thank you for your analysis. I would like to start a detailed explanation to address the motivation you see in conformity and dissent. Ain't got the time. I will nevertheless say a few things. Swarmship is the ground for a sustainable society. That is, the need for a flux between conformity and servant leadership. And no, we are not born with the ability to navigate between these two states. That is especially true in our increasingly diversifying and changing world. The consequences are fear/violence, part of our old genetic abilities. Not that they are bad by themselves but if that is all we have... we get... populism and a lot of other nasty 'isms.
I agree that a certain notion of fairness is a sine qua non enabler for tackling the climate crisis. Yet the togetherness need to be rooted deeper, namely in the capacity of the individual to engage constructively with diversity and change. That is possible if we have the abilities to do so and no, we are not born with them, and yes it should be taught in school, and no it is not. Consequently, in my mind, we won't make it if we do not start teaching these abilities in school, starting at the primary school and on. And yes, we ought to teach the trainers, sometimes called teachers, so that they are able to transmit these abilities to students/people and yes it should be part of the curriculum, integrated in all normal subjects (math, language, history, art, sports, etc)m and it should also have it separate place as does math, language, history, art, sports, etc. The acquisition and development of these abilities is of course both ways (teachers to students and students to teachers...P. Freire, yes, basics, but sometimes the obvious need to be said). What saves us is that "getting it" (abilities to engage with diversity and change) is like learning to bike: once you got the idea of the balance you can't loose it :-), you may not be a mountain biker but you "got it". Additional perk: it does not take long to learn to bike, this bike anyway, about a day. A last one, before you consider the task too big to consider: there are a number of positive collaterals which include ethics (to fight corruption), true communication (to fight fake news), transparency (to promote collaboration), creativity (to fight fear). But to go into these goes beyond this Space&Time.
OECD has contributed enormously to global regulatory harmonization since 1995. In spite of this work, and the lukewarm FAO participation, the actual lack of harmonization is one of the main key bottlenecks to food, human, and environmental safety. Yet, countries continue to work independently (even in the EU in spite of various harmonization laws) in a nationalistic way that has nothing to do with safety, but more with abuse of power and populism. For the G7 countries, this means that most new safer plant health products can not be used which leads to trade irritants, and food destruction (for example EU's RASFF), or simply to the continued use of products that threatened human and environmental safety. For all other countries, this leads to a more dramatic lack of food and environmental safety and reduced or absence of trade, all incompatible with the SDGs.
Your words "doing more with less" are a perfect fit in this case, where true global regulatory harmonization would provide the critically needed paradigm shift to allow agriculture production and trade to be the economic powerhouse they need to be.
We, (my wife and colleague for over the last 35 years) have worked with the OECD as civil servants for 10 years, and for the last 10 years as consultants in Europe, Africa, South and North America, and less in Asia. Although we reach somewhere, we are barely making a difference.
Would you be interested in a zoom session of max 1 hour, in which we could explain where we are in our regulatory harmonization process and consider what it would take to "do a lot more with a lot less" and attain the so-called "easy to reach apple" that can feed the world, in a sustainable way. This is not a marketing argument, just the outcome of 35 years of experience from two passionate regulatory and government advisors.
Jacques & Imme
thank you very much for your thoughts and wish and expectations. There are well on track. May I bring something that in my experience is critical for academics coming out of higher education institutions. We come out with knowledge and a limited degree of experience with is well counterbalanced by creativity and passion. What we are not prepared to deal with is corruption. We get a job, a salary and a level of security that takes our breath away (although we do not say it :-) Then bit by bit we are asked to do things that are not really ethical. Nothing illegal at first, just border line ethical. Then the salary and position goes up and we are asked more and more to do things that are down right unethical, if not illegal. This downward spiral is difficult to stop as it often involves the well-being of family and friends. I have been in high government positions and industry, and this is the case everywhere for everybody I know close enough that is willing to discuss openly. Based on having done it, what is needed is a training on how to act and live ethically without loosing your job (and in certain countries, your life). In fact, the implementation of this can become the basis of a different type of success, one healthier. To count on the magnanimity of your boss is not real nor when you think about it, responsible. Therefore, from where I stand, when it comes to the transition tool from the educational to work period (acknowledging that learning is a life's task), I put training in taking ethical decisions upfront as one of the most needed training if we are to fulfill the SDGs, which are by the way, the only way we are going to make it as a species, at least the one we like to call humane humanity.
Thank you for your article. Just a small note... A few of your key phrases "Governments must make the case to their citizens that security at home requires co-operation abroad" and "All governments could do better by balancing autonomy and agility at the local level with national level co-ordination." will deliver in relation with the people they represent. The degree of world citizenship or cross-culturality is the foundation, the material with which societies evolve. The problem is that these cross-cultural abilities have not been taught in many societies and we are definitely not born with them. We may be born "open to diversity" but several cultures teach that monoculture is the only way to survive. If we do not consciously change this monoculturalisation than we can only hope for your worst scenario. I, for one, work to train anyone who wants to shape a more humane society. This is so to speak our legacy.
Une meillleure gestion d'une remondialisation dépend de ses constituents: les citoyens. J'ai vécu plusieurs années sur chacun de trois continents. Je suis un Canadian marié avec une allemande. Nous avons vécu en Suisse, à Madagascar, au Canada, et en Allemagne. Jamais je ne dirai que je suis un citoyen global accompli en raison de la complexité du processus. Par contre, je ne fais que rencontrer des politiciens, des académiciens (they are the worst), des hommes d'affaires et des citoyens qui se voient et se percoivent comme citoyen global. Cette fausse perception est probablement le blocage central pour que nous soyons en mesure de créer une nouvelle globalisation plus humaine. Aucune structure, aucun système politique, aucune théorie économique ne peut délivrer ce monde globalisé plus humain. Si nous ne reconnaissons pas que chacun de nous se doit d'apprendre ces abilités, nous ne chercherons pas à la acquérir. Si nous devenons conscients de cette lacune dans chacun de nous, peut-être qu'avec l'aide d'une nouvelle éthique, d'une nouvelle résilience, d'une nouvelle transparence, d'une nouvelle conscience du bien commun, et si chacun de nous débute son éducation pour acquérir les abilités d'un citoyen global, peut-être arriverons-nous à modeler cette globalisation plus humaine. Les maîtres actuels ne laisserons pas leur place de bon gré mais les qualités décrites plus hautes sont amplement suffisante pour maintenir les abuseurs là où ils doivent être et qui sait, peut-être même arriver à changer certains d'entre eux. Cet apprentissage n'est pas nouveau. Il y quelques approches. Celle que je pratique et transmet à ceux qui se trouvent autour de moi s'appelle cross-culture. Ma profession actuelle est l'harmonisation des règlements phytosanitaires dans le monde mais mon héritage et celui de ma partenaire des 37 dernières années, est d'offrir une opportunité à tous ceux qui le veulent, de pratiquer ces abilités de citoyen global, un mélange de pratique de choc social, de résilience, et d'adaptabilité. Le tout en évitant tout expression de violence, bien entendu , redéfinissant le faux pouvoir (ex. authoritarianism) en la notion de "servant leader" et de "Swarmship. Désolé les expression françaises me manquent.
Voilà, et pour en savoir plus: www.idrgculture.eu
Meilleures Salutations et un bon système immunitaire!
thank you for this work. It provides facts and critical elements for a humane and creative path forward. I would like to add that the two-way functionality of integration has been a long development for those who have been dealing with the one-way development for the last 70 years. It is sad that most of those I refer to, governmental and NGOs "aid" institutions are still at the one-way communication level. But the purpose of my comments is to say that a few, like the Swiss Cooperation (SDC) ( and no I am not Swiss but Canadian), have developed approaches to train individuals in acquiring cross-cultural abilities (eye-level communication and cooperation on a level playing field). This is what all individuals need to acquire in our exponentially globalizing world.
I see cross-cultural training as an education staple like mathematics, and grammar. After being trained by the SDC 34 years ago, my colleague and I kept developing the approach in tandem with our global regulatory harmonization work in agriculture. We trained the army, the police, teachers in Canada, a bit as our legacy, convinced of the importance for all individuals to acquire these abilities if we are to make it as a species. We are now in Germany, where in parallel to our international regulatory harmonization work, we train teachers and any individuals interested in meeting diversity with creativity instead of fear and anger. The point is, there are not enough of us doing the field work, especially those who have difficulties to engage with diversity, yet, as we all know globalization is like gravity. The option we have is to make it a more humane and face the fact that none of us have the needed attributes, yet. If you can help...
- What would a New Societal Contract look like? There are country specific aspects and there are global aspects. For the global aspects certain powers have to be at a global level to have meaning. A new societal contract would have to be made by world citizens (with the capacity to think, plan and act global). This means planning and implementing not for a country, not for a religion, not for an elite, etc. but for earth citizen. Does it really take the arrival of alien for us to feel earthlings and save our home? A value-based system where the culture of an area has an important role to play but where cronyism, wealth, and violence are not the drivers. The weight put on knowledge, passion, courage, knowledge, empathy, etc. would be cultural specific.
- How can we prepare for Digitalisation and the Future of Work? (i) Exploring and implementing true transparency, (ii) Creating a level playing field, globally to allow for the best solutions to be used, (iii) Giving the chance for and valuing individuals who can create and implement a human digitalisation, that is individuals with the abilities of a global citizen. This of course will need to be define and redefined and reredefined and that's not only OK but needed.
- Why is International co-operation important for our time? (i) Several critical issues of our time are at a earth level, although implementation may be local, tackling them at a country level creates an un-level playing field which is the main barrier to sustainability (including attaining the SDGs) and a humane world, (ii) Globalization is more than ever like gravity (Annan), that is, it is a loss of energy to fight it, therefore we ought to prepare ourselves to manage a humane globalization and that asks for cooperation, where the goal is not anymore to achieve a compromise between A and B, but a cooperation where we create C together where all get 100% of what they want as oppose to the crude notion of compromise, (iii) all this needs two things to work a) a better wealth distribution which will lower the chance for a people/country to choose violent/socio-pathological leaders (See the no asshole rule by Sutton), teach in schools the abilities needed to nurture diversity, ethics, empathy,etc., teaching aspects we have eliminated 30 years ago from our school systems, worldwide, thinking that this would give us a focused workforce. How wrong we were is shown by where we are. And a few other aspects that would be beyond the scope of this comment :-)
I think an obvious one is the protection of earth (global warming, pollution, etc). The next one is about sharing wealth (proportional tax scheme and no hidden harbor). Another one would be security, and yes, I know it is a very sensitive one but with time and the rolling out effect of wealth sharing, some aspects of security will be shared regionally and later globally (in which security will mean something else that what we now understand), making it more and more difficult to use violence for power. I think that education is one but although it is one that is already underway (there are sometimes more differences within a country than between countries), I would suggest we need to add a brand new field to support the individual development of global citizenship values. We are well beyond families, tribes, and nations (although some feel obliged to defend these notions with violence), but we do not have as earthlings what it takes to think global. Without these abilities to think global we can not find global solutions and we keep bouncing back to our tribal mono-cultural imagined security and understanding. And, then the list will grow, as it should, but it is meaningless now to make it grow :-)