for-Food deals (Sevan, beyond reach of U.S. extradition in Cyprus, has denied any wrongdoing).
Strong also had a hand around 1997-1998 in creating the Byzantine structure of Ted Turner’s ground-breaking $1 billion gift to the U.N., which Turner since 1998 has been doling out in installments from his Washington-based U.N. Foundation. Turner’s funding, augmented in recent years by money from other donors, flows into the U.N. from the U.N. Foundation through a specially created U.N. department set up under Annan in 1998 and administered not by the budgetary arm of the U.N. General Assembly, but by the secretary-general.
Styling himself as a guru of global governance, Strong also helped to launch a major campaign for the U.N. to entwine its murky and graft-prone bureaucracy with big business, via so-called public-private partnerships. Strong introduced this process in his 1997 reform proposal as the bland notion of “consultation between the United Nations and the business community.”
Through his maneuvers, Strong has nurtured the U.N.’s natural tendencies to grow like kudzu into a system that now extends far beyond its own organizational chart. In this jungle, it is not only tough to track how the money is spent, but almost impossible to tally how much really rolls in – or flows through — and from where, and for what.
The U.N. today claims to have a core annual budget of only about $1.9 billion. But its total budget is more on the order of $20 billion per year, trailing off at the edges into opaque trusts, complicated in-kind donations and odd projects shielded by U.N. immunities — and accounting complexities — from any real oversight. And the potential for conflicts of interest is huge — and often overlooked by the U.N. itself.
Strong’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering has also put him in the cockpit of global power politics. From 2003 to 2005, he served as Annan’s personal envoy to the nuclear-crisis-wracked Korean peninsula. That role took him to Pyongyang, and also brought him into close contact with the South Korean government, where Ban Ki-moon, who last month took over from Annan as U.N. Secretary-General, was then foreign minister. In 2004, for example, Ban and Strong shared a head table at the annual dinner of the Korea Society in New York.
South Korean diplomats have downplayed any connections between Ban and Strong. But one of Ban’s first acts when he took charge at the U.N. last month was to appoint as his head of management a Strong protégé, Alicia Barcena, a Mexican environmentalist. It was Strong who brought Barcena into the U.N. orbit, in 1991, to help organize the Rio summit on the environment, which he chaired in 1992. To prepare and then follow up on the Rio agenda, Strong founded a network called the Earth Council Alliance, in which Barcena served until 1995 as the founding director of the flagship chapter, based in Costa Rica. She then moved on to jobs inside the U.N. system, including work with UNEP and UNDP. When Strong took charge of the University for Peace along with his other projects eight years ago, he invited the Costa Rica Earth Council to move its offices onto the university campus, where it was absorbed into the U Peace structure and curriculum. [SIMILAR TO PROPOSED UN REFORMS OF THE UN ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM IN NEW ITSSD REPORT]
In her current slot as chief of the U.N.’s administrative and financial operations, Barcena looks likely to have a managerial hand in an audit that Ban has promised of U.N. related flows of money to North Korea — in which Strong’s University for Peace played a part.
Means to an End
Indeed, as a microcosm of how Strong navigates the U.N. universe to achieve ends that are often far from visible, there is no better example than the use he has made of the odd little U.N. offshoot in Central America called the University for Peace.
Located on the outskirts of the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, U Peace was set up back in 1980 with the approval of the U.N. General Assembly as a school to promote “the interdisciplinary study of all matters related to peace.” From the start, it enjoyed a curious status. It was chartered by the U.N., and its governing council has always been dominated by appointees of the U.N. secretary-general. But at the same time, U Peace operates with no regular U.N. funding, and is subject to no U.N. oversight – even though occasional reports on U Peace are given by the secretary-seneral to the U.N. General Assembly.
Strong himself, in memoirs he published about six years ago under the title "Where on Earth Are We Going?", may have been one of the first to seize on U Peace’s stealth-like possibilities. He noted that while working for Annan in 1997 on U.N. reform, “I studied the constitutions of each of the U.N. organizations and was intrigued to find that the autonomous nature of the University for Peace exempted it from the normal reporting, administrative, personnel and other bureaucratic requirements.” [UNACCOUNTABLE GOVERNANCE]
At the time Strong observed those traits, U Peace had become little more than a shell. As described by various sources, it was low on students and lower on funding; its activities, such as they were, were confined to Central and South America.
Two years later, in 1999, Annan suddenly gave U Peace a major upgrade. He re-stocked the institution’s governing council with fresh appointees, who promptly elected Maurice Strong as their president. Strong, who already had interests in Costa Rica, including not only the Earth Council offices opened by Barcena, but some beachfront property he had purchased in 1978, took on the revamping of U Peace alongside his duties as a close adviser to Annan, and then as Annan’s Pyongyang envoy.
The result, after more than seven years of Strong’s stewardship, is a small school in Costa Rica, handing out degrees in fields such as “peaceology,” while serving in effect as Strong’s unofficial branch office — one of the quiet hubs for his global network. Sporting the U.N. emblem, but with no U.N. oversight, U Peace has also opened offices in Addis Ababa, Geneva and New York. The Geneva and New York offices both have the strange feature that they have no dealings with students, but enjoy close ties to U.N. facilities via the UNDP for moving people and money around the globe.
And for a tiny outfit in Central America, U Peace has developed an extraordinary recent
interest in North Korea. Starting with a push by Annan in 2003 for a U.N. development strategy for North Korea, that interest appears to have migrated from an inter-agency task force convened by Strong inside the UNDP, to an initiative pursued by Strong via U Peace — a vehicle exempt from any normal U.N. oversight.
In 2004, with a seed donation of about $330,000 from the Canadian International Development Agency (of which Strong was the founding president from 1968-1970), U Peace set up a trust fund dedicated to North Korean projects, called the DPRK Trust Fund. That same year, 2004, Strong hosted a conference in Vevey, Switzerland, on North Korean “energy scenarios.” That conference served as a basis for a 2005 report supervised by Strong, and underwritten by U Peace. Along with Canadian money, U.S. government records show that the funding for the report also included a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. A former Energy Department assistant secretary, William Martin, worked on the 2005 report, and recently took over from Strong as head of the U Peace governing council.
Among the contributors to the U Peace energy report, described in it as acting “in a personal capacity,” is a former head of UNDP’s regional bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Nay Htun, who spends part of his time working in the New York office of U Peace, according to the head of that office, Narinder Kakar. (Nay Htun, an engineer, unsuccessfully ran last year to become head of the World Health Organization, as a candidate sponsored by Burma.)
At this point the cross ties grow at a blinding pace between U Peace and other U.N. ventures in which Strong played a leading role.
The U Peace report concludes, for example, with proposals for a $1.4 million energy project for North Korea, one third of that supported in cash and in-kind by the government of North Korea, and the rest to be funded by $150,000 from the UNDP and $750,000 from a U.N. outfit called the Global Environment Facility, or GEF.
The GEF, spawned by the 1992 Rio conference (which Strong chaired) is a joint effort of UNEP (which Strong founded) and the World Bank (where Strong was appointed in 1995 as a senior adviser to the president) and the UNDP (run from 1999-2005 by Strong’s former World Bank colleague, Mark Malloch Brown, and from 2005 to the present by another of Strong’s former World Bank colleagues, Kemal Dervis).
The report prescribes that the follow-up on its energy project be implemented by North Korea’s “National Coordinating Committee for the Environment” and “the DPRK Academy of Sciences” – an outfit that quite likely includes North Korean officials involved in the country’s missile and nuclear bomb programs.
And last summer, using the UNDP’s staff and diplomatically privileged facilities to handle the travel arrangements, and the money, U Peace paid to send a delegation of 10 North Korean officials to an energy conference at Lund University, in Sweden. U.N. internal documents seen by Fox show that the payment for the North Korean travel was requested by the U Peace office in Switzerland, handled by former UNDP official Nay Htun in New York, and involved bankrolling the airfares and transferring cash stipends to the traveling North Korean officials via the UNDP office in Pyongyang.
The use of U Peace as the financier of the junket served at least one important purpose: it allowed UNDP to declare, if asked, that it had not violated any internal rules about financing North Korean travel or using hard currency for the benefit of North Korean officials. This is a charge that has been vigorously brought by the U.S. Government concerning U.N. funding via its offices in Pyongyang, which are run by UNDP. Those accusations prompted Ban Ki-moon last month to promise a full external audit of U.N. operations world-wide, starting in North Korea.
But the Lund affair may involve still further twists and turns. According to lists leaked from within UNDP, the ten North Korean officials who went to Sweden were all listed for purposes of the trip as functionaries of North Korea’s energy industry. Yet the names that have been leaked point to other intriguing possibilities.
For example, the group included someone named Jon Yong Ryong, described in the leaked UNDP list as “Expert, Environment and Energy.” That is the same name, as it happens, of a North Korean official posted a few years ago to the North Korean mission to the U.N. in New York. That official spoke up at a 2003 meeting of the U.N. Disarmament Commission to lambaste the U.S. and assure the commission that in North Korea, “nuclear activities will be confined at the present stage to the production of electricity” – a promise belied by North Korea’s test last October of a nuclear bomb.
Another name on the leaked list, this one described as “Senior Officer, Power Resources Development,” is that of Ri Kwang Su. There was a broadcaster with that same name on North Korean radio, whose commentary as translated by the BBC monitoring service on March 28, 2005, included, “Our army and people will keep enhancing the nuclear deterrent forces.”
What exactly is going on, who these traveling North Koreans actually were, or what U Peace is really doing, is hard to determine. A spokesman for the UNDP would only say that “UNDP often acts as a kind of central service provider for the U.N. system … so it would be normal for a UNDP country office to assist the University for Peace on something like transferring funds for travel and arranging tickets.”
But there is nothing normal about this setup, starting with the relationship between U Peace and the “U.N. system.”
In response to questions emailed by FOX News, a U Peace official confirmed that “U Peace does not come under the purview or oversight” of U.N. auditors. A confidential assessment of U Peace carried out in 2004 by the Canadian International Development Agency, which bankrolled what U Peace calls the “DPRK Trust Fund,” noted that “an evaluation would normally benefit from periodic monitoring and evaluation reports produced by the institution itself or by external observers. Such reports do not exist.”
This below-the-radar arrangement is rationalized by both U.N. and U Peace officials on the grounds that the U Peace does not depend on the U.N. for funding (although over the past five years U Peace has received at least $280,000 in grants from UNDP, along with in-kind support). But in rattling the cup for donations, and apparently in pursuing projects, U Peace appears to trade heavily on the fact that it wears the U.N. label. On its website, it advertises that “although U Peace is not subject to U.N. regulations and does not receive regular U.N. funding, it has strong links with the U.N. Secretary-General’s office and many other parts of the U.N. system.” (Nor do the “strong links” stop there. The rector of U Peace from 2005-2006 was Julia Marton-Lefevre; she is the sister-in-law of Richard Holbrooke, formerly U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. under President Bill Clinton.)
The question is, what is the “U.N. system?” Most of those links appear to have involved Maurice Strong himself, who shortly before taking on U Peace had added to his multitude of other U.N. roles a new one as part of a new, privately funded financial center inside the U.N. Secretary General’s office.
In fact, records show that at the same time that he first took over U Peace, Strong was on both sides of the biggest single donation that rolled in to support his revamping of the institution.
Channeling Ted Turner's Money
Strong’s role as a private U.N. financier dates back to 1997 and early 1998, while working on Annan’s reform plan for the entire Secretariat. In the midst of that effort, Strong helped structure a new office inside the Secretariat called the U.N Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP), dedicated to a novel enterprise: channeling Ted Turner’s $1 billion gift to the U.N. directly through the Secretariat, in annual allotments of $100 million, to select projects within the U.N. system. Turner later cut back on his own annual contributions, supplementing his money with donations from others, and thus stretching out the UN Foundation’s direct link to the Secretary-General for years to come.
Turner’s U.N. Foundation money began flowing in 1998. That same year, while listed in the U.N. phone book as affiliated with UNFIP, and working as a special adviser to Annan, Strong joined the U.N Foundation’s board of directors. In effect, Strong stood at a special new crossroads within the U.N., where a variety of private funders would be taking a major role in funding future U.N. plans.
In 2000, UN records show that the UN Foundation., with Strong still a board member, approved a $2 million grant that flowed through the U.N. via UNFIP to U Peace, where Strong had just taken charge. Strong then resigned from the U.N. Foundation board.
At the same time, Strong was getting private funding from other sources that would eventually prove even more questionable. Last summer, at the trial of Tongsun Park, Saddam’s illicit lobbyist, it emerged in court testimony that a few years after Strong accepted from Park the check for almost $1 million funded by Baghdad, the two men had set up yet another business arrangement. In the year 2000, according to evidence presented in court, Tongsun Park was paying the rent for a private office Strong used in Manhattan. This was in parallel with his official work as an Under-Secretary-General and special adviser to Annan at the U.N., and his new post as head of U Peace.
To whatever conflicts of interest this might have entailed, Strong added another one by hiring his own stepdaughter, Kristina Mayo, to work in his official U.N. office, without declaring the family relationship to the U.N.. Mayo’s name also came up at Park’s trial, as the person who in 2000 handled the checks sent on behalf of Park to pay for Strong’s private New York office. In June, 2000, for example, Mayo sent a fax providing details for the money to be deposited directly into Strong’s account at the U.N. branch of the Chase Manhattan Bank. Why Strong, often described as a tycoon, would have been relying on Park to pay his private office rent at that time has not been explained.
But then, it seems Park and Strong had known each other, and had business dealings, for years. Strong himself told the press in 2005 that when he took on the role from 2003-2005 as Annan’s personal envoy to the Korean peninsula, Tongsun Park served as one of his advisers.
This was a relationship in which it’s unlikely that Strong could have been oblivious to Park’s earlier history as one of the star players in the 1970s congressional bribery scandal known as Koreagate. In that saga, Park was indicted on federal charges including money laundering, racketeering and acting as an unregistered agent of South Korea’s Central Intelligence Agency. He testified in exchange for immunity, and for a while dropped out of sight.
But by the early 1990s, Park was back on the East Coast power corridor social scene, and had befriended the U.N.’s then-Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, paying calls on him at the U.N.’s official residence on Sutton Place, and sending flowers to his wife. In the autumn of 1996, before Annan took the top U.N. job, Strong served as a special adviser to Boutros-Ghali. That same autumn, around October, 1996, Strong and Park did some business together, lobbying for the sale of Canadian nuclear reactors to the Korean peninsula. The man who recruited them jointly for this assignment was a Canadian, Reid Morden, then head of a Canadian Crown corporation, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, with which Park at the time had a consultancy.
What goes around at the U.N. apparently never ceases to come around: nearly a decade later, from 2004 to 2005, Reid Morden worked for Paul Volcker as the operating head of the U.N-authorized probe into Oil-for-Food – in which both Park and Strong again turned up. The early relationship between Morden and the two men was revealed only in a terse footnote on page 100 in the second volume of Volcker’s four-volume final report, along with the notice that Morden had recused himself from the sections of the investigation involving his two former associates.
Beyond that, Maurice Strong’s ties to movers and shakers in other parts of the “U.N. system” multiply in dizzying directions – not least involving Kojo Annan, the U.N. Secretary General’s son, whose own possible conflict of interest in the Oil for food scandal was among the factors that first sparked the Volcker investigation. Kofi Annan called for the independent probe after press reports revealed that his son, Kojo Annan, had been working for a Switzerland-based firm, Cotecna Inspection, which in 1998 had won the U.N. contract to inspect goods shipped to Saddam’s Iraq under the U.N. program.
On Dec. 28, 1999 — around the same time that Strong was concurrently taking charge of U Peace, and serving as a special adviser to Annan, and sitting on the board of Turner’s U.N. Foundation — Maurice Strong and Kojo Annan simultaneously joined the board of a company called Air Harbour Technologies. Registered in the Isle of Man and Cyprus, Air Harbour was a venture put together by a young Saudi businessman, Hani Yamani, whose father, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, was once Saudi Arabia’s powerful oil minister.
Air Harbour aspired to a role in “sustainable tourism,” mapping out a number of projects in Switzerland, Cyprus and Africa, which appear never to have fully materialized. Strong spent just over six months on the board, then resigned in July, 2000. Kojo Annan remained on the board, where he was joined in January 2001 by a family friend and former associate from Cotecna, Michael Wilson. Six months later they both resigned, at which point, according to Volcker’s probe, Air Harbour had ceased operations .
And Paul Volcker had his own links to Strong. One of these ties ran through the World Bank. Strong, while running a Canadian firm called Power Corporation of Canada in the 1960s, had hired a young Australian, James Wolfensohn, who went on to found his own investment firm, Wolfensohn Associates, where Volcker took a job in 1988 after leaving his post as Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve. In 1995, Wolfensohn, with Strong’s backing, became President of the World Bank, and promoted Volcker to take his place as chief executive of Wolfensohn Associates. At the World Bank, Wolfensohn then hired his old employer, Strong, as a special adviser. And when Volcker, nine years later, was tapped by Annan to run the UN inquiry into Oil-for-Food, it was from the World Bank, then still under Wolfensohn, that Volcker drew the initial team to set up his investigation.
Volcker for many years, and at least until 2003, also held a seat alongside Yamani senior – the father of Air Harbour’s chairman — on the advisory board of the Power Corporation where Strong, serving as president in the 1960s, had then employed Wolfensohn.
All this is just a sampling of the tangled nest of personal relationships, public-private partnerships, murky trust funds, unaudited funding conduits, and inter-woven enterprises that the modern U.N. has come to embody—and which Maurice Strong has done so much to create. Yet another potential conflict of interest involves a company called Zenon Environmental Inc., a manufacturer of water purification equipment, which in April, 2000 was registered as an approved Canadian vendor to the U.N. procurement department. Six months later, Strong joined Zenon’s board, and remained there through at least 2005, while also serving as a special adviser to Annan. Zenon was acquired last year by General Electric, and the board was dissolved.
To clean up the U.N., Ban has called for auditors to work their way through the offices and agencies of the system one by one, starting with operations in North Korea. That circuitous approach is unlikely to work. To cut to the core, the real starting point could well be for Ban to launch an investigation into the past and current career of Maurice Strong himself.
Claudia Rosett is a journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. George Russell is executive editor of FOX News.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Brazil, India like teen drivers in WTO talks - U.S.
Wednesday December 5, 02:05 AM WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
Brazil and India have pushed their way to the "big table" in world trade talks and are struggling with the responsibility that it entails, like teen-agers who have just gotten their driver's license, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said on Tuesday.
After insisting that developing countries have more say in the outcome of the negotiations, "these countries now find themselves at the big table, or in the small room or whatever description you want," Schwab told the President's Export Council in a short briefing on the 6-year-old Doha round trade talks.
"And they are discovering, with that comes responsibility and with that comes obligations. And that sometimes it's hard to be at the big table in the small room where you are also expected to contribute rather than just ask," Schwab said.
In "the advanced teen-age years there are responsibilities that come with having that driver's license," Schwab added.
Brazil and India have been at the forefront of demanding the United States and the European Union cut their agricultural farm subsidies. But the two developing country leaders have resisted rich country demands that they open their own markets to more foreign farm and manufactured goods.
There is nothing wrong with India and Brazil trying to maximize gains from the talks, but there will not be a world trade agreement if they don't provide other countries some meaningful new access to their markets, Schwab said.
That's important not only to the United States, but to many developing countries that would benefit from increased exports to Brazil and India, Schwab said.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
However it is most surprising that they would brazenly attempt to integrate these methods with traditional marketing techniques and devices that have heretofore been associated with advertising techniques of the dreaded free market.
Behavior modification has a lengthy history, as a facet of psychological science. Begun around the turn of the last century, its first practitioner was James Watson. He successfully conditioned fear into an unsuspecting child named “Little Albert”. Granted Watson accomplished much more in his career than simply terrorizing a young child. However, the Little Albert experiment simply intended to demonstrate the efficacy of Pavlov’s research in directing and guiding human behavior.
In the succeeding years, Watson was succeeded in behaviorist circles by the renowned American behaviorist, B.F. Skinner. Skinner changed the direction of the paradigm, but also was interested in applying his principles to changing and controlling human behavior. Having created the “Skinner box” to experiment with animals, he utilized the device on his own daughter as a means of further testing its effectiveness.
Later in his career, Skinner authored as book called “Beyond Freedom & Dignity”.
The text suggested a means whereby society could rid itself of all the negative human traits, by controlling the opportunity to access all the “reinforcers” which people would seek.
Loudly rejected by civil libertarians of the time, including Noam Chomsky, it advanced a brave new world in which all the reinforcers were controlled by the benevolent government, which acted in everyone’s best interest.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(2006)
UNESCO and the international community in general, believes that we need to foster – through education – the values, behavior and lifestyles required for a sustainable future. Indeed, sustainable development is not so much a destination as a process of learning how to think in terms of “forever”. Sustainable development involves learning how to make decisions that consider the long term future of the economy, ecology and equity of all communities. Building the capacity for such future-oriented thinking is a key task of education.
Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is rooted in a new vision of education, a vision that helps students better understand the world in which they live, addressing the complexity and interconnectedness of problems such as poverty, wasteful consumption, environmental degradation, urban decay, population growth, health, conflict and the violation of human rights that threaten our future.
This vision of education emphasizes a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to developing the knowledge and skills needed for a sustainable future as well as changes in values, behavior, and lifestyles. This vision requires us to reorient education systems, policies and practices in order to empower everyone, young and old, to make decisions and act in culturally appropriate and locally relevant ways to redress the problems that threaten our common future. Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future will enable teachers to plan learning experiences that empower their students to develop and evaluate alternative visions of a sustainable future and to work creatively with others to help bring their visions into effect.
...By requiring us, individually and collectively, to make difficult choices about how we live, sustainable development is an ethical and moral challenge as well as a scientific concept...Ultimately, the Decade’s goal is to integrate the values inherent in sustainable development into all aspects of learning strong>to encourage changes in attitudes and behavior that allow for a more sustainable and just society for all.
...Sustainable development means that we need to embrace the values, behaviors and lifestyles required for a sustainable future. We need to transform mentalities and visions; and be able to transform those visions into reality.
...What path can humans follow in order to achieve prosperity and sustainability? Most people believe they need only adjust and adapt to local society. This represents a basic type of diversity, whose needs are addressed through basic education covering reading, writing, math, and a rudimentary understanding of science and social behavior. However, advanced education, starting at the high school level and continuing onward, develops each person’s unique, innate abilities in order to spur progress towards a sustainable society.
...UNESCO and the international community in general, believes that we need to foster – through education – the values, behavior and lifestyles required for a sustainable future. Indeed, sustainable development is not so much a destination as a process of learning how to think in terms of “forever”. Sustainable development involves learning how to make decisions that consider the long term future of the economy, ecology and equity of all communities.
...This vision of education emphasizes a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to developing the knowledge and skills needed for a sustainable future as well as changes in values, behavior, and lifestyles. This vision requires us to reorient education systems, policies and practices in order to empower everyone, young and old, to make decisions and act in culturally appropriate and locally relevant ways to redress the problems that threaten our common future.
...What is the state of best practice in e-learning today? Today’s best practice is being shaped by mobile, ambient technology. It is changing the dynamics of how we will live, work, and learn in the future. These new experiences will shape behaviors, practices, and social groupings for knowledge sharing.
...Doing first what matters most is another way of describing priority analysis, which leads to the question of who is going to hold the most influence at the end of this decade and beyond. It will likely be people in their late twenties and thirties who will be shaping how we view business and politics in the future.
...The vision of education for sustainable development is a world where everyone has the opportunity to benefit from quality education and learn the values, behavior and lifestyles required for a sustainable future and for positive societal transformation: every world citizen must learn to contribute to a sustainable future for all humankind.
July 27, 2006NewsWithViews.com
http://www.newswithviews.com/BeritKjos/kjos61.htm"The new generation...[has] a deeper sense of solidarity as people of the planet than any generation before them.... On that rests our hope for our global neighborhood."  Report of The UN Commission on Global Governance.
"Welfare depends on the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind," Federico Mayor, then Director General of UNESCO .
During the 1996 UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), I attended a day-long "Dialogue" on the meaning of "Solidarity" at Istanbul’s elegant Ciragan Palace. Registered as a reporter, I received a list of 21 panel members. It included UNESCO's Director General Federico Mayor, the now discredited UN leader Maurice Strong, World Bank Vice President Ismail Serageldin, and Millard Fuller who founded Habitat for Humanity. Together with other globalist dignitaries, they would explore the missing factor in the old Soviet version of dialectical materialism: a spiritual foundation for an evolving global ethic.
"To speak of solidarity is to speak of things of the spirit," began Habitat Secretary-General Wally N’Dow. "For we are well aware that the future of our human settlements... is not just a matter of bricks and mortar but equally a question of attitudes and determination to work for the common good.... This spiritual dimension is the only ingredient that can bind societies together."N'Dow had chosen an American moderator who would add credibility to the discussion: Robert McNeil (of McNeil-Lehrer), "one of the gurus, the spiritual lights of the media industry today." Moments later, McNeil introduced the panel of dignitaries ready to shape the new vision of oneness.
"What’s needed is an interfaith center in every city of the globe," said James Morton, former dean of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine. "The new interfaith centers will honor the rituals of every… faith tradition: Islam, Hinduism, Jain, Christian… and provide opportunity for sacred expression needed to bind the people of the planet into a viable, meaningful, and sustainable solidarity."
...Millard Fuller, President of Habitat for Humanity, fit right into this interfaith dialogue. Like other emerging leaders in the neo-Christian movement, he redefined Scriptures to "prove" his message:
"When Jesus launched His ministry 2000 years ago, He said, 'We must repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.' In English, that sort of connotes feeling sorry for getting caught. But in the Greek, we read that what He really said was to metamorphose. Metamorphose is what a butterfly becomes when it metamorphoses out of a little fuzzy caterpillar.... Change your whole way of thinking, because the new order of the spirit is confronting and challenging you. ... The only way we will achieve human solidarity in dealing with it is to have a completely new way of thinking."
This "new way of thinking" has already permeated every segment of society: education, business, government, and the church growth movement, including Purpose-Driven churches. Pushing transformation in all these sectors are the leadership training programs that pursue the vision of management gurus such as Peter Drucker, Peter Senge, and Ken Blanchard. The core of their teaching is "general systems theory" or "systems thinking." In short, everything is interconnected, therefore all is One and all divisions and boundaries must be eliminated in order to establish the "Global Neighborhood," i.e. New World Order. Emerging Church leaders like Brian McLaren call it "The Kingdom of God."
...Let’s not forget that familiar words with strategic new meanings are likely to mislead the masses. For example, in Webster's Dictionary (1989) the familiar meaning of solidarity sounds perfectly safe: "common interest and active loyalty within a group." But contemporary change agents have infused that word with a far more revolutionary meaning. Let's take a closer look.
THE NEW SOCIAL CONTRACT
During a break, I asked moderator Robert McNeil to define solidarity for me. In his answer, he acknowledged that solidarity is strengthened by a common enemy as well as a "common good":
"It means people with shared values or responsibilities cooperating or working together. In our culture, it was probably exemplified most often by the union movement. Industrial unions often used the phrase solidarity-- 'solidarity forever.' And in the socialist movement, of course, solidarity was a very strong word -- the solidarity of the workers against the employers, their oppressor, capitalists.... whatever it was...."
"Solidarity is like a social contract, like people agreeing that this is the way it should be. Whether I am poorer or richer than you are, we somehow agree that the way it is set up works best for all of us."
What if we don't agree? Then we are vilified as divisive resisters -- excluded from the feel-good solidarity. Pastor Brian McLaren, an acknowledged leader in the Emerging Church movement, summarized it well:
"...to be truly inclusive, the [earthly] kingdom must exclude exclusive people, to be truly reconciling, the kingdom must not reconcile with those who refuse reconciliation.'"
Social contracts hold people accountable to the new standard. It pushes people toward the planned conformity, whether the society is a church, a school, or the "global neighborhood." So it didn't surprise me to hear UNESCO's Federico Mayor make the same point. "The 21st Century city will be a city of social solidarity," he said. "We have to redefine the words... [and write a new] social contract."
This evolving "social contract" has been written into every UN treaty and declaration. And former President Clinton's Executive Order 1310 helped turn that UN "contract" into US policy. It is being implemented through government policies as well as laws whether the treaties were ratified by Congress or not. [See Trading U.S. Rights for UN Rules]
This "social contract" guarantees "freedom from want," from fear, from hunger, and from offense by those who might voice contrary values. It also promises "freedom of thought and expression" -- but only to those who share the UN vision. Remember, Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "...these rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations."
Reflecting the same communitarian constraint, Ismail Serageldin, then Vice President of the World Bank, said:
"We should stop bemoaning the growth of cities. It’s going to happen and it’s a good thing, because cities are the vectors of social change and transformation. Let’s just make sure that social change and transformation are going in the right direction.... The media must act as part of the education process that counters individualism."
A cooperative media is essential to the planned change in public consciousness. As in totalitarian regimes, "voluntary" social transformation relies on effective propaganda. That's why our Education Department's Community Action Toolkit, The President's Council for Sustainable Development, and the UN's Local Agenda 21 all call for partnerships between educators and the news and entertainment media in every community. The public must be persuaded to give its consent; the people must learn to feel so uncomfortable with dissent that contrary voices would be silenced.
The masses must never notice that this manipulative process is changing their minds and actions. Since few people do notice, Professor Raymond Houghton's triumphant promise in a 1970 NEA publication is becoming an alarming reality:
"...absolute behavior control is imminent. ... The critical point of behavior control, in effect, is sneaking up on mankind without his self-conscious realization that a crisis is at hand. Man will never self-consciously know that it has happened."
This plan for "behavior control" would include three essentials steps: (1) a supportive news and entertainment media willing to disseminate politically correct information and inspire values that erode the old boundaries, (2) a management system for measuring and monitoring change, and (3) universal participation in the dialectic (consensus) process.
The latter has become the norm in US schools, corporations, government agencies, and communities. The dialectic process used to control the masses in the former Soviet Union has invaded every corner of U.S. society – even churches. The goal is to involve every human resource (human capital) in the UNESCO program of lifelong learning -- a continual process of training and immersion in the new way of thinking and relating to others.
1. Our Global Neighborhood, "UN Report of The Commission on Global Governance" (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995) at 357.
2. Forum Discusses Ways in Which To "Humanize" The City.
3. Maurice Strong didn't come to the Dialogue as scheduled.
4. I taped and transcribed this part of the "Dialogue" at the UN Conference on Human Settlements in Istanbul, 1996.
5. Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that could change everything (Nashville: Thomas Nelson's W Publishing Group, 1006), at 169-170.
6. Trading US Rights For UN Rules .
7. Raymond Houghton, To Nurture Humaneness: Commitment for the '70's (The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development of the NEA, 1970).
8. Brainwashing in America and Moulding Human Resources For The Global Workforce.
November 16, 2004
"Fifty years is ample time in which to change a world and its people almost beyond recognition. All that is required for the task are a sound knowledge of social engineering, a clear sight of the intended goal - and power." -- Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood's End.
A recent measure in Santa Cruz, California was a prime example of how the people are being manipulated at the local level through what's called 'sustainable development' being done incrementally. Measure J was defeated by the people, but it is imperative that Americans fully understand that 'sustainable development' is the blueprint for destroying liberty and private property rights. Americans should make no mistake about the seriousness of this issue and how it will affect your life. Like a giant octopus spreading its tentacles, this type of measure and similar legislation is spreading across this country like a cancer.
[See, e.g.: The Image of the UN 'LOST' Leviathan, at: http://itssdjournalunclos-lost.blogspot.com/2008/01/lost-leviathan.html ].
['Negative' Sustainable Development] can be defeated by an educated citizenry as was demonstrated by the voters in Santa Cruz on November 2, 2004.
Measure J in Santa Cruz exemplified the underpinnings of 'sustainable development' by using local laws deceptively presented, but which were in fact, mini steps in behavior modification. This statement is validated by Linda Wilshusen, who was Executive Director of the Transportation Commission from the seventies until a short time ago expressed her opinion in 1988 when she said, "This concept of 'traffic management' has very little to do with science and engineering and a lot to do with sociology, marketing and behavior modification, as well as land use, parking and fuel availability, demographics and the like."
Wilshusen wasn't the only person to let the cat out of the bag. On September 16, 2004 during a presentation on Measure J to their local Chamber of Commerce, Supervisor Ellen Pirie insisted that the HOV lane proposed was needed: “If we add this lane, then we have more possibilities, because then we have a way of getting people out of their cars.” This is behavior modification through the back door.
Sustainable development should be the subject of discussion all across America, but most people don't know what it means, how it's being implemented and that the federal government is a willing participant in destroying our Republic. While some may automatically knee-jerk over such a statement, America's continued participation in the UN and programs like UNESCO spell even further destruction of our sovereignty and standard of living. Whether it's a 'traffic control' measure or one pertaining to the environment, non-governmental organizations, the worker ants of the globalists, push ahead each day in pursuit of world wide communism disguised by various labels. All of this is being kissed and blessed by local city fathers and state governments.
In his excellent piece titled 'Social Engineering for Global Change,' Carl Teichrib further educates on the 'International Baccalaureate Organization:
"Originally, the IBO was established to provide a common educational basis for international students that would be acceptable to universities around the world. With this in mind, IBO curriculum has, for over 35 years, emphasized that its students broaden their understanding of various cultures, languages, and points of view.
"Understanding other's points of view, cultures and languages is, in itself, a noble task - it's something that I work at pursuing and instilling within my own children and in myself. But underlining IBO's philosophy is something deeper; according to George Walker, the Director General at IBO, "International education offers people a state of mind: international-mindedness. You've got to change people's thinking." Hence, "students develop an awareness of moral and ethical issues and a sense of social responsibility...fostered by examining local and global issues."
"This is not simply ambiguous language. In advancing the international-mindedness of IBO, the organization has endorsed the Earth Charter - an earth-centered declaration which venerates global political-ethical-moral and spiritual unification. Some, such as Mikhail Gorbachev, have gone so far as to compare the Earth Charter with "those 10 or 15 Commandments which we all know about...those famous testaments."
"Providing the Earth Charter initiative with advanced support, the International Baccalaureate Organization has agreed to become an Earth Charter partnership entity, along with such groups as the Association of World Citizens, Friends of the Earth, Global People's Assembly, Rain Forest Action Network, the U.S. branch of the United Nations Association, and the World Parliament of Religion.
"Furthermore, IBO Deputy Director General, Ian Hill, sits on the Earth Charter Initiative Education Advisory Committee. Going further, IBO is currently looking at ways to incorporate the Earth Charter into the following curriculum areas; Theory of Knowledge, Environmental Systems, Environmental Science, Technology and Social Change, Peace and Conflict Studies, Experimental Science, Philosophy, Geography, History, Math, and the Arts.
"None of this would be very remarkable if the IBO were a small entity stuffed somewhere in a forgotten corner of the world - but it's not. Presently, almost 1,300 schools around the globe are authorized to offer IBO programs. And in the U.S. and Canada, just under 650 schools are tied in to the IBO, with 473 in the U.S. Adding to this, the IBO is linked into a number of United Nations' functions beyond the U.N. inspired Earth Charter and UNESCO - where it holds a special consultative status. The IBO has been involved in prep work for the U.N.'s World Summit on Sustainable Development, it's involved in a number of U.N. International Schools, and the organization works with a variety of United Nations Model programs. In other words, it's an organization with considerable "social change" inroads at the international level.
"Funding for the body also reflects this global-local-global approach. During the month of October, 2003, in a monetary show of support, the U.S. Department of Education awarded the IBO a grant of $1.17 million. According to the IBO press release, these U.S. taxpayer funds were to be specifically channeled into setting up IBO programs "in six middle and high school partnerships in disadvantaged areas in Massachusetts, New York and Arizona."
Fighting back means fighting smart. I urge you to educate yourself , your family, friends, neighbors and work colleagues on this issue. As time is precious for Americans working hard each day to bring home the bacon and familial obligations, NWVs has a fine six-hour video presentation on sustainable development that will help you and everyone you know understand this issue from the inside out. This excellent series should be shown at meetings for all groups and organizations. This is an American issue that affects you, your family, our liberty and freedoms.
Order: Liberty or Sustainable Development© 2004 Paul Walter - All Rights Reserved
Paul Walter was born in socialist Yugoslavia in 1945. He and his family emigrated to America in 1959. He served 3 years in the U.S. Armed Forces and became a U.S. citizen in 1963.
US Government Behavior Modification Efforts During 1970's Deemed to Violate Individual Rights: Are the European Union and United Nations Headed There?
Published November 1974
This report responds to a directive issued to the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights to conduct an investigation into behavior modification programs, with particular emphasis on the federal government's involvement in the technology of behavior control and the implications of this involvement for individual rights.
Two basic considerations motivated the investigation: first, the concern that the rights of human subjects of behavioral research are sufficiently protected by adequate guidelines and review structures; and second, the question of whether the federal government has any business participating in programs that may alter the substance of individual freedom.
Although the material included in this report is by no means comprehensive, some initial findings are apparent: (1) there is widespread and growing interest in the development of methods designed to predict, identify, control, and modify individual behavior; (2) few measures are being taken to resolve questions of freedom, privacy, and self-determination; (3) the Federal government is heavily involved in a variety of behavior modification programs ranging from simple reinforcement techniques to psychosurgery; and (4) a number of departments and agencies fund, participate in, or sanction research involving various aspects of behavior modification.
Euro-Academic Studies How to Employ Behavior Modification to Promote Ownerless Communal Society Consistent With 'Negative' Sustainable Development
By Dainora Grundley*
Department of Business Economics and Management, Kaunas Faculty of HumanitiesVilnius University
* Author of over 100 publications on marketing, sustainable consumption, sustainable development of institutions, emotional and green marketing, marketing and consumption efforts, brand management issues, cross-cultural management and marketing, customer service and customer behaviour, logistics and supply-chain management.
Changing human behavior and existing lifestyles contributes to the vision of sustainable development, but it proves to be an insurmountable task over a short period of time. Instead, changing the design of product-service systems to reduce the behavioural pitfalls may potentially be an easier way towards sustainable development. Changing [product-service] system design requires [an] understanding [of] how consumer acceptance of more sustainable solutions is formed, influenced or changed, what the influencing factors are and what the leverage points for best results with lowest costs are. Understanding consumer perceptions and behaviour in this context is crucial.
However, the consumer decision-making process is much more complex and intricate than just a simple decision about shifting from owning a product towards paying per its use. Throughout this study, we demonstrated that products are not seen purely for their functional features, but rather products are complex combinations of various attributes, which, together with functionality, also bring status, serve as a key to a certain social class, reinforce one’s self-esteem, and much-much more.
[ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON UNITED NATIONS PRODUCT-SERVICE SYSTEMS IS AVAILABLE ON THE WWW.ITSSD.ORG WEBSITE AT:
Monday, January 21, 2008
Academics Use Psychosocial Babble to Justify Public Behavior Modification Consistent With ‘Negative’ Sustainable Development: 'Naming & Shaming' O.K.
By Tim JacksonCentre for Environmental StrategyUniversity of Surrey
“[T]here is now an intriguing body of evidence to suggest that healthy psychological and social functioning may actually be impaired by high levels of materialism (Kasser 2002). In fact, this suggestion has provided the basis for a long-standing critique of materialism that had its roots in the debate between the Stoics and Epicureans about the nature of happiness several millennia ago. This critique was renewed with some vigour in the neo-Marxist critiques of industrial society that populated the first half of the twentieth century. And the same basic idea still informs many modern green critiques today: far from being necessary to our survival, materialism threatens our environment, engenders inequality and does not even make us happy.
If this were the whole story, it would be a very happy state of affairs for sustainable consumption. Reducing material consumption would not only protect the environment it would also make us all happier. We could all live better by consuming less. Unfortunately, things are not so simple, as Sen himself has pointed out. In a passage harking back to something Adam Smith (1776) once said about the desire to live a ‘life without shame’, Sen (1998, 298) argues that:
‘To lead a life without shame, to be able to visit and entertain one’s friends, to keep track of what is going on and what others are talking about, and so on, requires a more expensive bundle of goods and services in a society that is generally richer and in which most people have, say, means of transport, affluent clothing, radios or television sets, and so on... The same absolute level of capabilities may thus have a greater relative need for incomes (and commodities).'
Sen is clearly saying something recognisable about modern consumer society: namely that in this particular society we do appear to require a more expensive bundle of goods and services in order to carry out the functions he identifies. And we could certainly at this stage agree – provided that...these functions are themselves fundamental aspects of human motivation. At the same time there is something unsatisfactory in Sen’s explanation. Or rather, it is not really an explanation at all, merely a description of a contingent state of affairs: we behave this way in rich societies, because this is what rich societies are like, Sen seems to be saying.
The clue to enabling us to get beyond this, I contend, lies in the word ‘shame’... In feeling shame, an individual is responding to a relationship between his or her individual actions and others or the expectations of others. Shame defines itself between the individual and the group. It is also, vitally, a key signifier of the boundary between meaning and anomie – a point to which I return below. This apparently innocuous appeal to ‘a life without shame’ thus points us to an absolutely vital element in the search for an understanding of unsustainable consumption: the relationship between self and other.
... A little reflection shows that shame is not unique in this sense. Pride, approval, disapproval, loyalty, envy, belonging, affection, even disaffection and hate: these are all negotiations between self and other, between the individual and their peer group. The injunction to a life without shame is one that demands that we look to our relationships with others in pursuit of healthy functioning. We are driven, in other words, towards an undeniable overlap of social and psychological functioning, and to a second key proposition in support of our understanding of consumer society.
... The self only exists in relation to social conversation. Personal identity, in other words, is an emergent property of inherently social relations. In Mead’s view this emergent self plays an essentially evolutionary role. It is there to support the cohesion of the group. And it is able to achieve this precisely because it is a result of social conversations. These social conversations aprovide the mechanism both for negotiating and for internalising (in personal identity) the values, attitudes and beliefs of the social group. At the same time, it is clear that the concept of the self also plays a key role in negotiating and perpetuating culture. Cultural norms are internalised in individuals by way of social conversations.
... The implications of this view for understanding consumer society are quite profound. In the first place, of course, it undermines key principles of modernity, such as the centrality of individuality and individual choice...[I]ndividualism is in some sense a kind of myth. Methodological individualism – which holds that it is individuals operating as more or less unilateral agents under the influence of largely free choice who determine behavioural patterns...
... Instead we must look to social processes, social conversations, interactions between self and other as being absolutely vital influences on behaviour at both individual and social level. None of this is to deny the existence of individual cognitive deliberations. But it all points to the limits of deliberative processes, and the centrality of social influence at the heart of those deliberations.
An immediate casualty of this position is the rational choice model that lies behind most economic analyses of consumer choice. The economic model suggests that people make choices on the basis of a cognitive deliberation over private costs and benefits. Provided that certain conditions hold – in particular the availability of ‘perfect’ information – then such choices are assumed to be in the best interest of the individuals (ie ‘rational’) and therefore to be robust guide to actual behaviour. The failure of the model in real life – people rarely behave as economists might wish them to – is usually attributed to either a lack of information, or else to the existence of a series of ‘hidden’ costs and benefits that act as barriers or perverse incentives at the individual level.
The policy prescriptions that flow from the rational choice model tend to be relatively few and relatively straightforward. Typically policy-makers are enjoined either to improve information flows (eg through labelling, information campaigns and so on) or else to use financial incentives and disincentives to shift the balance between individual costs and benefits to reflect the existence of hidden social costs and benefits.
The limited success of such interventions is one of the reasons for a resurgence of interest in understandings of consumer behaviour and public attitudes. From the social-psychological perspective outlined here, limited success is only to be expected. The individual is constrained in taking pro-environmental or pro-social action by a variety of important factors. In addition to the economic and physical constraints that are conventionally acknowledged, the individual must negotiate his or her own conflicting motivations...
... What I have attempted to show in this paper is that some absolutely vital social and psychological functionings are mediated through our interactions with consumer goods. To the extent that we can achieve these functionings without the use of consumer goods, it would clearly be possible to shift attitudes and behaviours away from environmentally significant consumption towards sustainability. But the complexity of the relationships between identity, goods and social functioning should warn us against any simplistic prescriptions of social change in this direction. Moreover, the extent to which vital social functionings – such as identity creation, social cohesion and the defence against anomie – are mediated through material goods in the consumer society, suggests that resistance, indeed quite violent resistance to change is to be expected.
UK Government Guides Policymakers in ‘Art’ of Public Behavior Control: Recommends Restricted Economic Freedom & Strategic Use of ‘Fear’
Number 5Understanding ChoiceSummer 2006
Defra’s 5 year strategy – (Delivering the Essentials of Life1) coupled with the UK Government sustainable development strategy (Securing the Future2) set out an ambitious agenda for environmental leadership and sustainable development. Embedding these core principles relies on influencing change and making it easier for producers and consumers to behave more sustainably. This is a sizeable task, since changing behaviours is a complex matter and innovative solutions are required.
In July 2005, Defra initiated a programme of research that aimed to broaden understanding of how Government (and others) can most effectively promote pro-environmental behaviour amongst producers and consumers.
... Producers choose to use resources in a way which may or may not be sustainable. Consumers choose to buy products which may or may not be sustainable in their use of resources. Such choices are important throughout the life span of a product, service, or utility from production, to purchase, to consumption and disposal. It is these choices which must take into account environmental pressures and sustainability issues over and above aesthetic appearance, must-have branding and basic functionality. The question therefore is how to make sustainability an automatic and primary part of producer and consumer choice, rather than a self-satisfying added extra.
... Restricting choice, constraining freedom
It is generally assumed that more choice is a good thing. However, there are many examples, within and beyond the environmental context, where behaviour change has been enforced (i.e. choice is restricted) and has subsequently led to changes in attitudes (e.g. banning smoking in public places for public health improvements).
Although behaviour change, driven by regulation, legislation and penalties can be very effective in producing results, it is often avoided as it is assumed that people want choice not legislation, and freedom not a “nanny state”.
Evidence suggests that there is a strong argument for the need to ‘kick start’ change through regulation.
...[P]eople are willing to change, but feel unable to do so. It takes a complex problem (obesity management) and shows it is not enough just to tell people what to do and how to do it. In this quote from Jane Ogden, the words ‘obesity epidemic’ could be replaced with the words climate change. It illustrates the urgency to do something:
“It would be dreadful if the obesity epidemic continued because we did too little. It would be disastrous if it continued because we feared doing too much.” (Ogden, 2005. pp.226)
... Case Study 1: The Paradox of Control in Managing Obesity Management, (Ogden, 2005).
... Non-psychological solutions to obesity management are often conceptualised as ‘letting people off’, ‘controlling’ or, horror of horrors, ‘the nanny state’. Obesity surgery is often thought of as not getting to the root of the problem and so inappropriate: choice is taken away from patients and decisions are made on their behalf. However, results of recent studies suggest that surgery not only results in dramatic weight loss, but alters the way in which people think about food: there is less preoccupation with food; people feel more in control of what and how they eat. Hence, the paradox of control. By taking choice and responsibility away from the individual through surgery, people regain the control that they had lost and achieve behaviour goals.
... A social network approach to influencing behaviour was explored in this research context to realise further the role of social networks as anchors of identity and behaviour which in turn affect decisions impacting on consumption and production.
... Provoking Emotions
The role of emotions and state of mind has been largely overlooked in research even though preliminary work suggests that ‘affect’ both positive and negative, has a powerful impact on behaviour (Kals and Maes, 2003).
Evidence suggests that sustainable behaviour can be substantially explained by moral emotions. Previous research has often focused on the role of negative emotions (such as fear) which plays part in the encouraging more positive environmental behaviour. However, recent transport research has shown that positive emotions play an important role in travel behaviour: the emotions evoked by travelling relate to people’s preference for a particular transport mode.
Case study 3 describes an experiment which evoked the emotion of fear as a basis for attitude change. It clearly shows that emotions have a part to play in encouraging sustainable consumption and production.
... Fear was confirmed as an important construct in influencing responses to information and it was concluded that negative emotion increases the extent to which information is systematically processed. The induction of fear was also influential over time. In generating fear appeal messages it should be remembered that risks associated with the environment are generally more likely to elicit low fear levels compared for example with public health issues. It is difficult to visualise a threat that is not immediately threatening in terms of personal proximity or time.
... This research has cross-cutting relevance to both the Sustainable Development Strategy (2005), and Defra’s Framework for Sustainable Consumption and Production (DEFRA 2003) as well as the work of many other Government departments, such as DTI, DfT and DCLG.
... The Choice Matters Final Report outlines an exemplar project using the example of influencing shoppers to buy locally produced food. The project is based on the approach of provoking emotions and would directly address sustainable consumption (e.g. through the reduction of air miles and supporting local food producers) and indirectly address sustainable production (e.g. through improvements to markets for British food suppliers). This project would aim to influence the general public and British food producers.
The example project suggests one application of this approach to address sustainable consumption and production. It could equally well apply to many other areas which link directly to the development of a sustainable economy, such as the purchase of other goods, the consumption of electricity and travel behaviour.
[BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION HAS ANOTHER GOAL: DISGUISED TRADE PROTECTIONISM]
The ultimate aim of the example project would be to increase the consumption of locally produced food. Underlying aims reflect the smaller goals that must be achieved in order to reach this objective. These include understanding:
• the role of positive and negative feelings and emotions in the purchase and consumption of locally produced food;
• how to make the purchase and consumption of locally produced food an instantly attractive option;
• how feelings towards the purchase and consumption of locally produced food can be evoked;
• the extent to which the purchase and consumption of locally produced food is driven by emotion rather than cognition;
• the role of emotion in automatising the purchase and consumption of locally produced food; and
• whether producers consider the role of mood and emotion during production.
1. Increased purchase and consumption of locally produced food.
2. Wider use of farmers’ markets.
3. Pressure on mass purchasing supermarkets to offer a wider and improved range of locally produced food.
4. Improved recognition of existing and/or new identifying symbols indicating food is produced in Britain (e.g. the Little Red Tractor).
5. Recommendations on the development of policies to encourage the purchase and consumption of locally produced food.
Forner UK Prime Minister Tony Blair Was Determined to Modify Public Behavior Through Claude Helvetius’ ‘Education Thru Legislation' Program
Changing behaviour through policy making
“...Achieving sustainable development will depend largely on long-term changes in behaviours of individuals, communities, firms and the public sector.
Government can play a pivotal role in changing these behaviours over time. But it has to find a way of engaging with both individuals and the public, in supporting the development of new social norms and fostering facilitating conditions in a strategic and long-term approach to behaviour change.
This paper provides a detailed discussion of the changing behaviour model which is introduced in the sustainable development strategy “Securing the future”1 [Available via http://www.sustainable-development.gov.uk/index.htm ].
... Research that was commissioned by Defra shows the scale of the challenge we face in helping people to make better choices that deliver moving towards sustainable development and a “one planet economy”.
“Information does not necessarily lead to increased awareness, and increased awareness does not necessarily lead to action. Information provision, whether through advertisements, leaflets or labelling, must be backed up by other approaches.”
Demos & Green Alliance, 2003
...There is no point asking people to change if they don’t know how – or if they know what do, but what they need to do it is not available. We need to help people make responsible choices by providing them with the education, skills and information, and by making those choices easy with easily accessible alternatives and suitable infrastructure.
...Government will look at the most effective techniques to encourage and, where necessary, enforce, behaviour change. These might include taxes or other ways of giving price signals, peer pressure, league tables, funding, or regulation. We should also consider scope for positive incentives to reward good behaviour rather than penalties.
... “Sustainable development will not just be a subject in the classroom: it will be in its bricks and mortar and the way the school uses and even generates its own power. Our students won't just be told about sustainable development, they will see and work within it: a living, learning, place in which to explore what a sustainable lifestyle means.”
Prime Minister, September 2004
Behaviour change is a process that may unfold over months, years or, in the case of the most radical behaviour shifts, decades.
UK Government Provides Guidance On Behavior Modification Techniques Used to Shape Personal Lives of UK Citizens
“We all - government, businesses, families and communities, the public sector, voluntary and community organisations - need to make different choices.
In order to evaluate and share what works best in practice, a Forum has been established across Government departments to promote and support better policymaking to deliver sustained behaviour change.
...The past 20 years have seen a growing realisation that the current model of development is unsustainable. In other words, we are living beyond our means. From the loss of biodiversity with the felling of rainforests or over fishing to the negative effect our consumption patterns are having on the environment and the climate. Our way of life is placing an increasing burden on the planet.
... Unless we start to make real progress toward reconciling these contradictions we face a future that is less certain and less secure. We need to make a decisive move toward more sustainable development. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because it is in our own long-term best interests. It offers the best hope for the future. Whether at school, in the home or at work, we all have a part to play. Our small everyday actions add up to make a big difference.
... The UK Government, Scottish Executive, Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Administration have agreed upon a set of principles that provide a basis for sustainable development policy in the UK. For a policy to be sustainable, it must respect all five principles.
In terms of focusing our efforts, the UK has identified four priority areas for immediate action, shared across the UK, these are:
Sustainable Consumption and Production
Climate Change and Energy
Natural Resource Protection and Environmental Enhancement
The UK Government also recognises that changing behaviour is a cross cutting theme closely linked to all of these priorities. In addition, Securing the Future identifies wellbeing as being at the heart of sustainable development.
UK Government Recommends Mandatory Behavior Modification Techniques to ‘Reeducate’ Consumers, Consistent With ‘Negative' Sustainable Development
... The Advisory Committee on Consumer Products and the Environment (ACCPE) provides advice on policies to reduce the environmental impacts of products and services.
...The aim of this two month  research was to identify the key sustainable development issues affecting car purchase choices and what tools could be used to address them. A key to this was to examine the scope for the end consumer to contribute to the Government’s climate change objectives....
This web-based research was undertaken to identify tools affecting consumer behaviour and transport choices. This highlighted a number of schemes and incentives that are used within the UK and throughout the world to encourage the purchase of alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) and other energy efficient vehicles and also the tools that would impact on the use of vehicles....
Throughout the course of this study it became apparent that the greatest reductions in carbon dioxide levels could be achieved though behavioural change rather than technology change. By focussing on influencing individual behaviour patterns the UK Government can reduce CO2 levels quicker and to a higher degree, rather than waiting for technology changes to penetrate the market place.
A secondary impact of this behaviour change is that when technology change occurs the general population will be in a position to assimilate these changes with limited government intervention....
The following tools were identified from the research and the stakeholder workshop, and theirpotential impacts were modelled....
Fuel efficiency standards...
Sliding scale tax on vehicles...
Congestion pricing and toll rings...
Workplace parking charge...
Fuel price increase (10%)...
Workplace travel plans...
TRAINING & AWARENESS...
[ECO-] Driver training...
Promotion of on-board technologies...
ALTERNATIVE FUEL TECHNOLOGY...
FLEET MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS...
Compulsory fleet auditing.
Sustainable Transport Organisations and NGOs:
• Transport 2000: Stephen Joseph, Denise Carlo, Carey Newson
• Friends of the Earth: Roger Higman• Environmental Transport Association: Andrew Davis
• Shell Foundation: Lee Schipper
• European Environmental Bureau: John Hontelez
• National Society for Clean Air: Tim Brown
• EPOMM UK: Kevin Scobell
UK Government Policy Makers:
• Commission for Integrated Transport: David Begg, Trevor Chinn
• Department for Transport: Mark Gaynor, Matthew Hammond, Caroline Wood
• Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution: Peter Hinchcliffe
• Energy Saving Trust: Jonathan Murray, David Lemon
• Carbon Trust: David Vincent
• Department of Trade and Industry: Ashley Roberts
• Consumer & Competition Policy Directorate: Johnathan Rees
• The Motorists Forum: David Prescott