We face the greatest challenges
and opportunities in human history.
We face an existential crisis. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) COP 24 report October 2018 https://www.ipcc.ch/ and https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46582025 showed that CO2 emissions are on the rise again after stalling for four years. The report on limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C states that to keep to this essential goal, governments would have to slash emissions of greenhouse gases by 45% by 2030. More action is being taken, but far from enough. Much more drastic cuts are needed. “Climate change is humanity’s greatest threat in thousands of years.” “…time is running out.” “We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.” Sir David Attenborough.
The economy is not working. Governments and global institutions are obsessed with economic growth as measured by GDP instead of wellbeing. Economic injustice, extreme poverty and violence persist. Developing countries are robbed through the interest paid on loans from rich countries. This is how the economic system extracts wealth from the south to the north globally and in Europe. Multinational organisations such as Amazon have immense power and evade paying taxes. The need to tackle this is another reason to work with our fellow European neighbours within the EU to end these abuses.
Brexit was largely a protest vote against the failure of successive Whitehall based governments to renew the old industrial economy and create prosperity for people all over the country – see The Causes and Cures of Brexit http://www.compassonline.org.uk/publications/the-causes-and-cures-of-brexit/ and Brexit Britain is in denial over immigration https://www.politico.eu/article/brexit-britain-is-in-denial-over-immigration/.
It is amazing that our government has allowed itself to be distracted by the Brexit fiasco from tackling what should be its top priority, namely rebuilding the British economy. It is clear that the uncertainty about Brexit is already doing immense damage. The sensible alternatives are to cancel Brexit or give the people a second properly devised and conducted referendum. That requires real leadership.
Britain is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world. The richest 1% of the UK population own more than 20 times the wealth of the poorest fifth. The richest 10% own over half of the country’s total wealth. And 97% of the money in the economy is created by banks, whilst just 3% is created by government https://positivemoney.org/what-we-do/sovereign-money/.
The result is huge and unnecessary debt as my most recent book argues. We need to redesign our banking system so that it serves the economy.
The global economy is changing. USA is putting up barriers. China is no longer willing to be the source of cheap goods or to be the West’s waste dump. It is taking steps to cut pollution. Its economy is slowing and that affects western exports. Russia poses threats and Trump is a wild card. Surely it is a time when it is vital that Britain collaborates with its 27 European neighbours, rather wasting energy with Brexit, a total distraction.
Technology and science have always driven change. The 4th Industrial Revolution offers extraordinary developments in medicine, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. Work will be transformed. It will open up opportunities for greater wellbeing, more rewarding lives and a shorter working week. A Citizens Basic Income http://citizensincome.org/ or Basic Income http://citizensincome.org/ could enable this. We need to ensure that everyone benefits and the revolution does not give even greater power and wealth to the few. The internet has provided free information to everyone and enabled citizens to organise and campaign but it can also produce tragedies https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/dad-girl-who-died-suicide-13894519 and enables crime and terrorism.
Democracy in the UK is in crisis. The chaotic Brexit campaign is a major example. There is a tussle for power between government and parliament and it looks as if parliament is winning as it should – shades of Cromwell’s revolution. There are growing calls for radical reform: a fair voting system, a written constitution, devolution to cities and regions, more democratic parties, more power to citizens and a different way of doing politics https://brucenixonblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/re-imagining-politics/. Citizens need to be well informed for democracy to work. Civic education from an early age is needed.
Citizens are not properly represented in Parliament. In the 2015 general election, Conservatives gained 51% of seats in the House of Commons with the support of only 24% of those eligible to vote. 34% of those eligible to vote did not do so. Of almost 31 million people who voted, 19 million or 63% wasted their vote on a candidate who didn’t win. Of 650 winning candidates, 322 (49%) got less than 50% of the vote in their constituency. Women, with 32% of seats, BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic), are still under-represented. And 16 to 17 year olds have no vote. That they couldn’t vote in the Brexit referendum on the most important decision of their lives is a disgrace.
2018, the centenary of women gaining the vote, has been a great year for women’s rights. There have been many revelations of sexual abuse in the entertainment industry and Parliament and further demands for equality. There are growing numbers of women in top jobs.
Over recent decades we have learned that war does not work. The conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria resulted in wholesale destruction, thousands of civilian deaths and injuries with horrific effects on children. Millions have been displaced within or outside their countries. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the total number of people forcibly displaced by war, conflict and persecution had reached a record 59.5 million at the end of 2014. The UN report, World at War, June 2015 said that forced displacement worldwide has reached unprecedented levels, with a record rise of 8.3 million more displaced people since 2013. Europe faces huge numbers of migrants seeking peace and security. Over 100 million people died in wars during the twentieth century. However since then, deaths in wars have declined. https://www.theguardian.com/education/2002/feb/23/artsandhumanities.highereducation
It is worth noting that far more people are killed in road crashes than in war: 1.24 million in road crashes, 0.44 million in wars and murders (as of 2014). See http://www.progressive-economy.org/trade_facts/traffic-accidents-kill-1-24-million-people-a-year-worldwide-wars-and-murders-0-44-million/ and https://sites.google.com/site/bookreviewsbydrgideonpolya/polya-gideon-body-count-global .
I believe humanity is on a journey. We are evolving and becoming more humane. We are realising that, in our rich diversity, we are all one. And the prevailing energy in the world is love. Today there is a real possibility that war, which has destroyed millions of lives will become a thing of the past. In her book The Business Plan for Peace – Building a World without War, Dr Scilla Elworthy makes the strongest case for ending war and how to do so.
See my Blog https://brucenixonblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/15/blog-review-and-synopsis-of-the-business-plan-for-peace-building-a-world-without-war-by-dr-scilla-elworthy-november-2018/
The good news is that challenges are opportunities. We may be at a great turning point. Change springs out of vision and hope. More people are getting involved. There are more demonstrations and campaigning groups than ever. When great shifts come, they come fast and the old order collapses quickly. Remember the fall of the Berlin Wall. We can create a new world with happier, more fulfilling lives for everyone. We’ll all be more at ease in such a society. It is worth noting that there are always progressive and restraining forces and the latter need to be respected.
A call for greatness. The missing element today is the kind of great leadership that emerged at a critical time during and after World War Two. This will come when ordinary people demand it. It must be enabling leadership. A major obstacle is the disempowerment of ordinary people – feeling that there is nothing they can do. We need greatness at every level of society. We cannot depend on political and corporate leaders to be well-informed or to do the right thing, or the media not to mis-inform and lie. This is the challenge for so-called ordinary people. As Polly Higgins says, we have to “dare to be great” https://www.positive.news/lifestyle/wellbeing/polly-higgins-woman-dares-great/ . As people become better informed and more aware, their values and consciousness change. Systemic change comes when many people do what most matters to them and collaborate.
This website is for people who want to be part of a great transformation. My purpose is to provide you with the inspiration, well researched whole system analysis and proposals and resources to help you in creating the future. You will find fresh ideas, articles, books, events and links to like-minded people who are working for change. I hope you will find this website inspiring and useful. I welcome your feedback.