Saturday 14 March 2015

Global Integrators--5

Global Disintegration
The Precarious Exploitation of People-Planet
Universal Declaration of Human Rights-shattered.
Monument on the border dividing Nicosia, Cyprus.

We think that the time is coming for a diversity of colleagues to come together intentionally, visibly, and practically on behalf of global integration (GI). GI put simply is how we skillfully integrate our lives and values on behalf of the issues facing humanity. Likewise we think that the time is coming for colleagues to carefully reflect and act on what it means to be good global learners-practitioners--to seriously consider what it means to be what we are calling global integrators (GI-People).
The only thing necessary for disintegration to happen,
 at any level of society, is for people to do nothing—
or to exploit others…

Global integration is what helps to safeguard us all from global disintegration.  Global integrators, as defined in these entries, have crucial roles to play in counteracting disintegration as they “integrate their skills and values on behalf of the major problems facing humanity.”

Here are five realities, among others, that seriously undermine the world community’s efforts to promote wellbeing and sustainable development for all people, including the estimated 1.5 billion “multi-dimensional poor.” Perhaps at the core of all five of these disintegration realities is exploitation at all levels of society:  fundamentally, people exploiting people.

1.       Complacency—business as usual, denial, oblivion, someone else’s responsibility
2.       Conflicts –protracted and new human security threats, interpersonal violence
3.       Consumption—consumerism, lifestyle maintenance
4.       Corruption—moral sickness at all levels, including cover ups, complicity and cowardice to act
5.       Climate change—related to the threat to many “planetary boundaries”

The Human Development Report 2014 lists many of the issues, challenges, and opportunities for countering what we are calling “disintegration” and for promoting wellbeing and sustainable development.  The theme this year is Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience (United nations Development Program). Consider the opening quotes, which highlight the precarious state of human affairs:

“As successive Human Development Reports have shown, most people in most countries have been doing steadily better in human development. Advances in technology, education and incomes hold ever-greater promise for longer, healthier, more secure lives. Globalization has on balance produced major human development gains, especially in many countries of the South.

But there is also a widespread sense of precariousness in the world today—in livelihoods, in personal security, in the environment and in global politics. High achievements on critical aspects of human development, such as health and nutrition, can quickly be undermined by a natural disaster or economic slump. Theft and assault can leave people physically and psychologically impoverished. Corruption and unresponsive state institutions can leave those in need of assistance without recourse. Political threats, community tensions, violent conflict, neglect of public health, environmental damages, crime and discrimination all add to individual and community vulnerability.

Real progress on human development, then, is not only a matter of enlarging people’s critical choices and their ability to be educated, be healthy, have a reasonable standard of living and feel safe. It is also a matter of how secure these achievements are and whether conditions are sufficient for sustained human development. An account of progress in human development is incomplete without exploring and assessing vulnerability.” (Overview, page 1, bold font added for emphasis)

1. The Overview is 12 pages and provides a quick, helpful summary of the full report (225 pages). 
2. See page 21 of the full Report for a description of six “shocks and threats to human development”—realities that are both sources and results of “disintegration.” 
3. Click here to watch the two minute summary of the launch of  the Report.

4. For some more perspectives on development, watch the four minute animated piece below: "A Modern Tale of Risk and Opportunity.

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