Inside This Issue

ARTICLE | | BY Winston P. Nagan

Winston P. Nagan

Gerald Gutenschwager has written a profound piece in a short compass, which is additionally sweeping in its reach. I would suggest that “Determinism and Reification: The Twin Pillars of the Amoral Society” should be read by as many Fellows of the World Academy as possible. Gutenschwager has looked at two concepts that have constrained human thought. These are the concepts of Determinism and Reification. When these forms of restraint on thinking are dominant as they have been throughout the course of human history, they have a profound effect on the role of human thought in the business of human-choice-making in terms of fundamental interests and rights. The most insidious effect of these limits on thought is that they in effect expropriate the capacity for the full development of human-centered ethics and morals. Gutenschwager sagaciously points out that a segment of society benefits from these restraints while the rest is largely victimized by it. He draws attention to the notion of the role of the bully in human social processes historically and contemporaneously. The bully can’t function without regard to the restraints of morality and ethics. In short, the bully thrives on an atmosphere of amorality. There is an obvious analogy here regarding Lasswell’s development of the power-oriented personality, which he described in terms of private motives displaced on public objects and rationalizing the public interest. The role of the bully in whatever guise ultimately undermines the development of democracy. Gutenschwager explores the anthropological dimensions of these developments as well as the role of positivism in shaping and giving effect to both reification and determinism. Gutenschwager quotes Nietzsche that those who benefit from reification or determinism “prefer a handful of certainty to a whole cartload of beautiful possibilities”. Gutenschwager provides a powerful critique of the role of economics in the generation and sustaining of an amoral society. In this regard, his giving attention to predatory capitalism, whose contemporary outcomes represent oligarchy and plutocracy, is extremely timely. His critique of Adam Smith is especially insightful. The profoundly important point in Gutenschwager’s contribution is the salience of human thinking and the importance of the freedom of thought for the human future. This is a highly intelligent and compelling contribution.

Breaking Free: Bringing the Overview Effect to Work and Life is an important compliment and amplification of Gutenschwager’s article summarized above. In this article, Charles Smith starts with an insight called “the overview effect” appropriated from Frank White, author of The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution. In viewing the earth from the vantage point of space, those observers undergo fleeting moments of transcendence in that they see themselves and the complex communities inhabiting the Earth in a pattern of complete interdependence from top to bottom and bottom to top. This reminds one of the foundations of configurative thinking explored by former WAAS president Harold Lasswell. Configurative thinking requires the vantage point of an observer with a capacity to observe the whole and the multitude of its parts and particulars connected to the whole. The challenge of configurative thinking is that such an approach commits the exploration of any phenomenon at mercurial levels of particularity, and yet extrapolated in the context of the larger whole. This is similar to Smith’s idea that such a vantage point observes “the whole of a system as greater than the sum of its parts”. Additionally, Smith grapples with the idea that those who experience the overview effect are involved in the rest of the community. In Smith’s words, “they experience themselves as fully connected to the world around them, not separate form it… they and the system are made of one whole cloth, even though this experience is far too complex to explain, the experience infuses the participator with energy, vitality and creativity, which is infectious.” There is a profound sense of responsibility in this. In short, the process of thinking generated in this experience requires not linear thinking, but configurative thinking. Smith goes on to explore the elements that facilitate the breaking-free process of the overview effect. These are matters of cognitive dissonance, energetic awareness, escape velocity and collective intelligence. The central feature of Smith’s exploration is that it involves deliberation of the mind and the expansion of the boundaries of consciousness. The expansion of these boundaries represents an important step in the potential and possibilities of human capital for the improvement of the human prospect. This is a profoundly important and brilliant article.

Federico Mayor’sHigher Education, Cornerstone of the New Era” is a brilliant and far reaching challenge to the future of higher education and the formidable challenges of social responsibility that its future must inevitably embrace. Mayor has provided us with a powerful insight into the interdependence of higher education values and human rights. It is surprising that over 50 years after the adoption of the UN charter and the sterling work of UNESCO, the commitment to human rights and higher education is not yet universally embraced. This is a brief but compelling and brilliant statement of the challenge and its importance to the improvement of world order.

John Avery’s article, “The Future of International Law,” is an important contribution to an interesting topic that seeks to engage non-technical intellectuals who are not jurisprudes or lawyers. What he has done is to provide us with a historical gloss on some of the most important events that have inspired the modern international law concept. Unfortunately, the editor is an international lawyer, and realizes that there is a necessity for a broader and non-technical appreciation of the role of law in the evolution of society. This therefore is not for the technical legal expert but for the fellows who are not trained in this way. In this sense, it is an excellent introduction to the field.

Mladen Staničić and Josip Sapunar have written a timely and profoundly interesting paper titled “EU between Monetarism and Keynesianism”, triggered in part by the Greek economic crisis. They see the problem as ultimately requiring a prudential integration of both monetarism and Keynesianism. They draw attention to the fact that the EU approach to globalization represents an element of political inequality for states that are less developed within the EU. Imposing economic measures inspired by monetarism, they have reduced themselves to radical posterity. These measures do not account for the political integrity and stability of these weaker developed states. However, the consequences of radical austerity tend to promote radical instability and in effect, radically weaken the autonomy of the weaker state. The authors insist that the EU approach this kind of problem with political realism as well as technical economic argument. This is an important and far reaching suggestion and it remains to be seen how this will evolve within the political economy of the European Union. It is a piece well-worth reading.

In “Introduction to the New Paradigm of Political Economic TheoryWinston Nagan recommends a framework for the future based on new paradigm thinking. This short article provides a clear and a simple description of the fundamental paradigms of classical and neoclassical theories of economic thinking. The author emphasizes the dire need for new economic thinking and focuses on the centrality of human capital as a critical foundation for economic prosperity. The new politico-economic theory, he adds, must be human centered and seek to address the whole society in a comprehensive manner. This is an important contribution that seeks to go beyond old paradigmatic thought and embrace a new economic theory that is transnational, holistic, integrated and values-based. – Comment by Garry Jacobs, Editorial Board Member, Eruditio.

In “Collabocracy: Collaborative Intelligence and Governance of Globalised Society,” Dimitar Tchurovsky explores the interrelationship between the brain, thinking, and the organization of intelligence. In his view, intelligence is the foundation for making decisions. He distinguishes between individual, collective and collaborative intelligence. It is when human beings engage in collaborative intelligence that they improve the capacity for responsible and effective decision making in the common interest. The theme of intelligence and decision making has of course been explored by other Fellows of the Academy. They have emerged with a breakdown that has similarities to this paper. Although our Fellows have insisted that intelligence begins with problem identification and then requires a mastery of at least five intellectual tasks that inform decision making, be it individual, collective or collaborative. In sum, the problem requires intellectual skills in goal clarification, and an appreciation of historic trend, an understanding of conditions which inspire problems and which inspire possible solutions, the capacity to predict consequences of decision making intervention or the lack of it, and the imagining of creative alternatives for solving the problem. Both of these approaches have important ramifications for a deeper understanding of global governance and decision making and this article adds to the store of knowledge of this important area.

Hazel Henderson’s contribution, “Reforming Electronic Markets and Trading”, underscores the vital importance of integrity and fair dealing in the stock exchange and the impact of high-frequency trading (HFT). High-frequency trading brings high-tech electronics into the mechanisms of investments in the market. As Henderson points out, there have been substantial losses to investors and to a large extent these appear to be attributable to the operators of high-frequency trading. The importance of the piece, together with other contributions, is that transparency is virtually nonexistent for the prudent institutional investor, and therefore the investor proceeds in a blindfolded manner. Worse still, the controllers of the technology are far ahead of the governmental regulators in the security exchange commission. In part, this is the result of the Republican effort to starve the agency of funding and personnel to effectively police this component of the private sector. Henderson’s contribution provides many thoughtful insights from insiders into the problem, its dangers and the prospect of reforms that are meaningful. This is an extremely important piece of the puzzle of the new economic paradigm.

Robert J. Berg has anticipated an important discourse that is about to take place within the World Academy of Art & Science. That discourse concerns the aspiration of the Academy to forge an intellectual and scientific climate receptive to paradigm change. In his work, “Remarks on Visions of Sustainable Development: Theory and Action”, he underscores the point that a shift in the paradigm is no simple matter and needs to explore complex methods in evolving multiple trajectories of change in search of the solutions necessary for constructive paradigm change. He is particularly concerned about the complicated interrelationship of sustainable development and climate change. His article notes that there is an urgent necessity for an integrated social science that may serve as an intellectual foundation to responsibly grapple with the options implicated in paradigm change in this context. His article implies that we are far from any kind of unification of the social sciences to facilitate this objective. This is a good and challenging paper and worthy of considered thought.

The human right to peace is a matter that has been seriously advanced within the UN Human Rights Council. Although it seems obvious ideologically that the commitment to the universalization of a human right to peace is uncontroversial, that is not the case. In the 20th century an international organization known as the League of Nations was created. One of the problems it sought to address was the claim competence of territorial sovereign states to have unrestrained control of where and when force would be used in international affairs. This system of anarchy essentially resulted in the outbreak of the tragedy we call the Great War. Statesmen such as Wilson and Smuts promoted the idea that there needed to be an international organization that could more effectively manage issues of international security on a global basis. The League failed because the sovereign states insisted that any binding decision taken by the League had to have the consent of every sovereign state. In short, the sovereign wanted to wage war they could simply repudiate unanimity by going to war. The breakdown of the League coincided with World War II. Since the development of the UN Charter peace has been a major objective of the UNO. However, a precise linkage of peace as a universalizable human right has de ed the unanimity of sovereign consensus. Christian Guillermet-Fernández and David Christian Fernández Puyana have given us a careful update of the state of current negotiations in the efforts of the human rights council negotiators to secure a Declaration on the right to peace in their report “Analysis and Assessment of the Right to Peace in light of the latest developments at the Human Rights Council”. The report that they give is tantalizing and promising. It does appear that the last few steps are possibly in reach that might present a global consensus of sovereign states. Still sovereigns are tough on even small matters. We shall have to await the outcome of these promising negotiations with keen anticipation.

In this contribution of Michael Marien, “Sustainability, Past and Future: Ten Propositions on the Emerging Organizational Macro-System”, he has produced a toured force of the literature dealing with sustainability and climate change. Marien has summarized virtually all the major works from the 1960s to the present. He has then sought to integrate this mountain of information in ten propositions, each of which will require a focus of attention from organizations like the World Academy of Art & Science. In these ten propositions, he poses vital questions that might have been obscured by a simple overview of the torrent of literature. One of the important issues that he addresses are the vast number of non-governmental entities involved in various components of sustainability advocacy. He also draws attention to the multitude of UN agencies that are tasked with various aspects of sustainability. It is impossible to summarize his ten points without simply repeating them here, so the reader is advised to review them critically and to consider how these propositions might shape the World Academy’s interest in sustainability and climate change. The editor, however, has to congratulate Mike Marien for this tremendously informative update that will surely inform the distinguished Fellows of the Academy.

Michael Marien has provided us with an important review of the literature of the emerging eld of ecological economics in his book review. He rightly senses that the importance of a political economy founded on the existential reality of ecological phenomenon probably has the capacity to reshape foundations of modern economics. Because of its radical contextuality, it would seem to be a complement to the search for a new theory of economics which is being explored by several Fellows of the Academy. Marien underscores ten central features of humanity’s current existential dilemma and its ecological challenges. He then provides us with a historical overview of the development of ecological economics. He underlines the fundamental principles and direction of ecological economics and explores the institutional challenge and policy scenarios that it challenges. This is another extremely useful article and a must read for our Fellows interested in the development of a new theory of global political economy.

About the Author(s)

Winston P. Nagan

Chairman, Board of Trustees, World Academy of Art & Science; Director, Institute for Human Rights, Peace and Development, University of Florida