A plan of action for restoring order

A plan of action for restoring order

Before anything else what we need today is a paradigm to diagnose and address the many grave global problems that face us all but are experienced differently in the various regions of the world. In Europe the crisis is more evident and is causing the suffering of tens of millions of people, especially the young.

The Paradigm: there is no peace without security, especially in these times. But security is not military security, which soaks up 1.6 trillion dollars per year. Security is human security, though the combined government spending on development amounts to a mere  $50 billion. If just 10 per cent of military spending went to aid humans, we would have another $160 billion—far more than the UN would need for a climate control accord.

A world in which the richest 51 million people have the wealth of the 1.2 billion poorest people is not sustainable. Six serious problems stand out on the horizon and must be addressed.

Crisis of governability
The world today is undergoing a profound crisis of governability. The social and economic decline of the countries of the North (as in the South we see the emergence of new global actors) is giving rise to a reckless gambit of parties and movements that dream of a return to bygone eras.

The Tea Party, which has captured the US Republican Party, and the right-wing xenophobic parties that have emerged in model progressive European countries are also the result of reckless gambit. Thus the political crisis emerges as the priority. Greater participation in the process beyond simply voting must be encouraged.

Second, a key element in the crisis is the uncontrolled frenzy of finance, which is increasingly unregulated and opposed to the real economy. While trade has dropped by 15 per cent worldwide, financial transactions are rising continuously, now amounting to $ 40 trillion per day. Finance lacks any form of international regulation.

Third, these two crises have brought the idea of international co-operation to its knees. International social justice and solidarity are now considered marginal. Yet in a globalised world, profits and market logic can’t be allowed to be the sole guiding principles. In this regard, another necessary step is reviving the idea of a tax on financial speculation, the volume of which is so colossal that a tax as small as 1/100 of one per cent could generate 400 million euros per day. The revenue could be distributed to the victims of the crisis, the unemployed,the social deficit, proportionally to the size of each country.

Fourth, one issue that involves all humanity is the environment. The data on global warming are there for all to see. Yet the American government is held hostage by a congress that denies that the process is real. A new category of refugee is being created: environmental refugees, which the UN believes could grow in number to 400 million in 30 years. Those most intensely effected by the process are the poor, the Africans first and foremost, though Europe will be hard hit as well.

Fifth, one issue that must never be forgotten is human rights. According to the International Labour Organisation, each year 12.3 million people are captured by groups tied to crime and forced to work in inhuman conditions. According to the OSCE, in Europe there are hundreds of thousands of people at the very least living in conditions of virtual slavery. We need an open debate to create a European immigration policy that goes beyond the commonplaces that European politicians hide behind.

Sixth, one final priority is restoring the dignity of labour. Today labour unions represent only 12 per cent of the labour force worldwide, defending their members from an increasingly savage employment environment. Eighty percent of the workers of the world receive no benefits.

And so the concepts of solidarity and intergenerational responsibility need to be revitalised. The economic and fiscal system must be reengineered to shrink the growing gaps between those who are inside the system -and often do well- and those who are stranded on the outside. It is a politically suicidal issue and so is usually left unaddressed. But if something isn’t done, we will be drawn into a world of intense misery and destitution.

The present situation demands of us all commitment, sacrifice, and common and individual efforts. There is no Churchill who, promising blood and tears, managed to mobilise his country against Nazism. Nor is there a Manifesto to galvanise and guide us. However, the facts are clear and demonstrate unequivocally that we cannot avoid what lies ahead. Blaming politicians will not be enough. We are all equally responsible.

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