Saturday, January 17, 2009

European/UN Environment-Centric Sustainable Development Model Calls For Behavior Modification to Achieve Communal Global Welfare State?


The following article substantiates the research performed by the ITSSD demonstrating how the Bruntland Commission notion of ‘negative’ sustainable development ( introduced to the world back in 1987 was never really intended to reflect the co-equal balancing of three related but mutually exclusive spheres - environment, social and economic. Rather, as is evidenced below, sustainable development has all along been 'framed' as a well-disguised anti-capitalist platform to promote widespread mass social ‘change’ and governance vis-a-vis individual 'changes' in human nature through subtle nuanced means – i.e., by employing little noticed academic (anthropological, sociological, psychological, philosophical and political) tools, along with religious and moral suasion, to achieve systemic behavior modification in developed countries, specifically those in the West. The stated objective is to achieve a new global utopian paradigm of WORLD GOVERNMENT directed environment-centric sustainable development.

This new paradigm would be defined by:

1) European Continental-style slow-growth ‘social’ market-based collective capitalism and 'socio-economic democracy' that is designed to replace the currently prevalent model of Anglo-American laissez-faire-based capitalism. It would, for example, impose individual earnings caps - ‘maximum allowable personal wealth’;

2) The political reorganization of global society around environmental and community concerns and moral, religious and legal obligations;

3) Global economic wealth redistribution implemented politically by newly created national socioeconomic democratic parties that ultimately unite via the creation of new and expansion of existing UN GLOBAL GOVERNANCE institutions. Such political parties will work to replace GDP (Gross Domestic Product) with some form of GDW (Gross Domestic Welfare) measure that prioritizes the quality of life and the integrity of the human habitat over economic wellbeing;

4) The creation of new broad, amorphous political and legal communal human rights, including the right to 'social and environmental justice’ and the right to ‘universal guaranteed personal income’; and

5) The willing enlistment of large global corporations (which would otherwise be subject to legal duress &/or brand reputation disparagement) as 'agents' for national government to persuade citizen-consumers to change their currently 'bad' habits.

The overarching goal is to convert homo economicus into homo solidarius.

Discerning readers must query the extent to which the thoughts and intentions expressed in the articles and papers below relate to the significant political debate that arose over competing forms of capitalism this past fall in response to the global financial crisis.

[See: Eurocrats & US Liberal Progressives Declare End of Anglo-American Capitalism & US Superpower Status: Is Euro-Style Global Socialism Next?, ITSSD Journal on Economic Freedom, at: ]

[See: Europe & United Nations Try to Cram Down US Throat Socialist Financial and Environmental Global Governance; Will Bush & Successor Swallow?, ITSSD Journal on Economic Freedom at: ].

European Development Co-operation to 2020 – The EU as an answer to global challenges?

By Sven Grimm


EDC 2020 – 7th Framework Programme

(Project funded under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities theme)

No. 1 . August 2008

The European Union (EU) is changing from an intra-European project to a global player. By default and due to its very existence, the EU has a global impact, as it is the largest economic bloc in the world and has one of the globe’s leading currencies. The question is whether Europe wants to actively shape globalisation and wants to proactively address global problems that also have repercussions on European polities. The EU is an endeavour to pool national sovereignty in order to gain political clout at the international level. Global risks and opportunities need to be managed, and the EU will be increasingly expected to act. International development is one of the important strands of the EU’s external relations, as it addresses root causes of conflict and includes work on global public goods.

Given this context, this briefing paper will outline the background for policy-making in EU development policy. During the project, EDC2020 will be going to explore three areas in more depth: (i) engaging with new actors, (ii) combining energy security, democracy and development and (iii) addressing climate change. Further work on these key topics will contribute to EU thinking and will present policy options on how to address these issues in the framework of European development co-operation to 2020.

Long live the international consensus! And beyond 2015?

Over the transition period following the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, Western donors and numerous recipient states came to an agreement on a consensus for international development co-operation. Europe actively engaged in this consensus seeking and embraced its core principles in its policies:

± international goals as enshrined in the [UNITED NATIONS] Millennium Declaration (particularly the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs), with a timeline to 2015.

± financing targets for development (Monterrey) until 2015, and

± aid delivery modes, donor harmonisation and alignment (Paris Declaration) with a timeline to 2010.

At the latest around 2015, there will have to be a stock-taking of how far the aid system has come with the instruments defined in Paris and Monterrey to reach the MDGs. If substantial progress towards the MDGs can be demonstrated, they are likely to establish themselves as the development co-operation leitmotif even beyond 2015. But the closer to 2015 the donor community comes without being able to meet a substantial part of the goals, the more this consensus will come under pressure and will be challenged. There are two scenarios for failure. The first is that the policies were right but the money or the management were not forthcoming. The second is that the world and thinking about development has changed. Can European co-operation successfully manage persistent challenges in the area of international development in a changing global environment?

Newly emerging challenges to 2020

Beyond some global progress and persistent problems in meeting the goals on the international MDG agenda in many regions (see box 1), new issues arise that will impact on global development:

± The importance of China, India and other emerging powers in the world economy and with respect to global economic growth will likely continue to increase. China and India’s combined GDP is expected to account for more than 10 % of global wealth by 2020. These new actors in international development include state as well as non-state actors – and just like the EU, they have an impact on development prospects of others, whether they like it or not. In some sectors, these emerging powers are out-competing economic actors from other developing countries and their economic rise increases pressure on global resources.

± The linkage between various goals is often complex. Energy security, democracy promotion and development, for instance, come with considerable potential for contradictory agendas. When resources become scarce and energy needs are not decreasing, it might prove even more difficult to establish a coherent vision of balancing Europe’s policy on energy security with the value-laden aspiration to foster democracy and development at the same time. Political commitments by the EU read well. Yet, self-interests might become less enlightened, after all, as the world is moving quickly and unprecedentedly into a situation of possible global energy shortages. This affects Europe and also other development actors.

± A number of global challenges may well lie beyond the framework for development, but are crucial to address in order to advance development prospects. Ecosystems are changing rapidly through human activities. Scarcity of resources, whether fresh water or arable land, in some regions is likely to increase. Environmental and consequently developmental challenges resulting from climate change will be significant. The countries least responsible for CO2 emissions, such as the least developed countries, are in fact the most affected by climate change and will require – and demand – support to cope with consequences. Scenarios that go beyond the projected rise of global temperatures up to 2 or 3 degrees are more threatening and often described as the tipping point, the collapse of entire ecosystems representing one dire potential outcome.

In brief, the international system has come under pressure. The overarching question of EDC2020 is the role for development policy in the policy mix of the multilevel system of the European Union, explored in the three thematic areas outlined above.

Challenges for international development co-operation

When discussing future challenges to international development and how Europe addresses them in its external relations, two general questions are emerging which press all European donors for clear answers:

± Which issues can and should be tackled by international development policy? Is the specialisation / compartmentalisation of aid in external policies the solution or the problem? Should development co-operation focus on the poorest countries only? What does development policy’s mandate and expertise embrace – and where should it end, leaving tasks to other experts in external relations?

Shifts in various external agendas such as security or trade policy are likely to influence development co-operation prospects. Due to the difficulty in managing competing interests, however, policy coherence for development remains a challenge.

± Who does what? The question of the international aid architecture

- Who should tackle which issues in international development? Or rather: with whom should we tackle them? More actors are entering the international arena, both state actors and private foundations, as well as an increasing number of global funds. The EU is one likely force for cohesion and donor coordination, but at the same time it is a factor in proliferation of donors. The EU continues to consist of 27+1, and future enlargements (Western Balkans, Turkey?) are likely to increase the numbers.

One set of goals and instruments for co-operation?

The delivery of aid can at best assist countries in mobilizing their efforts to address challenges. Development cooperation should thus not be regarded as the one and only silver bullet to global problems. It is somewhat like providing risk capital: aid will work in some cases and not in others. And official development assistance (ODA) is, indeed, only a tiny fraction of global financial flows, additional to private capital flows.

Developing countries are increasingly differentiating; some countries are new stars, others are starting from a completely different basis due to conflicts or failed government policies. Accordingly, donors will have to think how to differentiate goals and instruments in international co-operation. These vary across different types of countries (cf. Faust / Messner 2004), for instance:

± the poorest countries (Least Developed Countries, LDCs) with substantial capacity constraints,
± fragile or failed states, with de facto non-existent internal or external sovereignty, and
± emerging powers (the ‘BRICS’- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

With regard to goals, discussions range between e.g. poverty reduction in the LDCs, establishing basic security in fragile / failed states, and jointly managing global governance with the emerging powers. Instruments also vary: from capacity building over nation building to co-opera-tion on global issues. Hence, the policy mix towards partner countries is necessarily different from country to country.

The EU in international development over the next decade Since the beginning of the 21st century, Europe has embarked on a renewal of its development co-operation. The EU will now have to turn to new global issues and challenges in order to even just maintain its role in the world and to work for international development. The architecture of aid and modes of delivery in this fragmented system appear to be a problem. The major argument surrounding the future of EU development co-operation actually stretches beyond the scope of development cooperation as a policy area: Europe can only increase its influence at international level if it stands together.

Decisions taken now within the EU will impact on European development co-operation for the next decade or so. As one of the key decisions to be taken, the Lisbon Treaty offers a number of changes in the area of international relations that are bound to have repercussions on development co-operation. It will be important to retain a voice for development at the highest level of political decision-making. How will a possible European President position him- or herself in external relations? How will the not-so-called EU Foreign Minister fill the position? And how will development co-exist alongside or become integrated in European external policy making and possible institutional changes (namely: the External Actions Service)? Structures can facilitate or hinder certain debates – thus structures are important and solutions to the stalemate over the Lisbon Treaty will need to be sought. They will determine if the EU is capable to manage global challenges to 2020.

Specialisation of agencies is one way to keep actors in and relevant. Specialisation can be on countries / regions or on specific topics or on both, as the EU Code of Conduct for a Division of Labour of 2007 has rightly concluded. Reforms will not necessarily have to result in centralization in Brussels. It will be a key issue in the EU – and not an easy one – to make a better division of labour work amongst Member States and the Union’s institutions. This will be a crucial opportunity to reform the system from within and to achieve progress on better aid effectiveness, in order to avoid the risk of irrelevance.

Emerging powers have a strong bias for bilateral cooperation, thus co-operation schemes with some of them will become even more important. But how can these actors effectively be engaged? Options range from ‘business as usual’ over coordination / harmonisation to a greater emphasis on multilateralism. Questions remain over the appropriate forum for dialogue with these emerging powers and other actors as well as with respect to what mechanisms should be used to enhance co-operation with them. The United Nations are important to obtain global legitimacy. They are thus one suitable forum to address issues of global public goods. Other setups, like the G8, are also pointing towards a potentially increasing role of the EU as a medium for European states to retain a meaningful role at the international level and to work for the protection and / or creation of global public goods. Europe will be expected to act; global impact comes with global responsibilities.


EADI / Events / General Conference / 12th EADI General Conference / Introduction / Long version

Introduction to the Conference Topic

The writing on the wall is here to stay: Human civilisation will undermine its own foundations if we, the citizens of the Earth, do not change the course of our development paths. The limits to growth, predicted by the Club of Rome in the 1970s, are becoming only too evident. The combination of a growing population and worldwide increasing standards of living threatens to overstretch the carrying capacity of our planet at both ends: in the use of finite energy and non-renewable natural resources and in the capacity to absorb the polluting effluents of human activities. The impact of past and present carbon dioxide emissions is now felt around the world in turbulent weather conditions, melting glaciers, progressing deserts and rising sea levels. The recent update of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (February 2007) confirmed that human activities were a driver of global warming. Even the U.S. President has acknowledged, if late, that climate change needs action. Europeans have been more aware that this threat could not be met by a single country or even a group of countries alone. They are strongly committed to the Kyoto Protocol and to bringing developing countries - and the United States - into the process.

[See Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Paula J. Dobriansky, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Remarks to the Sustainable Development Forum 2008 New York City May 2, 2008, at (“Much has been said about sustainable development over these years, but more importantly, much has been done. In 2002, I went to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, which was a follow-up to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. In Johannesburg, I witnessed an important evolution: the world turned the corner from identifying the critical problems we are facing to identifying solutions… This spirit of partnership and implementation carries over into our efforts to address climate change. Armed with the recent significant findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, leaders around the world are addressing this growing challenge head on. Last December's UN Climate Conference in Bali opened a new chapter in climate diplomacy. In Bali, the United States joined the other 191 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in forging consensus on the “Bali Action Plan,” an achievable roadmap toward a new multilateral arrangement on climate change… First, in order to be both environmentally effective and economically sustainable, a post-2012 approach must include meaningful participation from all major economies. The United States will do its part. Two weeks ago, President Bush announced a new national goal of stopping the growth in our greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, and reducing emissions thereafter.”)]

If climate change is the worst - and fatal - market failure, there is a need for government action, and if the actions of individual governments do not suffice, there is an urgent need for international co-operation and effective global governance


EDC 2020 - European Development Cooperation to 2020

EDC2020 Panel at the EADI General Conference 2008

From 24-28 June 2008 the EADI General Conference "Global Governance for Sustainable Development. The need for policy coherence and new partnerships" took place in Geneva, Switzerland. 500 researchers and practitioners came together to discuss and exchange ideas in lectures, plenary and parallel sessions as well as workshops. The EDC2020 project organised a parallel session on Friday 27 June to present the project and discuss its issues and workplan.

Chair: Nadarajah Shanmugaratnam, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway


Sven Grimm, German Development Institute, Germany

John Humphrey, Institute of Development Studies, UK

Garth le Pere, Institute for Global Dialogue, South Africa

European Development Co-operation to 2020: Emerging Issues for Europe’s Development Policy-Making

Nadarajah Shanmugaratnam opened the parallel session by commenting on the background of the EDC2020 project. He highlighted challenges posed by the European structure such as the growing number of new member states to the European Union which bring in a diversity of member state policies. On the other hand, the global South is also highly differentiated and is facing dynamic processes in many countries. Emerging powers such as China, India and Brazil implement their own South-South co-operation; in many states national governance failure can be observed and underdevelopment is not overcome yet. Therefore, the questions “How to address development issues in the new complex environment” and “Which issues have to be addresses in development co-operation or international relations” remain crucial.

EDC2020 project has identified three main emerging issues which European development co-operation is facing:

1. New actors in international co-operation
2. Energy security, democracy and development
3. Climate change and development

Sven Grimm, Research Fellow at the German Development Institute (DIE)/ Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik, gave a short overview of issues and aims of the project “European Development Co-operation to 2020". In three topical work packages on emerging issues - namely New Actors in International Co-operation; Energy Security, Democracy and Development as well as Climate Change and Development - the three-year project aims at identifying different trends on the agenda for the next decade which impact on development co-operation. He referred to Charles Gore's presentation in the plenary session II “Can Economic Growth Be Reconciled with Sustainable Development? On Knife-Edge between Climate Change and Millenium Development Goals” who had identified the same topics in his presentation. Sven stressed that various dates in the next years (e.g. 2015 for the MDGs) will force us to assess our work and to see whether we failed or were successful. The project is intending to provide input for those different scenarios. Issues, chances and risks of development co-operation will be analysed and policy advise will be given in a time when a number of reforms are pending on the European level and the future of the Lisbon Treaty is uncertain. The aid architecture is facing challenges with regard to the division of labour when new actors emerge on the international scene.

John Humphrey, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), presented some thoughts about the issue of new actors in international co-operation which is one of the work packages. Within the range of new actors (new EU members, countries in the Middle East, Latin America and parts of Asia) he focused on China and India and stressed the point that they are not new in a literal sense, but that the interest towards their politics is growing. China, who is widely criticized for not being pledged to DAC criteria and governance, only accounts for 10% of trade with Africa. If taking the EU member states together the Union and the United States are still by far the biggest partners of Africa. Moreover, with regard to the exploitation of resources, China exports far less than the US. Hence, John stressed that China's commitment in Africa is less outstanding than widely assumed. Two particular issues are of interest to development co-operation:

1. There may be lessons we Europeans want to learn from Chinese projects and their poverty reduction policies
2. Chinese politics are most relevant to the production of public goods like climate protection, equity or security.

The challenge which Europeans will have to address is the way in which China and India structure their development co-operation. They raise questions for EU policies as they do not split aid from trade, investments and other policy areas. For Europe this poses the question: How do European development ministries link to ministries for international relations or trade?

Garth Le Pere, Director of the South African Institute for Global Dialogue, depicted some important trends on the global scene that according to him should be taken into account by the EDC2020 project:

1. The global increase in population
2. Global food scarcity
3. Global economy and globalisation
4. Tension between national and global governance

He stressed that little if any progress has been made on the framework for global warming, in reaching MDGs and the threat of a nuclear catastrophe. The systemic order is in a weak state after the end of the cold war where

1. Values of the UN system have been contested
2. The future of the EU is unclear
3. WTO faces the divide in the DOHA round.

During the discussion various questions were raised and constructive feedback on the project was given.

Aid should not be separated from international relations and thus development co-operation should form part of a broader agenda. The sole focus on aid might well have contributed to the poisoning of relationships between many countries. Hence, the EU-Africa strategy also states that the EU envisages a broader partnership that goes beyond the mere aid relationship.

However, this complexity of issues – the whole of international co-operation set together by many different issues - is one of the main challenges of the project which tries to address some of the issues. Due to budgetary restrictions, a choice of which issues to focus on had to be made by the consortium and other important issues like security or global governance can not be addressed in detail.

The project seeks to build scenarios on project issues to give input for policymaking. Therefore, its focus is on the question: How will a global Europe look like in 2020?.

The remark was made that so far comparative research is lacking. Therefore, it could be of interest to compare China and India to the EU and the US, as policy-makers are under the impression that China and India have a very big influence. Comparative data could give us a framework to estimate their impact and importance.

It was stated that a problem today might be, that until recently Europe did not see the two countries, China and India, as competitive actors to European policies. Now, the EU is in need of defining a new global strategy to meet the recent developments.

On the other hand, it was emphasized that the threat perception of China as an international actor is widely exaggerated. One should note that besides its own interests which China follows they have made some valuable input for Africa among others in the area of telecommunication and infrastructure. Chinese engagement allows African leaders to choose more freely what fits into their own national policies. However, it was stated that an important aspect for Chinese policies remains: China has to rethink their policy of non-interference.

An interesting comment was given saying that the EU is no monolithic actor as often being assumed, but composed of many different member states. Therefore, it is less monolithic than for example China or the US and is also less threatening to partner countries.


12 General Conference EADI

The Need for Policy Coherence and New Partnerships

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

Geneva – June 24-28, 2008

The European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) is the leading professional association and network in its field, with more than 350 institutional and individual members and partners in 29 European countries. EADI was founded in 1975 with the aim to create an adequate framework for pan-European collaboration and information exchange. Since February 2000, the Secretariat has been based in Bonn, Germany.

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), Geneva, is the result of the merger of two academic institutions specialised in international relations and development studies and benefiting from a long experience in training students from all over the world: the Graduate Institute of International Studies (HEI) and the Graduate Institute of Development Studies (IUED), established respectively in 1927 and 1961. The Institute’s mission is to provide independent and rigorous analyses of current and emerging world issues. It has a particular concern for promoting international cooperation and bringing an academic contribution to less advanced nations.

Note from the President

The 12th EADI General Conference was a great success and I would like to thank the speakers and conference participants who, through their challenging presentations, questions and debates, made it lively and stimulating. Many of the issues discussed are reflected in this report. In this short note I would like to recall some important points made in the plenary sessions and the public lectures.

The first plenary session focused on policy coherence among international organisations. The transnational nature of many of today’s challenges and the increased interdependence of countries call for a better global governance and mechanisms for distributional impact. At present a limited group of countries lays down the law. However, this industrialised core is losing its place, not only in terms of legitimacy but also because of the power shift to emerging markets (China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Russia). There is a need to democratise the global economic governance institutions if we want to secure developing countries’ and emerging powers’ cooperation on urgent global challenges.

“How to reconcile economic growth and sustainable development?” was the question asked to the panelists of the second plenary session. The shortage of environmental macro-data and statistics on long term poverty dynamics hinders the analysis. At the same time, there is a need for a more complex approach to MDGs and development issues. Until now the interpretation of MDGs has been too partial. A shift in paradigm is called for to widen the view of what wealth means and to include common goods. This implies changing the patterns of consumption and a structural change towards lower energy use at both national and international level but, first of all, thinking globally beyond the national frames of reference.

Politics is still national. Hence the necessity to mobilize people and networks to pressure political leaders. The third plenary session brought together representatives of the business community, an academic and a representative of global civil society. Beyond their diversity those panellists pointed to common problems: the difficulty to link different levels of action (the local and the global) and the difficulty to link different regions and actors.

The three public lectures touched upon topical and controversial issues. Tariq Banuri made us think of the world as a single country – Earthland – with all the characteristics of a developing country. He showed that global challenges, such as climate change, would be best solved if approached as development problems. Ndioro Ndiaye stressed the linkages between migration and development. The dialogue between countries of origin and recipient countries has improved but there is still a long way to go to find win-win solutions. Gilbert Etienne looked at the structural causes of the food crisis that stem from the neglect of agriculture over the last decades. He denounced the cacophony of current dogmas and pleaded for a more balanced approach. Jean Ziegler looked at the food crisis from the perspective of a human right – the right to food. He analysed the aggravating effects of speculation, the spread of biofuels and the structural adjustment programmes, and advocated in favour of food to be considered as a public good.

Three main conclusions can be drawn. First, unresolved or worsening development issues have invaded the agenda of international relations and domestic policies worldwide. Hence, the relevance of development research in setting today’s global policy agenda. Second, in the current period of multiple crises the need for global governance is more pressing than ever. Third, a shift in paradigm is necessary to make sustainable development possible.

Lastly, I would like to thank all EADI members for renewing my mandate as President of the association. I stood for reelection knowing that I could count on the unfailing and efficient support of the EADI Secretariat and on a team of dedicated Vice-Presidents. The next three years will be challenging but also exciting. The current crises and dysfunctioning that affect the world system have shaken many assumptions. We have reached the turning point I mentioned in the text below, written three years ago:

“My vision is that both development studies and EADI have a promising future, on the basis of their interdisciplinary legacy since half a century, development studies will play again a crucial role when our humanity will shift away from the present day excesses of globalization, which predominately subordinates the well-being of society to the needs of the economy. Then it will be largely left to our field of specialization to find a more reasonable pace for economic and social change, as well as to help implementing a global development model for our planet that can be both socially equitable and ecologically sustainable.”

A window of opportunity has opened up for development specialists to make their voice heard. Let EADI be equal to it.

Jean-Luc Maurer
President of EADI
Professor, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

Opening Session


Jean-Dominique Vassalli, Rector, University of Geneva
Ambassador Jürg Streuli, Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations Office in Geneva
Jacques Forster, Vice-President, Board of the Foundation for International and Development Studies, Geneva
Jean-Luc Maurer, President of EADI, Professor at the Graduate Institute, Geneva
Chair: Jürgen Wiemann, EADI Vice-President, Deputy Director, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik

Professor Vassalli

As a researcher in biology of development, Professor Vassalli gives great importance to sustainable development. He is convinced that if humanity does not change the course of its development it will exceed the carrying capacities of planet Earth. The poor and the disadvantaged will suffer most and this cannot be allowed. A system of global governance is needed. The concept of sustainable development is a noble concept but concrete actions seem to be slow to come. We need a radical change, we need to break the direction that our development has taken. Geneva is an appropriate venue to reflect on Global Governance for Sustainable Development.

Geneva has been the cradle of radical changes: the Reformation with Calvin, 450 years ago, the foundation of the Red Cross with Henri Dunant and the creation of the World Wide Web at CERN in the Canton of Geneva.

Geneva is also a place of dialogue. It is the EU regional headquarters of the United Nations and numerous international organisations. Every year, Geneva host more international meetings than any other place in the world.

Finally, Professor Vassalli recalled that Universities and research institutes have a major role to play in helping radical changes to be carried out, especially comprehensive universities that shelter a diversity of competences. Regarding sustainable development it is particularly important to integrate all concerned areas: hard sciences, life sciences, social sciences, etc. All are found at the University of Geneva and the University works in close partnership with the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.

Ambassador Streuli

On behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Madame Calmy-Rey, Ambassador Streuli welcomed the participants to the EADI conference. He said that the choice of Geneva as conference venue is most appropriate to discuss international cooperation. Geneva hosts five competence centres: peace, security and desarmament; humanitarian affairs and human rights; health; labour, economy and trade; and sustainable development and conservation of natural resources.

Interdependence is what characterises the relations between countries today. The network of complex interactions generates risks difficult to forecast. A reshuffle of international politics and transnational cooperation is needed. Ambassador Streuli thought that Einstein’s remark that a problem could not be solved by the way of thinking that created it, applied very well to the theme of the EADI conference.

A quarter of human beings consume three quarters of the resources of planet Earth. This unequal distribution fuels fights over oil, water and fertile land. The last IPCC report shows the harmful effects of our consumption patterns. The consequences of global warming hit poor countries harder while they have contributed to it less. If the North countries want to preserve peace they have to change their consumption patterns. Those fundamental questions place equity between and within countries at the top of political concerns.

The EADI conference offers an opportunity to discuss a long term vision, understand correlations, review current thinking and develop new ideas. To answer the imperatives of sustainable development we need creative thinking and innovative policies. The good news is that some solutions already exist and could be implemented straight away. But a single country cannot overcome the foretold crisis alone. Governments as well as people have to learn to think beyond their own borders. Solutions to and responsibility for global problems are international. A major task will be to democratise international regulations and institutions.

Jacques Forster

The Board of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies was honoured and happy to co-host the 12th EADI General Conference and on its behalf Jacques Forster welcomed the participants. He explained that the Graduate Institute was a newly created institution that brought together two well known institutes, the Graduate Institute of Development Studies (IUED) and the Graduate Institute of International Studies (IUHEI). IUED had been closely associated with EADI since the founding of the association. Jacques Forster himself had been member of the EADI Executive Committee and member of the working group on Aid Policy and Performance for a number of years.

The title and subtitle of the conference encapsulate in a few words what Jacques Forster considered to be the main item on the agenda of the international community. It represents a key meeting point for two areas of studies, international and development studies, that perhaps did not interact as intensively as what was taking place in society would have warranted.

The dichotomy between the developing world and developed countries, relatively clear half a century ago, has been replaced by a more complex constellation. The group of so called developing countries has become increasingly heterogenous while rich countries (OECD) are faced with development problems. Nowadays all regions of the world are faced with development problems and sustainability is a universally relevant key concept.

The field of international relations has also significantly evolved. Globalization is a phenomenon that goes well beyond economic integration, it encompasses social, political, cultural, environmental and legal dimensions. External influences, external norms affect the everyday life of citizens of a nation state, blurring the line between domestic and foreign policy. The transformations taking place in international relations are also characterised by the growing diversity of international actors besides states and international organisations. NGOs and the corporate world have become necessary partners. Global governance is a momentous challenge on the agenda of a very heterogenous international community marked by deep structural disparities, numerous conflicts and diverging priorities.

The theme of the conference is right at the crossroads of the academic fields of international and development studies. As representative of a new academic institution that has chosen to link the two fields of studies, Jacques Forster welcomed the EADI conference to Geneva.

Jean-Luc Maurer

Jean-Luc Maurer welcomed the participants to the conference and gave an overview of the conference programme. He thanked people who contributed to the organisation of the conférence: Thomas Lawo and Susanne Itter and their team from the EADI Secretariat, Janine Rodgers from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Anouar Belkhodja and Nicole Gilodi from the congress organising firm Axécible.

Thanks were also addressed to the institutions that sponsored the conference:

the French Development Agency, the Finnish Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Institute of Social and Economic Development of Paris (IEDES), the Institute of Social Studies of The Hague (ISS), the Advanced Studies Programme of the University of Geneva (Formation Continue), the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), Taylor & Francis and the Canton of Geneva. Special thanks were addressed to the University of Geneva for putting its premises at EADI’s disposal. Three fifths of the conference budget had been provided by the Federal Departement of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland through its division of Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC). Thanks were addressed to Ambassador Walter Fust, former director of the SDC and now CEO of the Global Humanitarian Forum, Serge Chapatte, the former Vice-Director, and their colleague Martin Faesler.

Lastly, the Graduate Institute, Geneva, being the host institute deserved a special mention for its support to EADI. However, for EADI it was very satisfactory that the first major Institute’s international event was a conference on development because, as shown by Tariq Banuri, development studies are more relevant than ever to understand and solve current world problems. Jean-luc Maurer concluded by asking the conference participants to think seriously about two challenging proposals: Tariq Banuri’s proposal to view the world as a single developing countries and Rector Vassalli’s notion of radical change.

Report by Janine Rodgers,
Graduate Institute, Geneva

…III. Mobilizing networks to strengthen global governance: Research community, civil society and business communities

…Plenary Sessions

Christophe Dunand, local actor and activist [Chambre de l’économie sociale et solidaire de Genève, and Réalise, Geneva, Switzerland], presented the Chamber of Social and Solidarity Economy of Geneva, a local initiative all the more interesting since it came from the North. The mission of the Chamber is to promote, encourage and help enterprises of the social and solidarity economy. Funded in 2004 it comprises already 200 enterprises active in all sectors of activities and employing between 6 and 9% of the Canton wage earners. The social and solidarity economy (the third economic sector beside the public sector and the profit-making private sector) creates utility and employment and is primarily characteristized by its practices. What are the values and principles of its entreprises?

• Their main goal is not to create profits but to serve the community
• Continous economic activity
• Paid employees
• Coherence between values and practice
• Democratic self management
• Long terme commitment to sustainable development
• Limited environmental impact

Their legal status is diverse: cooperative, association, foundation, non-profit making limited liability company.

The aim is to promote sustainable modes of functioning and consumption among individuals and communities, and develop a social and solidarity market through fair practices at the local and global level. Networking with likewise organisations is needed to influence regional and global governance towards sustainable development and coordination with national, regional or worldwide similar initiatives remain a challenge.


The Sustainable Development Paradox

The E-Journal of Solidarity, Sustainability, and Nonviolence

Vol. 5, No. 1, Rev. 1, January 2009

Luis T. Gutierrez, Editor


The paradoxical nature of sustainable development is already discernible in the Brundlandt Commission Report (Chapter 2, Section 1, Item 15), United Nations, 1987: "In essence, sustainable development is a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations."

It is in balancing the social, economic, and environmental dimensions that all dimensions of the process come into play. As part of the series on "dimensions of sustainable development," this issue is a reality check on the feasibility of integrating all the dimensions using the current paradigms in the social, economic, and environmental sciences. The twelve monthly issues during 2008 provide evidence that such integration should take place in the collective social mindset ("collective unconscious"), and this can happen only after it has taken root in the individual hearts and minds of human beings.

All the evidence collected thus far strongly indicates that, as long as the current paradigm of economic development (money is the one thing that really matters) remains normative, or as long as the current paradigm of social behavior (male domination, also known as patriarchy), or as long as the current paradigm in environmental management (use and abuse of natural resources) remains normative, attempting such an integration is an exercise in futility. To make the integration feasible, homo economicus must become homo solidarius.

The invited paper this month is The Cult of the Patriarch by Glenda P. Simms, a Jamaican educational psychologist. It is a concrete example, in time and space, that the patriarchal social system is incapable of taking human development beyond a certain point. This example is replicated in all cultures and all phases of human history. Therefore, thinking inductively, it is legitimate to conclude that the patriarchal paradigm is intrinsically perverse and must be overcome. The same line of reasoning applies to the current economic development paradigm and the current environmental management paradigm. [i.e., THE CURRENT ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT PARADIGMS ARE INTRINSICALLY PERVERSE AND MUST BE OVERCOME].

Just as oil and water don't mix, the prevalent socioeconomic and socioecological paradigms don't mix. And they don't mix at any place or any level, for they are rooted in a conception of humanity that has become obsolete. The conclusion is that the sustainable development paradox is not to be resolved by mixing mutually incompatible paradigms, but by the advent of new paradigms (first in the human sciences, and then in the social, economic, and environmental sciences) that are mutually compatible and amenable to integration.

1. Dimensions of Sustainable Development

At this point in the current series on Dimensions of Sustainable Development, let us interrupt momentarily the analyses of single dimensions to reassess how the various dimensions fit into the "big picture." The reader may want to take a quick look at the themes and outlines for the twelve issues of 2008 and notice the year long focus on the basics of human and social behavior.

A classical visualization of sustainable development dimensions is a Venn diagram in which social, economic, and environmental factors overlap so as to produce a system that is sustainable in that it is socially bearable, economically equitable, and environmentally viable:

Figure 1. Basic Sustainable Development Dimensions Source: Wikipedia - Sustainable Development

This diagram is conceptually reasonable at the highest level of aggregation. Social, economic, and environmental systems have a life of their own, and even more so the intersection of the three systems. However, the behavior of the total system is not independent of human behavior, either individually or collectively. Furthermore, careful examination of the sustainable development process at lower levels of analysis reveals that there are many other dimensions that contribute to sustainable development. In fact, it is hard to find a knowledge domain that has nothing to do with sustainable development. The reason is the increasingly tight coupling between human behavior and the human habitat. The mission of the recently created International Network of Research on Coupled Human and Natural Systems (CHANS-Net) is to foster collaborative interdisciplinary research pursuant to improved understanding Complexity of Coupled Human and Natural Systems:

"Integrated studies of coupled human and natural systems reveal new and complex patterns and processes not evident when studied by social or natural scientists separately. Synthesis of six case studies from around the world shows that couplings between human and natural systems vary across space, time, and organizational units. They also exhibit nonlinear dynamics with thresholds, reciprocal feedback loops, time lags, resilience, heterogeneity, and surprises. Furthermore, past couplings have legacy effects on present conditions and future possibilities."Jianguo Liu et al., Science, Vol. 317, No. 5844, pp. 1513-1516, 14 September 2007.

Understanding this complexity is required for improved management of the sustainable development process. Sociologists, economists, and environmentalists need inputs from anthropologists, political scientists, social psychologists, theologians, philosophers, the physical sciences, the life sciences, and many other disciplines. This knowledge integration is indispensable to understand the counterintuitive behavior of social systems; behavior that is, in the ultimate analysis, rooted in human behavior.

2. The Sustainable Development Paradox

Sustainable development, as the name implies, requires development that is sustainable in the sense that it can unfold in harmony with the human habitat. The paradoxical nature of this process is already discernible in the Brundlandt Commission Report (Chapter 2, Section 1, Item 15), United Nations, 1987:

"In essence, sustainable development is a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations."

A very appealing and conceptually clear summary and visualization of this paradox was provided in 1999 by Willard R. Fey and Ann C.W. Lam, who refer to it as the ecocosm paradox:

"The ecocosm paradox is the set of dilemmas that arise from the compound hyper-exponential growth of annual world human consumption. The two main characteristics of the ecocosm paradox are:

· If human consumption growth continues, the planetary life support system will be disabled and humanity will itself become endangered.
· If consumption growth is stopped, the viability of the world's economic and financial systems will be threatened, and the stability of governments and society will deteriorate.

This paradox is best represented by a diagram showing the major system feedback loops that perpetuate it."

In a recent open letter, Bill Powers, developer of the Perceptual Control Theory (PCT), describes the paradoxical choice between development and sustainability as follows:

Excerpt of Open Letter from Bill Powers, 5 December 2008

"This is a letter that needs to be conveyed to as many people who make economic decisions as possible. OUR ECONOMIC SYSTEM CONTAINS DESTABILIZING FEEDBACK LOOPS THAT CAN DESTROY IT. WE NEED TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO REMOVE THEM AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. This is a true time bomb. It is perfectly obvious, and it is to my shame and that of everyone who understands the dynamics of control systems that it was not noticed, publicized, and corrected long ago. It is very simple and we are watching it operate every day that this recession deepens.

"Its cause is some set of policies or principles that are thought to be necessary to maintain the viability of a business, but which, when generally adopted, have the effect of exaggerating swings in the market and, if widespread enough, throw the market into a state of dynamic instability that feeds on itself. Increases in market activity cause a piling-on effect which drive the increases even further and induce more frenzied market activity. The same underlying relationships work the other way, too: when the market peaks and starts downward, this cause the enthusiasm to wane and the market activity to slow down, and the slowdown causes an even more dampening effect, which makes the slowdown accelerate.

"Whichever way the market tends to change, the change is exaggerated by this feedback effect. The initial result when the amount of feedback is small is that the economy displays "boom-and-bust" cycles of relatively small amplitude, which die out after a time. When the degree of this effect becomes large enough, the swings start to get larger and can enter a region in which a runaway effect occurs. Then the only way to stop the growing oscillations is for something in the system to be damaged enough to reduce the feedback effect below the fatal threshold of sensitivity." For the complete text of the letter, visit the CSGNET LISTSERV.

Bill Power's letter is a timely contribution to increase awareness about the increasingly increasing urgency of reformulating social and economic development in an environmentally sustainable way. A limitation of his letter, however, is that consideration is given only to feedback dynamics generated within the economic sector, and no consideration is given to the web of feedback loops that tie the economic, environmental, and social sectors together.

3. Dynamics of Human & Social Behavior

During the last century or so, most of the development work has been focused on economic growth, i.e., the economic subset in Figure 1. In recent years, the planet has started giving some signs of stress, such as climate changes; and we are barely beginning to pay some attention to the environment subset (better late than never). The social subset, however, has received attention only to the extent that it might have some financial impact. The question then arises as to whether or not humans can adjust their individual and social behavior to avoid further environmental deterioration and ensure a future of socio-economic justice for humanity; and the answer is a cautious "yes." In the words of the Economics for Equity and the Environment (E3) Network:

"The wealth and power of humanity in the 21st century could be used to create a far better world. We are economists who are troubled by environmental and social injustice, by the wide and growing inequality of wealth and income in America and in the world, and by the harmful impacts of the globalized economy on the natural ecosystems that surround and support human activity. In order to change what is wrong with the economy, we must change what is wrong with economics as it is currently taught and practiced. Economics for Equity and the Environment (E3) promotes a vision of an engaged, practical economics, in which an understanding of social equity and environmental protection cannot be separated." E3 Network, 2007.

Consumerist human behavior is the primary cause of both the current financial crisis and the current environmental crisis. It is the fundamental cause of the current financial meltdown, because the desire for profit maximization in the short-term -- sometimes exacerbated by the desire to have a free lunch whenever possible -- has been more powerful than the desire for acting with social and environmental responsibility. When human behavior is driven by short-term gain and the desire for instant gratification, any consideration of environmental stewardship becomes irrelevant. And it is easy to rationalize consumerist behavior, for there is always the hope (delusion?) that some technological breakthrough will come to the rescue and "fix" the consequences of financial speculation and environmental abuse.

"Current concern over global climate change stems, in part, from the predominant evidence that its causes are anthropogenic: the result of human behavior. What is less widely recognized is that the solutions are also rooted in human behavior. Instead, the first and most common response from the public and policymakers alike is to look to technology to provide the answers. And, when available technologies aren’t adopted, we look to the field of economics to explain why not. This simplistic “techno-economic” approach is insufficient for solving complex environmental problems that are rooted in equally complex social structures and that involve multi-dimensional behavioral elements that extend beyond the realm of economics."

"Effective solutions must draw on a broader understanding of social systems and human behavior. This knowledge, when used in conjunction with economic insights, can help by: 1) ensuring the development of appropriate technologies, 2) increasing the adoption of existing technologies, 3) improving the effectiveness of economic policies and forecasts, and 4) identifying noneconomic mechanisms for catalyzing the types of social change required to reduce CO2 emissions and moderate climate change. Therefore, the question that economists must ask is: How can a more holistic understanding of the drivers of human behavior inform global climate change models and policy?"
Changing Human Behavior to Reduce Climate Change: Moving Beyond the Techno-Economic Model, Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), E3 Network, 2007.

Since human behavior is the cause of the problem, and human beings are rational creatures ("homo sapiens sapiens"), it follows that behavior modification is feasible. Easier said than done, but not impossible. The first step is to recognize the multi-dimensional nature of the sustainable development paradox. The second step is to seek a new paradigm that, while still including technological and economic factors, gives top priority to the social and behavioral factors that generate the dynamics of the sustainable development paradox:

Social scientific research has succeeded in identifying and measuring some of the important social dimensions of energy use and conservation that are not captured by the techno-economic model and in suggesting alternative frameworks that provide a more realistic and accurate picture of the relationship between energy consumption, information, incentives and disincentives, and a variety of social influences and structures that channel human behavior. Additional work is needed to assess the breadth and nuances of the research that has been completed, as well as to identify knowledge gaps and promising areas of future research. Only through a more comprehensive understanding of the non-economic variables that shape social preferences will it be possible to effectively catalyze the level of social change required to reduce energy consumption and forestall global climate change." Changing Human Behavior to Reduce Climate Change: Moving Beyond the Techno-Economic Model, Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), E3 Network, 2007.

Actually, there are several sets of complex interactions that must be better understood:

 The impact of social preferences on economic choices (and vice versa).
 The impact of social preferences on environmental changes (and vice versa).
 The impact of economic choices on social preferences (and vice versa).
 The impact of economic choices on the environment (and vice versa).
 The impact of environmental changes on social preferences (and vice versa).
 The impact of environmental changes on economic choices (and vice versa).
 All the above concurrently and dynamically over time.
 All the above plus many more we have yet to discover.

Conceptually, Figure 1 becomes something like this:

Within the economic sector, the relevant feedback loops might look, for example, like Valentino Viana's model of a macroeconomic system. Similar feedback loop diagrams could be postulated separately for the social and environmental sectors. But what about feedback loops that cross sector boundaries?

Analyses of social preferences and economic choices require inputs from all the living human sciences. Analysis of environmental changes requires inputs from all the living non-human and physical sciences. It follows that analysis of loops that cross the boundaries require inputs from all the sciences. At this level of complexity it has long been noted that new modes of dynamic behavior emerge that cannot be explained by the interaction of factors within each of the basic social, economic, environmental dimensions. Rather, they emerge from the interaction of many social factors with many economic factors and many environmental factors. Furthermore, as Jay Forrester has pointed out, these emerging modes of behavior are often counterintuitive. This means that "tweaking" the system here and there may induce no change in dynamics behavior (this is what happens most often), or induce behavior that is better, or induce behavior that is worse. Highly complex systems are generally insensitive to "tweaking," and "tweaking" may actually be counterproductive. A new, GREEN socio-economic and democratic paradigm may be needed.

4. Renewable & Nonrenewable Resources

It is well known that natural resources can be either renewable or non-renewable. Not so well known is the fact that renewable resources can become non-renewable if the rate of utilization exceeds the capacity of the planet to recycle them. Therefore, excessive consumption can lead to limits in the availability of both renewable and non-renewable resources, and consumption itself can become unsustainable.

"Asserting that "current global consumption patterns are unsustainable," and that "efficiency gains and technological advances alone will not be sufficient to bring global consumption to a sustainable level," a recent report issued by the Business Role Focus Area of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) calls on business to work in partnership with its customers and stakeholders to define sustainable products and sustainable lifestyles. The report, entitled Sustainable Consumption Facts and Trends: From a Business Perspective, observes that global consumption levels are increasing due to such factors as rapid population growth, a rise in global affluence, and a culture of consumerism among higher-income groups." Source: Report Warns of Unsustainable Consumption, Robert Kropp, Social Funds, 24 December 2008.

Basically, this means that wasteful lifestyles will have to change. There is an increasing awareness of this, but the number of people who have actually changed their consumption habits remains minimal. It is not simply a matter of greed or gluttony. Complex social and psychological factors play a role in inducing this "resistance to change."

"The WBCSD report finds that consumers are increasingly concerned about environmental, social and economic issues, but because of a variety of factors such concerns do not always translate into sustainable consumer behavior. The WBCSD calls on business to encourage sustainable consumption by developing products and services that maximize social value and minimizing environmental cost, by marketing campaigns that enable consumers to choose and use products more sustainably, and by removing unsustainable products and services from the marketplace." Source: Report Warns of Unsustainable Consumption , Robert Kropp, Social Funds, 24 December 2008.

It would be unfair to blame the business community for the entire mess. Surely, profit maximization in the short-term is part of the problem. But profit maximization at the expense of sustainability would not remain popular if consumers learn to become less responsive to advertising and more discerning in choosing suppliers that are both socially and environmentally responsible. Thus the practical importance of quality management standards like ISO-9000 and environmental management standards like ISO-14000.

Secular and religious leaders also have a decisive role to play. Even in the absence of corruption, it is hard to find politicians willing to tell their constituents that the common good requires them to change their consumption habits. And this applies to religious leaders as well. The practice of building expensive churches, mosques, and synagogues, as well as other luxurious religious buildings, is becoming part of the problem. If political and religious leaders remain addicted to wealth accumulation and excessive consumption, why should we expect the general public to do otherwise?

5. Money as the Driver of Human Behavior

That money is a primary driver of human behavior is well known. Money itself is morally neutral; it is how we obtain it and how we use it that really makes a difference. The idolatry of money usually correlates with selfishness. But money can be used in socially positive ways and for the common good. If so, recent research seems to indicate that money is not only a driver of human behavior but also a factor that contributes to inner peace and happiness.

"Money has been said to change people's motivation (mainly for the better) and their behavior toward others (mainly for the worse). The results of nine experiments suggest that money brings about a self-sufficient orientation in which people prefer to be free of dependency and dependents. Reminders of money, relative to nonmoney reminders, led to reduced requests for help and reduced helpfulness toward others. Relative to participants primed with neutral concepts, participants primed with money preferred to play alone, work alone, and put more physical distance between themselves and a new acquaintance." The Psychological Consequences of Money, by Kathleen D. Vohs, Nicole L. Mead, Miranda R. Goode. Science, Vol. 314. no. 5802, pp. 1154 - 1156, 17 November 2006.

See also Money Is Material, by Carole B. Burgoyne and Stephen E. G. Lea. Science, Vol. 314. no. 5802, pp. 1091 - 1092, 17 November 2006. Summary: "The psychology of money is now being studied experimentally. Even thinking about money changes behavior in reliable ways." But the following conclusion is the most interesting:

"Although much research has examined the effect of income on happiness, we suggest that how people spend their money may be at least as important as how much money they earn. Specifically, we hypothesized that spending money on other people may have a more positive impact on happiness than spending money on oneself. Providing converging evidence for this hypothesis, we found that spending more of one's income on others predicted greater happiness both cross-sectionally (in a nationally representative survey study) and longitudinally (in a field study of windfall spending). Finally, participants who were randomly assigned to spend money on others experienced greater happiness than those assigned to spend money on themselves." Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness, by Elizabeth W. Dunn, Lara B. Aknin, and Michael I. Norton. Science, Vol. 319. no. 5870, pp. 1687 - 1688, 21 March 2008.

This insight encapsulates one possible way to resolve the sustainable development paradox. The emerging empirical evidence confirms ancient religious wisdom (for example, in the Bible, see Acts 20:35:

"it is better to give than to receive") and contradicts the notion that further economic growth is incompatible with sustainable development. Growth per se is not unsustainable. It is the misuse of growth and wealth accumulation that is unsustainable; either because the growth is not managed for conservation of renewable and non-renewable resources, or because it fails to reverse the cycle of violence and the cycle or poverty, or both. In particular, the failure to reverse the trend toward the richer becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer is a sure sign that something is wrong. In fact, the effects of growth driven by selfish consumerism are measurable and clearly visible: "Resources tend to flow from the poor to the rich. Pollution tends to flow from the rich to the poor." (Vandana Shiva in Raoul Weiler's "No Limits to Knowledge, but Limits to Poverty: Towards a Sustainable Knowledge Society," WSSD, Johannesburg, 2002, page 28)

In brief, the sustainable development paradox is not an insurmountable dilemma. It is a matter of managing growth in order to meet the basic needs of all human beings, now and in the future. The sustainable development paradox can be resolved if growth is managed to attain both social and environmental justice. This is "simple, but not easy." It will require significant revision of current paradigms in the social, economic, and political sciences.

6. Need for Socioeconomic Human Development

A radical change is needed in the concept of economic development. We had grown accustomed to thinking about economic development in terms of economic growth, with economic growth being measured by increasing value of GDP and other measures of wealth accumulation. But research in the social sciences has shown that more is not necessarily better, and more is often worse. The central issue is (surprise!) conspicuous consumption.

The term conspicuous consumption was coined by Thorstein Bunde Veblen in his book The Theory of the Leisure Class, published in 1899 (yes, 1899). More recently, many scholars and activists have expressed the same concern with increasing urgency:

The Current Trend Of Excessive Consumption Is Creating A Consumer Culture That Values Quantity Above Quality, by Ralph Nader, CommonDream News Center, 2000.
Are We Consuming Too Much?, by Kenneth Arrow et al, Stanford University, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 18 no. 3, page(s) 147-172, Summer 2004.
The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, by Barry Schwartz, HarperCollins, 2004 (Google Book)
Consumption: It is Time for Economists and Scientists to Talk, by Betsy Taylor, Journal of Industrial Ecology, Volume 9, Number 1-2, pp. 14-17, 2005.

Taylor, writing years before the current financial crisis, offers a hopeful perspective that the transition to a new mindset of consumption moderation is already underway: "Although economists, elected officials, and far too many traditional environmentalists refuse to examine the inexorable links between consumption and ecological problems, an economic and cultural transformation in consumption and production has already begun. ... A new economic model is emerging, but it could be sped on by academics doing holistic research projects with greater practical application. The new path must be supported by elected officials, economists, and private sector leaders willing to face the conundrum of our times: that increased consumption is literally bringing our biological home into ruin and yet, without consumption, millions fear for their security. It is time for economists and scientists to talk. Fortunately, despite the taboo on dialogue about a revamped economy, there are many business leaders, local elected officials, consumer activists, and others quietly modeling and championing the new way."

The following are selected indices that attempt to show the effect of excessive consumption and combine consumption with other quality of life indicators:

 The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) developed by Redefining Progress.
 The Human Development Index (HDI) of the UNDP.
 The Social Development Indicators - Measuring Human Well-being research program at UNU-WIDER.
The Wellbeing of Nations: A Country-By-Country Index Of Quality Of Life And The Environment, by Robert Prescott-Allen.
 The Population, Health and Human Well-being variables at the World Resources Institute (WRI).
 The Spiritual Capital Research Program of Metanexus Institute.
The Globalization of Human Well-Being, by Indur M. Goklany, Cato Institute.
Combining Social, Economic and Environmental Indicators to Measure Sustainable Human Well-Being, by Alex C. Michalos, Social Indicators Research.
Social Indicators Research Centre (ZSi) at the Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences.
Gross Domestic Welfare, Takashi Kiuchi, Big Picture TV, 2006. See also Integrating Economic and Ecological Indicators, by J. Walter Milon and Jason F. Shogren, Greenwood, 1995, page 172.
Towards a Socio-Economic Paradigm, Amitai Etzioni, in "Advancing Socio-Economics: An Institutionalist Perspective ed. J. Rogers Hollingsworth, Karl H. Muller and Ellen Jane Hollingsworth Rowman and Littlefield, 2002, pages 37-49.
Sustainable Society Index, Geurt van de Kerk and Arthur R. Manuel, Encyclopedia of the Earth, 29 December 2008. Note: This article provides a comprehensive review of socioeconomic sustainability indicators. See also the Sustainable Society Index web site.

All the indicators point in the same direction: economic factors alone are insufficient as measures of progress. Economic factors must be combined with social and environmental factors in order to become meaningful measures of progress. In the social dimension, the bottom line is human development: the opportunity for people to develop physically, psychologically, and spiritually so that, by homo economicus becoming homo solidarius, they can in turn work for themselves, their families, and the common good, and contribute to socioeconomic development with social and environmental justice. This, however, is practically impossible without the support of a political system in which socioeconomic (as opposed to only economic) goals pursuant to human development are the standard basis for government policy.

7. Need for Sociopolitical Human Development

In a recent article, Professor Soodursun Jugessur of the University of Mauritius suggests that it is time to replace GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by some form of GDW (Gross Domestic Welfare) measure that takes into account the quality of life and the integrity of the human habitat:

"Our development has been marked by our mastery of science and technology (S&T) that have been the primary tools for changing our lives and ensuring basic needs. As tools, S&T are neutral. It is up to us to decide on what type of tools we develop, and what use we make of them. S&T on their own are ineffective. It is the economic, social and political visions that dictate their development and use. Unless we have sound economic, social and political orientations, we are likely to fall into a trap of inappropriate development, and soon destroy ourselves, and our planet. We need changes in our economic and social policies and a new vision for political development at the global level." A New Development Paradigm, Soodursun Jugessur, Mauritius Times, 26 December 2008.

In the previous section, an overview is given of new socioeconomic paradigms. What about new sociopolitical paradigms? Some are beginning to emerge:

A Democratic Paradigm, Anders Sandberg, 1991.
The Future of the Universe and the Future of Our Civilization, by V. Burdyuzha and G. Kohzin, World Scientific, 2000, page 24.
Middle Eastern "Democratic" Paradigm in the 21st. Century, Davood N. Rahni, Pace University, 2003.
A democratic paradigm must take shape, Sadeq Jawad Sulaiman, 2005.
Elites and Regimes in Comparative Perspective: Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia, William Case, University of New South Wales, Australia, 2005.
21st century post-modern global paradigm, Dhirendra Sharma, Philosophy and Social Action, Vol. 31 No.1 Jan-March 2005.
Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth, Kevin Barrett and Faiz Khan, MUJCA-NET. Note: "MUJCA-NET is a group of scholars, religious leaders and activists dedicated to uniting members of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic faiths in pursuit of 9/11 truth. We choose to respond grounded in love rather than fear and will not be indifferent to those who have suffered from policies based on unlikely explanations of 9/11."
Toward a Bioregional State: Political Theory and Formal Institutional Design in the Era of Sustainability, Mark D. Whitaker, iUniverse, 2005.
Socioeconomic Democracy: An Advanced Socioeconomic System, by Robley E. George, Center for the Study of Democratic Societies, Praeger, 2002. See also A Democratic Socioeconomic Platform in search of a Democratic Political Party, Robley E. George, Center for the Study of Democratic Societies, July 2008.
Bringing deep democracy to life: an awareness paradigm for deepening political dialogue, personal relationships, and community interactions, Amy Mindell, Psychotherapy and Politics International, September 2008  The Architecture of Government: Rethinking Political Decentralization, by Daniel Treisman, Governance, 22 December 2008.

A review of this literature indicates that the pieces of a new sociopolitical paradigm are beginning to emerge. There are many variations, but the general direction is toward homo economicus becoming homo solidarius in order make it politically feasible to work for improvements in democratic systems, more collaboration, more transparency, social responsibility, environmental stewardship, and distributive justice.

The Socioeconomic Democracy of Robley E. George deserves further scrutiny, as it is the only one that attempts to define both the pieces and the democratic system in which the pieces are to be embedded. Furthermore, it postulates a platform for a political party that could implement a socioeconomic democracy. George summarizes "socioeconomic democracy" as follows:

"Socioeconomic Democracy is a model economic system, or more precisely, socioeconomic subsystem, in which there is some form of Universal Guaranteed Personal Income (UGPI) as well as some form of Maximum Allowable Personal Wealth (MAPW), with both the lower bound on personal material poverty and the upper bound on personal material wealth set and adjusted democratically by all society."

"UGPI. In the idealized state of the model, each participant in this democratic socioeconomic system would know that, regardless of what he or she did or did not do, a democratically determined Universally Guaranteed Personal Income (UGPI) would always be available. Put another way, society would guarantee each citizen some minimum amount of purchasing power, with that amount determined democratically by all of society and with citizenship the only requirement for eligibility to participate."

"MAPW. In the ideal theoretical model, all participants of the democratic socioeconomic system would understand that all personal material wealth above the democratically determined allowable amount would, by due process, be transferred out of their ownership and control in a manner specified by the democratically designed and implemented laws of the land."

"Hence, a rational, self-interested, and insatiable (as the neoclassical saying goes) extremely wealthy participant in the democratic socioeconomic system, who is at or near the upper bound on allowable personal wealth and who further desires increased personal wealth, would be economically motivated, that is, have economic incentive to actively increase the well-being of the less materially wealthy members of society. Only in this manner can these (still-wealthiest) participants persuade (a majority of) the also rationally self-interested less wealthy participants of the democratic society to vote to raise the legal upper limit on allowable personal wealth -- thus allowing those wealthiest participants to legally acquire and retain the increased allowable amount of personal net wealth and worth they so crave." Socioeconomic Democracy: A Very Brief Introduction, Robley E. George, Center for the Study of Democratic Societies, June 2002.

In other words, people who are at the MAPW level would have a propensity to desire a higher MAPW, and the only way to accomplish this is to promote the socioeconomic well-being of those who are at the UGPI level, and this includes protection of the environment and conservation of natural resources. Conversely, if they fail to do so and those at the UGPI level regress into unacceptable economic and environmental poverty, their MAPW might decrease in order to give them additional incentive to provide more and better education and access to jobs for those at the bottom of the ladder. People who are at the UGPI level would have a propensity to desire a higher UGPI, but this would not happen if there are job opportunities available that they do not take. In a socioeconomic democracy, the UGPI might actually be reduced if people prefer not to work. But MAPW and UGPI adjustments would have to be made democratically, so there may be a need for a new kind of institution that can make these adjustments in a timely manner and under the supervision of elected officials.

Could this be a new paradigm? Would this be the new paradigm of choice to deal with the complex local, regional, and global issues that increasingly make front page today? That remains to be seen. Politically, paradigm changes are difficult and often turbulent, especially if they require a restructuring of political and economic institutions. The following is George's description of the socioeconomic democracy political platform:

"The purpose of this Democratic Socioeconomic Platform (DSeP) is to present a new, fundamentally just, democratic and systemically consistent political platform capable of democratically enhancing the General Welfare of All Citizens of a Democratic Society."

"One of many important differences between this DSeP, and the typical run-of-the-mill political party platform laundry list of independent and not-infrequently inconsistent political promises often offered yet seldom satisfied, is that this DSeP proposes and describes how to democratically realize/accomplish a peaceful and societally beneficial transformation of the world’s obviously malfunctioning, not to more than mention decidedly undemocratic and deadly, present patriarchal politicosocioeconomic systems."

"More specifically, the presently harmful economic incentives, invariably, inevitably and inextricably created by contemporary economic systems, with their sorry-or-not socioeconomic consequences dramatically displayed daily, are, with this DSeP, democratically redesigned to create economic incentive that positively encourages the simultaneous reduction of society’s many painful, costly yet unnecessary socioeconomic problems, as well as contributes significantly to the Positive Empowerment and Healthy Development of All Citizens of a Democratic Society." A Democratic Socioeconomic Platform in search of a Democratic Political Party, Robley E. George, Center for the Study of Democratic Societies, July 2008.

If this rings a bell, readers may recall that the invited articles in the December 2007, July 2008, and August 2008 issues of this journal, dealing with socioeconomic democracy and sustainable development, were contributed by Robley E. George. We look forward to hear more about socioeconomic democracy, how it could be implemented politically, and how GDP and GDW (or some other indicator of human development) would compare under a socioeconomic democratic political system.

8. The UN MDGs and other Case Examples

The UN MDGs [UNITED NATIONS MILLENIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS] do not require any paradigm change in the social, economic, and political sciences. They would remain relevant and would be adaptable to paradigm changes, and the indicators being used to monitor progress toward the 2015 targets could be used to monitor progress under various social, economic, and political systems. But making progress in the MDGs is not contingent on any radical change in human mindsets about the present or future of humanity and the human habitat. They do require, however, decisions and actions pursuant to sustainable development as defined in the 1987 Brundlandt Commission Report (see section 2).

The main obstacle to progress on the MDGs is that "sustainable development is a process of change," and there is always resistance to change. There is a saying, "change is the name of the game," so it is commonly recognized that change is intrinsic to individual and social life. And there is another saying, "the more things change, the more they remain the same," so it is also recognized that changes do not bring about the end of the world. But there is always the human attachment to what is familiar, and this applies to mental ways of thinking as well as to physical surroundings. This may be the reason:

"Cognitive dissonance theory... has shown how individuals cannot easily dismiss a belief or attitude they hold, even when the attitude is directly contradicted by evidence or events. People will sooner adopt farfetched ideas to explain events than relinquish their preconceptions. In so doing, they avoid having to face the dissonance between what they see and what they have long believed. The dismissal of plain reality can happen when people are confronted by challenges to their ingrained patriotism, their prejudices, or their religious values. Under these circumstances, they may ignore cruelty, hypocrisy, or incompetence, or create elaborate rationalizations rather than challenge the principles espoused by their leaders." Cults: Faith, Healing and Coercion, Marc Galanter, Oxford University Press, 1989, page 152.

It is safe to anticipate that the UN MDGs, let alone more comprehensive changes in social, economic, and political theories, will have to overcome the ever present "resistance to change." This resistance may be exacerbated by our predilection for "quick fixes" to problems, even if the fixes will not last long. As a football coach used to say, "the future is now." And yet, there are fragments of historical wisdom that should not be forgotten:

  • "The diligent farmer plants trees of which he himself will never see the fruit" Cicero (106-43 BCE)

  • "One generation plants a tree; the next generation gets the shade." Old Chinese Proverb

  • "A custom without truth is ancient error." St. Cyprian (3rd Century CE)

  • "Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." Marie Curie (1867-1934)

9. Prayer, Study, and Action

The combined financial-environmental crisis that we are facing at the moment is causing many people to lose heart. The expectation of a long and difficult transition toward financial and environmental sustainability increases the level of anxiety, accustomed as we are to "quick fixes." To be sure, there is a lot of finger pointing, but not much constructive guidance on how to proceed. But quitting is not an option. There are wars to be brought to an end, and there is much violence to be mitigated. There are too many children dying of hunger. There are too many girls and too many women excluded from normal paths of human development and also excluded from roles of secular and religious authority. The human habitat continues to deteriorate. The United Nations' Millennium Development Goals are bound to be compromised, and progress toward the 2015 goals may stagnate in the midst of increasing uncertainty about the future of the global economy. One thing is clear: this is not the time to quit.


SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY AND THE WORLD GOVERNMENT - Collective Capitalism, Depovertization, Human Rights, Template for Sustainable Peace

by Dhanjoo N Ghista (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)


In developing an enlightened socio-economic-political environment, this book provides a new socio-economic-political system based on (i) Collective Capitalism (CCP) of cooperatively managed institutions and enterprises, and (ii) a Civilian Democracy (CDM) sans political parties, whereby the most qualified representatives of all the functional sectors of the community get elected to the local legislature. It also specifies a new economic-political structure in the form of autonomous functionally-sustainable communities (FSCs), within regional economic zones (REZs) and self-reliant regional unions (SRUs, such as the EU).

This system of FSCs, REZs and SRUs will come under the aegis of (and collectively represented by) a World government, over-seeing the development of a comprehensive charter of human rights and social justice for all the people of the world. The neo-humanistic integrated system of CCP and CDM, to be implemented within FSCs, will provide grass-roots socio-economic-political empowerment, contrary to the system of centralized economic and political governance.

This book serves as a valuable teaching, learning, knowledge and research resource for (i) a holistic approach to a sustainable living environment promoting collective welfare, and (ii) a multi-stage road-map towards a world government system for unification of all the communities of the world into one global cooperative. The combined system of socio-economic democracy (involving knowledge and conscientious governance executives elected by and directly representing the various functional sectors of FSCs) and world government will help transform the current undignified north-south socioeconomic order into a democratic and equitable globalization order, for collective social security towards achieving sustainable local and global peace.


From Under-Development to Self-Reliance:
Introduction: A Kaleidoscopic Survey of Under-Development and Its Solution
Third World Under-Development and Need for Self-Reliance
Functionally-Sustainable Communities: Socio-Economic-Political Framework
Neo-Global Political Governance Structure
Functionally-Sustainable Community (FSC) Design
From Corporatism to Cooperatism, and Power-Politics to Peace-Politics:
For an Enlightened Human Society
Corporate Capitalism to Cooperative Capitalism and Social Democracy
State and Group Terrorism, Justic and Reparation
Ethics of Politics: Politician versus People Sovereignty
From United Nations to World Government
Real Democracy and Neo-Humanistic Global Order:
Socio-Economic Democracy: Governance, Economic and Financial Policy
Truly Democractic Electoral Governance System and Global Political Structure
Human Rights and Constitutional Guarantees
Civilian-Centered Neo-Humanistic Global Order
Towards Universal Renaissance:
Neo-Humanistic University System
Replacing Hypocrisy by Straightforwardness
Sustainable Global Peace with Equitable Globalization
Strategizing the Role of the University in Society

Epilogue: Towards a Neo-Era of Peace, Security and Enlightened Living

Readership: Academics, politicians, sociologists, economists and business developers, as well as socially conscious people.

"The focus of Ghista's book is less on confrontation and more on the development of constructive alternatives to the dominant system. There will soon be an enormous demand for books that are concrete and constructive as a decreasing number believe in the dominant system. Ghista's book has the strength of weaving economic and political analysis together."
Johan GaltungProfessor of Peace Studies, University of Hawaii, USACo-Director, TRANSCEND: A Peace and Development Network

"Ghista's broad-brush analysis of the world's socio-political systems is not merely radical, or hard-hitting � it is remarkably honest and straightforward ... His analysis is a fascinating blend of social and political science, with a visionary zeal ... A brave book, with noble objectives � it very much deserves to be read."
Edward Karani Allbless, Coudert Brothers LLP (Attorneys-at-Law, Singapore)

"This book is written with a deep human compassion for the Fourth Worlds, the persecuted, the poverty-stricken, the marginalized, and the truly destitute in our global society ... The scope is majestic: from local self-organized economic units all the way up to global world level government ... I applaud Ghista's efforts and hope that he is heard ... All I can say is that it is about time someone wrote from this perspective!"
Pauline V Rosenau, Professor of Management, Policy and Community Health University of Texas, Houston Health Science Center, USA

"At a time of profound global change, Ghista is to be warmly congratulated on an invaluable contribution for achieving peace and security in all its diverse aspects � most importantly at grassroots level ... This book will become required reading in schools and universities as well as in business, NGO and government circles."
Eirwen Harbottle, Widow of the late Brigadier-General Michael Harbottle(Founder of Generals for Peace and Disarmament), Co-Creator of the Centre for International Peace building and the Youth Musical PEACE CHILD


...1.3 Functionally-sustainable communities for local economic empowerment and governance

...A functionally-sustainable and autonomously-governed community (FSC) is one that has adequate land and trade-specialities among its people, to be able to sustain the basic functional (revenue-generation, community-services, small-business and governance) sectors. In other words, the revenue generated by exporting its (natural-resource, agricultural and industrial) products should be able to sustain the services and small-business sectors of the community. An FSC is the grassroot unit of governance and functional socio-economic democracy. As such, it should have adequate qualified human resources, who could competently represent the various sectors of the community in governance by administering the portfolios of their sectors. (p. 7)

...In a typical FSC (made up of economic units), the inhabitants would manage the local enterprises, with gains relaying back for their benefit and for local development. For this purpose, it is useful for medium and large scale enterprises to be cooperatively organized, so that the employees have a stake in their corporation’s performance and success. The cooperatives in the various societal sectors (such as community services sector, healthcare sector, transportation sector, private business sector, etc.) would be organized into associations (such as of legal professionals, primary educators, etc.). Additionally, each FSC would have agencies (such as for trade and commerce, postal, municipal and transport services) and councils (such as township or neighborhood citizens councils for environmental and civil protection, and the sports council). Each of these associations, agencies and councils, together representing all the functional sectors of a community, would vote two of their most competent candidates to represent that sector in governance. The general public would then elect one of them to represent the sector on the local government legislature, thereby providing the framework of a truly democratic and knowledgeable (party-less) civilian professional-governance system (or PGS).

This verily constitutes a new concept of a people-centric democratic societal and governance system. This new democratic system would replace the current pseudo democratic system of governance management as a business undertaking, by the political parties securing public contracts (based on and legitimized by public votes) to manage the governance of the community. (p. 8)

...It would also be in the interest of FSCs to cooperate with one another (and organize themselves into economic blocs) to share their know-how and trade in resources and technologies, in order to help one another to uniformly raise their living standards. This cooperation among FSCs, based on the neo-humanistic attitude of promoting the welfare of all peoples and communities (as opposed to merely eliciting foreign investment-based development and perpetuating economic colonization), can contribute to a new equitable Global Order. It would hence be economically beneficial for two or more FSCs to come together and form a self-reliant socio-economic bloc (SEB), while several SEBs would form a selfreliant economic zone (SEZ).

In the context of the present day setup, the SEZs would correspond to nations, while the SEBs would correspond to the states (and provinces) of nations. The FSC(s) will have the option of interacting with neighboring FSC(s) with whom they feel socio-culturally comfortable, to form self-reliant economic blocs or SEBs. An SEB would, in turn, need to have adequate land and resource density and diversity, such that it can function as a self-reliant agro-industrial and services-providing blocs. (pp. 8-9)

1.4 Progressive socio-economic utilization system within FSCs

With regard to the socio-economic organization of a community, we reject both the communist and capitalistic systems (due to their shortcomings and failures), but incorporate some principles of a new socio-economic system (Prout),* entailing proper utilization and renumeration of all levels of human resources. Within FSCs, grassroots socio-economic development would be carried out by means of cooperatives, which will address business planning, factors of production cost and productivity, purchasing capacity and collective necessity. In our economic setup, cooperatively managed business enterprises and industries will enable work to be carried out in the spirit of coordinated cooperation, with due consideration for human rights and fair renumeration. (p.9)

In FSCs, a cooperative economic system would be best able to utilize and provide fair renumeration to the locally available social-capital and knowledge capital in the community, business-corporational and governance sectors. Especially, in poverty-stricken rural areas of developing countries, as well as within the FSCs of liberated Fourth World communities, the cooperatives will bring together producers, distributors and consumers in a coordinated partnership. These cooperatives (based on optimal or progressive utilization of human, natural and material resources) will function on the principles of individual liberty, equality and democracy, with sharing of revenue and profits by the cooperative members. [OXYMORON??] Such cooperatives will be organized in all spheres of economic activity as well as social life, for the welfare of the people. The cooperatives will constitute an organization of people coming together, to help one another and save themselves from capitalist as well as communist exploitation. (pp. 9-10)

The cooperatives will in fact constitute the catalysts of FSCs, wherein local people will generate revenue (through resource development, industry and trade) to in turn develop their own community services of water supply and sanitation, electrical power, healthcare, education and transportation. This cooperative system of economic development and management verily constitutes collective capitalism (or CCP, as opposed to subordinated capitalism). In this setup, the capital will be cooperatively generated, controlled and distributed.

For people to interact and live in peace, we need to make provision for their satisfactory economic means and livelihood, cultural and psychic expression, enlightened and benevolent governance system, so that they can maximally develop all of their potentialities. In order for them to have a fulfilling lifestyle, they also need to feel that they constitute intrinsic members of the community they are living in, and that they are contributing to its development. This people-centered and people-empowered system of CCP (collective capitalism) and SED (socio-economic democracy) along with the civilian professional-governance (CPGS) system will auger well for optimal utilization of natural resources, community services and human potentialities. (p. 10) [????]......................


PROUT is an acronym for PROgressive Utilization Theory, a socio-economic philosophy that synthesizes the physical, mental and spiritual dimensions of human nature. The goal of PROUT is to provide guidance for the evolution of a truly progressive human society.

PROUT is an alternative to the outmoded capitalist and communist socio-economic paradigms. Neither of these approaches have adequately met the physical, mental and spiritual needs of humanity. PROUT seeks a harmonious balance between economic growth, social development, environmental sustainability, and between individual and collective interests. Combining the wisdom of spirituality with a universal outlook and the struggle for self-reliance, PROUTist thinkers and activists are creating a new civilizational discourse and planting the seeds for a new way of living.

A few basic tenets of PROUT are:

Spirituality and Progress

Human beings are on an evolutionary path toward realizing their higher consciousness. True progress is movement that leads to self-realization and spiritual qualities such as compassion and love for all beings. Material or intellectual gains do not necessarily constitute progress unless they contribute to deeper, spiritual well-being.

The progressive orientation of society is maintained by making continual adjustments in the use of physical resources and mental potentialities in accordance with spiritual and Neo-humanistic values. Human beings are encouraged to construct economic and social institutions to facilitate the attainment of our highest potentialities.

Economic Democracy
Political democracy and economic democracy are mutually inclusive. PROUT advocates economic democracy based on local economic planning, cooperatively managed businesses, local governmental control of natural resources and key industries, and socially agreed upon limits on the individual accumulation of wealth. By decentralizing the economy and making sure decision-making is in the hands of local people, we can ensure the adequate availability of food, shelter, clothing, health care and education for all.

A decentralized economy can better ensure that the ecological systems of the earth are not exploited beyond their capacity to renew themselves. Environmental stewardship is a requisite for people who are dependent upon these systems for their own survival and well-being.

Basic Necessities Guaranteed to All
The basic necessities of life must be a constitutional birth right of all members of society. People cannot attain their highest human potential if they lack food, shelter, clothing, health care and education. Meaningful employment with a living wage must be planned to ensure adequate purchasing capacity for all basic necessities. The standard of guaranteed minimum necessities should advance with increases in the economy's productive capacity.

For a benevolent society, it is essential that leaders are morally principled and dedicated to serving society as part of their personal progress. Authority should not be centered in the hands of individuals, but should be expressed through collective leadership. [HOW ARE COLLECTIVE LEADERS TO BE ELECTED??] The viability of political democracy rests on an electorate possessing three factors:

1) education,
2) socio-economic consciousness,
3) ethical integrity.

Individuals should have complete freedom to acquire and express their ideas, creative potential and inner aspirations. Such intellectual and spiritual freedom will strengthen the collectivity. Restrictions should only be placed on actions clearly detrimental to the welfare of others. Constraints need to be placed on the accumulation of physical wealth, as excessive accumulation by a few results in the deprivation of many.

Cultural Diversity
In the spirit of universal fellowship, PROUT encourages the protection and cultivation of local culture, language, history and tradition. For social justice and a healthy social order, individual and cultural diversity must be accepted and encouraged.

Women's Rights
PROUT encourages the struggle against all forms of violence and exploitation used to suppress women. PROUT's goal is coordinated cooperation, with equal rights between men and women. PROUT seeks the economic, social and spiritual empowerment of women throughout the world.

Science and Technology
Scientific knowledge and technology are potential assets to humanity. Through their proper use, the physical hardships of life decreases and knowledge is gained about the secrets of life. Time is freed for cultural and spiritual pursuits. However, the development and utilization of scientific knowledge must come under the guidance of spiritual and Neo-humanist values and ethical leadership. Without this, technology is often abused by profiteers and the power-hungry, resulting in destruction and exploitation.

World Government
PROUT supports the creation of a world governance system having a global bill of rights, global constitution and common penal code in order to guarantee the fundamental rights of all individuals and nations, and to settle regional and international disputes. As the global economy becomes decentralized, it will be advantageous to also have a global political system.