INDEPENDENT NEWS AND COMMENT ON WORLD AFFAIRS
Much of the news and analysis on undiplomatictimes.com is focused on the corrupt and deficient nature of the United Nations System and its failure to work towards the goals set by its Charter more than seven decades ago.
The primary reason for its corruption and failure lies in the policies of powerful national elites that have rendered the United Nations ineffective. The UN is now so weak that it cannot even report honestly on the criminality of their power struggles that inflict the most vicious use of armed force on helpless civilian populations. The most senior officials of the United Nations lie about the causes of terrorism, the drivers of global drug trafficking, and the massive theft of resources from poor countries.
The Permanent Members of the Security Council charged in the UN Charter with maintaining international peace and security are the world’s largest arms producers and traders. One of them, the United Kingdom, runs the global money laundering system that supports every form of organized crime, including terrorism and drug trafficking. It has used its superior diplomatic capacity to manipulate corrupt individuals into high offices in the UN Secretariat to protect its interests.
There is little hope that civil society organizations can take the initiatives necessary to change this state of affairs, for they depend on funding from the same elites that are responsible for the current mess. That leaves the rest of us, ordinary people, to bring about global change.
How do we begin to comprehend what needs to be done? How can we mobilize? What do we do? Is it even remotely possible? This article, the result of research and analysis over nearly five decades of working for the United Nations and covering it as an independent journalist, answers those questions.
The Challenge of Spiritual Poverty
The first step must be to recognize that the root cause of our troubled world is not technological or organizational; it is the spiritual poverty that descended on Europe as it sought to promote Science against the opposition of priestly Scholasticism. The so-called European “Enlightenment” defined the universe as a soulless mechanical construct, a view that supported the subsequent morality-free rape of Nature and humanity during the colonial era. Since the end of overt colonial rule there has been a cosmetic respect for Nature and humanity but rapacity is still at the heart of the policies and practices that shape global realities.
In seeking to transform this situation it is necessary to reject some of the basic terms Europe has spread globally. “Secular” cannot mean lack of reverence for Nature and the spiritual reality of human life. “Scientific” cannot mean a negation of God, for Science must remain mute on the meaning of life, its potential and aim; only the intuitive human spirit can explore those matters. The Scientific Method in the laboratory need pay no attention to the concept of God, but without it the uses of science pose an existential danger to life. Those seeking transformation must also recognize that their quest is not to rearrange political and economic structures but to create a system motivated and guided by the spiritual values of human equality and respect for Nature.
The political challenge in attempting a global transformation is fivefold: to avoid violence at all costs; to expand the free enjoyment of all human rights; to prevent disruptions that will reduce the creation of wealth; to provide gainful employment to all; and to draw into cooperation those who oppose change.
To meet those challenges we must discard ideas of any kind of mass movement, street demonstrations, confrontations with authorities and other such organizational and mobilizing initiatives. Such tactics belong to an era that conceived of sharp material contradictions in the interests of individuals, classes and countries; they are inappropriate for a period of increasing social fluidity and global connectivity that underline the continuum of individual benefit and collective good.
That does not mean blurring the picture of elite criminality. It means spreading an honest understanding of it aimed at draining the manipulative power of elite groups. For instance, consider the impact if the general body of Muslims understood that the Taliban, al Qaeda and Islamic State are agents of the most anti-Islamic forces in the world, and that they have done nothing but bring infamy upon the religion and deprive their countries of sovereignty. Or the impact of a general recognition that the “war on drugs” is not to save people from addiction but to support organized crime and profit the super-rich. It would expose jihadist leaders and Drug Warrior politicians to be criminally cynical. They would have no capacity to manipulate people.
Such a broad change of perceptions would have been impossible as long as elite gatekeepers could skew the content of information flows without challenge. That is still happening on the Internet and the Worldwide Web but networked arrangements to validate honest news could deal with that problem. The challenge is to change how people perceive issues and to awaken their moral perspective. That must happen individual by individual; as Gandhi said, each of us must “be the change.”
Mechanisms of Change
To gear such a global awakening to a process to transform the world will take a new mechanism that meets several specifications. First, it must not require unified direction and management. On the contrary, it is essential to decentralize control to the community level at which people can mobilize on their own to meet the local manifestations of complex global issues.
The second requirement is that the mechanism must overcome any local narrowness of attitudes and promote individual freedom and liberty. Thirdly, it must have the same self-sustaining synergy as the profit motive gives to the corporate world: it must allow people to pursue their individual benefit without damage to collective interests. Finally, the mechanism must be able to address the full range of issues affecting the welfare of communities. In essence, this is a 21st Century globalized version of Adam Smith's free market or Gandhi’s concept of India as a collective of village republics; both men envisaged systems guided by the invisible hand of general moral good.
Such a mechanism would give democratic structure and content to the new social connectivity spreading around the world. It would undermine all oligarchic and tyrannical power structures, and set in place a democratic, non-bureaucratic system of global governance supportive of all forms of creativity, including – and especially – business. Such a system can come to grips quickly with all global crises, for it can deal with them in their community-level manifestations and create a synergy spreading from the bottom up.
Of course, there will be racists, religious bigots and "honor killers" to contend with, but I believe they will be swept aside by humanity’s overwhelmingly positive social energies. For the same reason, the positive process will neutralize and disable the current system driven by greed and violence. It will be able to do that without disrupting its wealth creating capacity because the new system can grow within and transform existing power structures. However, none of this can happen without an appropriate mechanism.
The Community Corporation
The mechanism I suggest is a network that has as its unit a new organization, the Community Corporation (CC). The first CC would be founded by a group of entrepreneurs and social activists; it would create a fully featured website to be franchised to entrepreneurs globally, with the aim of establishing a Community Corporation Network (CCN) reaching down to every economically viable community in the world; in big cities, it would reach down to the level of neighborhoods. The CCN would have administrative nodes to facilitate smooth interaction with existing governance arrangements and structures, ranging up from the sub-national to the regional and global. At the regional/global levels they would be able to interact seamlessly with UN-GLOBENET networks and draw on the technical assistance resources they offer.
The mandate of all CCs and the CCN would be to protect and promote the full range of community interests.
On the economic front, a primary aim of every CC would be to facilitate local commerce. The web site of each CC would be a portal to all local businesses, including farms, and it would allow them to announce sales and special promotions. The web site would also allow access to all government services available on the Web, announce social events, and carry classified ads, including personals.
Each CC would have a community center where people could meet, socialize, be entertained, attend adult education classes and organize economic or social initiatives.
As the CCN becomes a commercial presence within countries and spreads across sub-regions and regions it would vitalize economic growth and optimize use of local resources. Globally, that process would bring back to life the concept of comparative advantage that mega corporations have destroyed with their cookie-cutter version of globalization. The crowd-funding arrangements described here would be available to fund regional infrastructure projects and pay for environmental action. The combination of these factors would generate economic growth at unprecedented rates, tend to correct income imbalances and heal environmental damage.
On the social front, the agenda of CC/CCN activities would include all matters of interest to members, including support for disadvantaged sections of society, initiatives to ensure good quality affordable education, and help for those seeking employment.
CCN would also foster entrepreneurial training and activity, and facilitate local networking to support everything from baby-sitting to elder care.
Such engagement would make CC websites an important economic and social resource, attract a high volume of local traffic, and generate income. The CCs and the CCN would also generate revenue from web advertising, and from commissions on sales they facilitate, including through discounted bulk purchases of automobiles, heavy appliances, travel, insurance, etc.
While remaining politically nonpartisan CCs and the Network would promote understanding of local, national and international issues. Specific CCN initiatives should include:
GLOBAL HISTORY PROJECT: Engage all countries in a balanced and dispassionate study of their own past, to rectify the massive distortions created during the colonial period.
CCN NEWS SERVICE: The CCN would support a regular community-oriented news service run by journalists working through their local CCs. It would keep watch for fake news and other negative actions by anti-social or hostile foreign elements. (Facebook could integrate these elements into its existing structures for a near-foolproof anti-abuse system.) Commentary by expert analysts would be part of the regular information flow, giving balanced coverage of all parts of the globe and covering all themes of interest to communities. Maintaining the news flow and archiving information would be a core activity of CCN.
DECRIMINALIZING DRUGS: A high priority of the CCN would be educating public opinion to support the decriminalization of all drugs by repealing prohibitionist drug conventions and replacing them with a new international treaty providing for the free supply of any drug in demand through doctors, clinics and hospitals. That would make drug trafficking entirely unprofitable to organized crime and bring addicts in regular contact with people best able to help them. This would cost only a small fraction of the “War on Drugs” and be far more effective in knocking drug traffickers and pushers out of the picture.
ENDING THE GLOBAL BLACK MARKET: This would involve legislating a universal ban on “tax havens” (secrecy jurisdictions used to launder money) and “shell companies” (which hide their real owners). Those two bans would make it impossible to operate the multi-trillion global black market which now supports every form of organized crime, including drug trafficking and financing of terrorist groups. To encourage tax-cheats with money hidden in the secrecy jurisdictions to declare their holdings, there should be an amnesty from criminal prosecution if they invest the surfacing funds in interest-bearing bonds to pay for infrastructure development in poor and rich countries alike.
WORK WITH UN-GLOBENET: The CCN would ground UN-GLOBENET networks at the regional, national and sub-national levels, and provide the means for regular interaction:
When the CCN is operating globally the world should be prosperous and peaceful.