THE WORLD—PROBLEMS AND OPPORTUNITIES
Anil Mitra © January 2014—March 2019
THE WORLD—PROBLEMS AND OPPORTUNITIES
Sources. The following is an extract from Journey in Being-detail.html.
Comment. Plan—modify and improve for the way - main version.html.
The following is an extract from the section ‘Dimensions’. Only the first two sub-sections are retained.
Being is all encompassing; its concept, range, and elements have been treated adequately above.
The universe—all being—has been likewise been treated adequately. Further revelation is inevitable but is part of realization broadly conceived.
In the ultimate the transient and the universal merge.
So being-in-the-world and the ultimate are to be in interactive balance.
We do not reject either the immediate-pragmatic or the meta-narrative.
To reject either is to diminish both.
To live well is simple—except when one does not have well-being.
Issue 1—global climate change—climate scientists claim significant warming with likely disastrous consequences and that this is 90 – 95% certainly the result of human activity. Should we act on this?
Principle 1—action should not be deferred till a problem is certain.
Issue 2—but there are many competing problems.
Principle 2—we need rational allocation of choice.
Issue 3—but perfect rationality is not possible.
Principle 3—we need good enough rationality (‘perfection’ does not have definite meaning).
Issue 4—we have differing views and politics.
Principle 4—we need realism, holism, experiment, learning, and dialog.
Issue 5—w e do not know the range of challenges, opportunities, problems, and ways to address these.
Principle 5—We must work toward enumerating, evaluating, and synthesizing them—and toward action. Synthesis includes seeing the interactions among issues and seeking optimum or good enough allocation of resources among problems and opportunities
There are various lists. Following combines and modifies the most recent 2004 UN High Level Threat Panel’s and Richard Smalley’s around 2005 ‘Top Ten Problems of Humanity for the Next 50 years’. I have made some additions—enfranchisement (Smalley listed democracy and education separately), environment and resources (were listed separately), culture (emphases opportunities, includes knowledge of the world, an appreciation for what is of worth, and the understanding of conservation and planning—which makes the list reflexively complete), and geopolitics. The list below begins with ‘problems’ but beginning with the environment and resources the items present problem and opportunity.
1. Poverty and disease.
War, terrorism, and transnational organized crime.
Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical, and biological).
Genocide, sex trade, body part kidnapping, and other atrocities.
4. Environment and resources.
Environment—climate, land, air, and water.
Resources—water, food, energy, land, plant, animal, and materials.
Approaches—science and technology; see culture, population, and geopolitics below.
Democracy, education, quality of life.
Women, men, children.
6. Culture—knowledge and action.
Knowledge—systematic and general, secularism-religion and (versus) realism (see the document ‘system of human knowledge’ in which the main divisions are universe, artifact, and symbol).
Morals and trust.
Art and human expression.
Population is a root issue. Intervention is possible. Moral concerns make moral action difficult to conceive and there is a tendency to therefore neglect the issue. This should not prevent reflection and search for solutions. Better education, improved economic status, and perhaps political enfranchisement result in lower birth rate (as low as 1.4 children per couple in some places). Education and opportunity for women and minorities is recognized important. I think, however, it is important to not exclude any segment of populations with the thought that they are the power or wealthy class. Men are as critical as women. It is critical to reach across borders. Exclusion reinforces negative practices. Inclusion is at least an invitation to the positive.
The future of nations and national boundaries.
Modern community—‘developing’ and ‘developed’.
9. The fundamental problem of political action
Root issues. Political and economic principles of transformation and action. Regarding these issues this includes their ongoing enumeration and evaluation of the individual and system of issues for allocation of resources; particular attention should be given to root issues, material and other, that spawn many others and for which intervention is possible and moral.
Problem of action. When, an individual, look at our world I may become frustrated. Why? It is in part that there is so much opportunity yet so much waste. However, I know of no law of the universe that says that this is avoidable. This does not remove my dissatisfaction with waste but it does suggest what I might do about it. In a material sense all I can do is begin with myself here and now in the present. But I can do more. I can reflect I can communicate and I can act. The point then is the spirit of action. I can act but not control. Therefore the spiritual advice to not be attached to the fruits of action is not only spiritually empowering but practical as well—in (a) that I avoid useless frustration and (b) in empowering my action.
Imagining scenarios—problems, challenges, opportunities—can be useful in anticipation and in setting up policies and institutions.
This list is a beginning.
1. World threat from military industrial complex via manipulation of politics and or naked power.
3. Weapons of mass destruction threat.
4. Ecological disaster.
6. Political campaign.
7. Breakdown of nations.
8. A time when post-agricultural economics is no longer viable.
The universal metaphysics implies that science, politics, economics of the future should be more than ‘republican’ i.e. entrusted to designated (elected and other) persons but one of participation and immersion.
To think critically about the political economy is not only to make choices from known options but to also construct new ones.
It’s a tall order and one might want to begin small but this is not a text book. The subject and its facets are a main reason to consider the political economy.
Politics is important to economics as the arena of decisions. But it is important for other reasons as well—social, international, military and more.
Forms of government with a view to human ideals, cultural, economic, technological, and military power.
Nations and trade blocks
Influence of politics
Redistribution of wealth (competition for resources)
Global competition for resources
Pockets of stagnation and poverty
Theory: macroeconomics and money
GDP, PPP, and national debt
Ideology: liberal, conservative; neoliberal and neoconservative
Finance and banking
Commerce and industry
Education, creativity, and entrepreneurship
Government: World through local
Consumer: markets and individuals
E.g., the religious right
Reasons for reform rather than elimination