Authoritative new study sets out a grim vision of shortages and violence – but amid all the gloom, there is some hope too
Backed by a diverse range of leading organisations such as Unesco, the World Bank, the US army and the Rockefeller Foundation, the 2009 State of the Future report runs to 6,700 pages and draws on contributions from 2,700 experts around the globe. Its findings are described by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN, as providing "invaluable insights into the future for the United Nations, its member states, and civil society".
An effort on the scale of the Apollo mission that sent men to the Moon is needed if humanity is to have a fighting chance of surviving the ravages of climate change. The stakes are high, as, without sustainable growth, "billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse".
The impact of the global recession is a key theme, with researchers warning that global clean energy, food availability, poverty and the growth of democracy around the world are at "risk of getting worse due to the recession". The report adds: "Too many greedy and deceitful decisions led to a world recession and demonstrated the international interdependence of economics and ethics."
Although the future has been looking better for most of the world over the past 20 years, the global recession has lowered the State of the Future Index for the next 10 years. Half the world could face violence and unrest due to severe unemployment combined with scarce water, food and energy supplies and the cumulative effects of climate change.
Jerome Glenn, director of the Millennium Project and one of the report's authors, said: "There are answers to our global challenges, but decisions are still not being made on the scale necessary to address them. Three great transitions would help both the world economy and its natural environment – to shift as much as possible from freshwater agriculture to saltwater agriculture; produce healthier meat without the need to grow animals; and replace gasoline cars with electric cars."
Let op de voorzichtig geformuleerde notie dat er wellicht een verband moet komen 'tussen ethiek en economie'! Vraag: hoe gaan we ethiek inbakken on onze financiele wereldorde? Kan dat uberhaubt wel? Is niet de huidige financiele wereldorde juist gebouwd op de vaststelling (F. Hayek, M. Friedman, e.a.) dat in een gezonde economie ethiek geen rol moet spelen? Wat hebben we de afgelopen 50 jaar dan gedaan met zijn allen? Een blundertje gemaakt, nietwaar?!