Sunday, May 15, 2011

Global Sustainable Development – No more Empty Promises

A 'new concept' I'm being taught about, is 'Sustainable Development'.

The Brundtland Commission defines 'sustainable development' as 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.'

So – in other words, 'sustainable development' refers to meeting everyone's needs (= no more poverty and starvation) and not exploiting Earth/nature/the environment in a way that causes long-term damage.

What do we know about the world we live in today?

That we have a third of the population starving of hunger with a whole lot more being poor (they cannot provide for basic necessities). And we have depleted (and continue to deplete) the Earth's resources whereby we extract more than the Earth is able to replenish.

So – those two aspects of our world is what humanity has been trying to tackle through applying principles of 'sustainable development'. That humanity has failed is quite obvious – look around – there has been no change whatsoever with regards to poverty or care for the environment if you compare present day to 20-30 years ago.

People are still starving and companies are still wasting resources.

It's not that we didn't have 'good intentions'. Just have a look at a few of the conferences and agreements that took place with regards to sustainable development:

Rio Earth Summit 

With 172 governments participating in the Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992 – this conference was deemed as a 'milestone' in the history of sustainable development.

The two-week Earth Summit resulted in the adoption of 'Agenda 21', a wide-ranging blueprint for action to achieve sustainable development worldwide. The Agenda consists of 40 chapters, which are divided into 4 main sections:
  1. Social and Economic Dimensions
    (deals with combating poverty, changing consumption patterns, promoting health, change population and sustainable settlement)
  2. Conservation and Management of Resources for Development
  3. Strengthening the Role of Major Groups
  4. Means of Implementation
After these two weeks, everyone was very excited, very proud and very happy – we had a PLAN!

The United Nations Global Compact 

Though, as it turned out, barely anyone implemented Agenda 21 within their corporations: Lots of talk, lots of expectations, lots of energy – little actions – no results.

Because of the major flop Agenda 21 turned out to be – a new initiative was started in 1999: the United Nations Global Compact.

Now – you'd think that they would've 'learned something' from the Rio Earth Summit and Agenda 21 disaster – but nope:

The essence of this new initiative is that

"the UN Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption."

Sure, the principles sound nice, but what's the point in even mentioning them? The fact that they merely ASKED companies to participate and that they counted on the people's 'good-will' to CHANGE THE WORLD (!!!) already predicts that this initiative wasn't even worth implementing and was just another waste of resources.

I mean – unless you give people speeding tickets, they don't want to adhere to the speed limits – and even then they take their chances. Did you really think that if you nicely ask people to please adhere to the ten principles of the UN Global Compact and change their companies – that they would do so? That's just dumb. 

The Millennium Development Goals 

Needless to say that, again, countries and companies didn't deliver, didn't follow through.

Then – suddenly – they had this amazing idea!

"Why don't we – instead of writing out 10 principles – formulate 8 GOALs! "

Yeah – that's definitely a huge difference – 'now we're getting somewhere!'

Yes – of course it's the same story, same problem, but they thought they had invented the wheel, so they went ahead and formulated 8 goals, 8 very ambitious goals, and they threw a deadline on-top!

In the year 2000, at the Millennium Summit, over 150 World-leaders vowed to reach the following Goals by 2015:

Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty
Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality
Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases
Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development

We're 11 years later – would you say that in the last 11 years, world leaders have been actively engaging themselves towards reaching these 8 goals – or have they – as usual – been engaging in resource-absorbing wars, conflicts and corruption?

We have only 4 years left – anyone see a change of tide in the near future? Don't think so.

So – why is it that, despite the efforts to put together an Agenda, or a series of Principles or a list of Goals – that there is no substantial change?

Let's have a look at the nature of the question of sustainable development. In essence, what is being asked of companies, is to continue business as usual – whereby you sell products or services in such a way that you are able to fulfil your corporation's goal, which is: profit maximisation – thought, you must do it in such a way that your actions don't cause harmful consequences to the environment or society as a whole.

What is the problem with this question?

The problem is that we are trying to create a way of doing business that adheres to two conflicting principles.

The first principle is the principle of the economic system, which is profit-maximisation. This is a Self-Interested principle, whereby you want to be the winner and want everyone else to be a loser. I'm not making this up or portraying the economic system in a 'bad light'; this is the essence of the game of the Free Market mechanism that we're playing: Everyone competes with each other and everyone wants to come out as the winner. For some to be winners, there have to be losers. We can't all be winners – the Free Market mechanism doesn't provide for that. There HAVE to be losers. Otherwise the system doesn't work.

Sustainable development, however, requires that we adopt a principle of doing what is best for society as a whole. If we wish to do what is best for all – then it follows that there are certain practices that we simply cannot allow.

An example is that we cannot allow firms to harvest resources from the Earth for a reason /purpose other than doing what is best for all, whereby useless products are produced, not because people will actually benefit from those products, but because an opportunity was identified where the perceived need/desire to acquire such a product can be CREATED, through means such as advertisement – and therefore, firms will create a market for the product and be able to make money out of producing and selling this product that no-one REALLY wants or needs. The examples of such products are numerous. Simply walk around in a mall or in your supermarket and have a look at the products they sell that actually don't benefit anyone – but for which, nonetheless, Earth's resources were used to produce them.

If you are serious about sustainable development, it is obvious that such practices are a 'no-go' as they completely defeat the principle of doing what is best for society as a whole – both in the present as in the future.

But have a look: The right to choose what you want to produce is a basic principle of the Free Market economy. That's why they call it 'free'. If you want to produce a product that no-one needs, but that you'll be able to sell and make profit with (provided that selling this product is not illegal) – then no-one is going to stop you. Instead you'll be cheered at: "Go ahead! Be an entrepreneur! Thank you for engaging in our economy! We need more people like you!"

Are you starting to see what I'm seeing?

On the one side we have the capitalistic/free market economic system, which allows people to do as they please in terms of what to produce and how to produce it – and the only real requirement to be successful is that you do better than your competitors.

On the other side we have the need for sustainable development, which calls for firms and individuals to consider and do what is best for all.

Now – it is very simple: Either you follow the first principle, or you follow the second – but you cannot have both – it is impossible, they contradict each other at their very core.

So – either we allow each one to act in self-interest and we accept that a third of the population starves forevermore – and we accept that this can even get worse and that only some are the winners and most are the losers – and whereby we have no regard for the environment or future generations.

Or – we decide to end the free market system and create a new system that is based on the principle of doing what is best for all, hereby effectively eradicating starvation, poverty, destruction of the environment, etc.

Now – why is it so difficult for people to consider the second option? As long as we don't commit ourselves to the solution the world requires, we continue sticking with option 1 and continue to cause further damage – why delay?

The reason is simplistic:

People don't want to give up the free market system.

Why not? We have just shown that if we don't, we only further suffering and destruction.

People don't want to give up the free market system, because people don't want to give up their idea, perception and experience of 'freedom'. This idea, perception and experience is the very foundation of the free market system and it is what people hold on to.

It doesn't mean that we are actually 'free' – I mean, how free are you if you are driven by fear and greed?

No – we are not free – but for some reason humanity thinks it is important to cling to the idea and belief that we are free and that we can make our own choices – even if it means the death of billions – as long as I feel like I can make 'my own choice' and 'make up my mind' and 'have my own opinion'.

If you consider that all that requires to be done – for actual sustainable development to be possible – is to give up an idea/perception/belief of us apparently having 'free choice' – and that if we would just for one moment realise that our choices aren't really free – then we could make an actual change, then we could start creating real heaven on Earth.

You must understand that if you are going to give people the freedom to do as they please – then they WILL use this freedom to abuse, they WILL use it to pursue their own personal 'happiness' and they WILL sacrifice others and their 'freedom' in the process. We have been proving it for centuries – our current economic system, our current state of the world is PROOF of that. The attempts of the Sustainable Development projects thus far, have proven that: all were free to choose to participate within making an actual change, or continuing as they were – and the latter was chosen.

We've tried it the 'freedom' way – it's a fucking joke.

People don't have the right to freedom. Have a look: what do we do with those that we deem to be 'dangerous to society'? We lock them up, we put them in prison, we take away their freedom. Now, consider that anyone who thinks and believes that their own personal happiness and gratification is more important than what is best for all – is an actual danger to society. Why?

Simple – because they will rather see another suffer and come out a 'winner', than to create a system of support that will benefit all. They will rather see a third of the world's population die of hunger, than to risk losing their luxury and their 'freedom'.

Humanity has lost their right to freedom. Humanity has proven themselves to be a danger to society, to life. Humanity has failed. And as such, our freedom requires to be taken away – the free market system has to end. We've had our chance, we've had our fun – but this is enough!

Sustainable development is possible, but not in our current economic system – not in a world where 'freedom of choice' is respected and valued above life itself.

Therefore – consider a new economic system, an economic system that has sustainable development at heart, that has EVERYONE's best interest at heart. Such a system is not impossible, it is being developed as we speak.

I understand that people are afraid to give up their idea of freedom. But look at this world and realise: no freedom actually exists and no good has come of our current system of so-called 'freedom' – none whatsoever. The apparent 'well-being' and 'abundance' that exists in some countries: it is at the expense of billions – they are the few winners where billions lose. Don't hold it as a carrot in front of you. Within the current system of competition: it is IMPOSSIBLE for all to experience this abundance.

For those who understand and grasp what is being said here – for those who understand what is required – please join the Equal Money Movement. Join Start a blog and speak up.

There will be a time where you'll have to make a decision: to support your own self-interest or to support all life – when that time comes, understand how your actions affect the whole.

Join us – be 1 Vote for World Equality.