359. UN report on need for visions.

March 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is quite excellent. Very GardenWorld.

Other worlds are possible
Other Worlds are Possible – the new economics foundation

This report argues that our chances of triumphing over climate change will rise dramatically if we change the context within which we ‘fght its fre’. More than that, it suggests that we are already surrounded by a sleeping architecture of better ways to organise our economies, communities and livelihoods. We have, in fact, much more choice about our collective economic future than we have been led to believe. The challenge, it seems, is now clear, and many of the solutions known. The task is to act.

In October 2004, Up in smoke? the frst report from the UK Working Group on Climate Change and Development, warned that climate change threatened a great reversal of human progress. It created a united call for action from environment and development groups and identifed three overarching challenges:
1  How to stop and reverse further climate change.
2  How to live with the degree of climate change that cannot be stopped.
3  How to design a new model for human progress and development that is climate proof and climate friendly and gives everyone a fair share of the natural resources on which we all depend.

Whilst great furries of activity now surround the frst and, to a lesser degree, the
second of these questions, it is the third which remains neglected. If anything, as the world struggles to recover from a major economic recession, the opposite is happening. From the banking sector to high street consumerism in rich countries, there appears to be a rush to return to business as usual. It as is if policy-makers and
commentators fnd it impossible to imagine a world fundamentally different, and better, than the one we already have. Yet the danger is that, without deeply rethinking our economic system to deliver good lives which do not cost the Earth, we will end up with a world much worse than the one we have.

A narrowing of visions

‘Development’ should mean different things in different places and cultural settings. It should describe a plurality of ways of seeing and interacting with a complex and varied world, itself shaped by diverse political and economic agendas. It should be a diffcult word to defne because its meaning changes across time and space.
Unfortunately, however, it is not. If anything, it has come to mean something uniform – a one-path-fts-all trajectory for societies, regardless of place, culture and circumstance. A narrow economic defnition of the term has come to dominate; its
meaning largely set by industrialised countries to favour their own economic interests.
But, this report is not an attempt to produce a singly alternative manifesto to
business-as-usual; it is an argument for plurality of development models. We have
the unprecedented challenge of meeting human need in the face of climate change,
resource scarcity and a deeply troubled world economy. To this upheaval, there is
unlikely to be a single other answer.

We are confdent, however, of the urgent need to use different models. In that light, the report is an invitation to consider them, to begin to think more creatively and
openly about how to organise human affairs on a planet whose life support systems are stressed by our presence. And what, anyway, is the meaning of development, if it undermines the very life-support systems upon which we depend. At the very least, we are convinced that no one-size-fts-all economic approach is viable any longer.

Summary and introduction
The faith in ‘development’ can no longer escape criticism, not only because it justifes huge increases in social inequality, but because it has become dangerous, by compromising everybody’s future

Gilbert Rist, author of The history of development

This is not a time for conventional thinking or outdated dogma but for fresh and innovative intervention that gets to the heart of the problem.
UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, October 2008

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