In This Issue

“The Role of Academies” is a brief history of the Academies and one of the most concise and insightful commentaries on the role of Academies in the march of civilization and progress. It is concise, densely packed, and loaded with challenging historical insights. Ivo Šlaus’ overview of Global Academies is brief, but rich in insight. Šlaus has been a world leader in seeking not only to advance the agenda of the World Academy of Art and Science, but in reaching out to all sister Academies, world-wide, in seeking to forge a global web of connections to confront the great problems and challenges of our times.

“The Struggle for Justice in the Civil Rights March from Selma to Montgomery” is re-printed from an article that the author has published in the Faulkner Law Review. It was based on a key-note address he gave to commemorate the Civil Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, a march that highlighted the civil rights quest for social justice. In this article, Winston Nagan locates the dynamics of the claim for justice by the civil rights marches in the Magna Carta and the evolution of the rule of law idea in the common law system of justice. The article highlights the fact that the Magna Carta, although written for a community steeped in futile values, nonetheless contained concepts and ideas critical to the notion of justice that continued to endure over 1,000 years after the Magna Carta was imposed upon the English Sovereign. From the perspective of the World Academy the central message of the Magna Carta was its repudiation of Sovereign Absolutism. In various forms this remains a great challenge for a new paradigm of global governors. The article highlights the importance of judges who were professionally skilled, independent and competent in permitting the endurance of the rule of law as a challenge to sovereign absolutism. The march from Selma to Montgomery was a celebration of the idea of protest by non-violent strategies of action. In this regard, change came about from the top, from the middle and from the bottom. A crucial element in the change was a brave federal judge Frank Johnson ruled that the marchers had a right to march and petition for a redress of grievances. The article draws attention to the inspiration given by religious values and draws on the insights of physicist David Bohm. Bohm addresses that meaning is also being human.

John Scales Avery has provided us with a useful, short and punchy overview of the multitude of serious crises that confront humanity and contain the seeds of a possible extinction of human species in his article, “Institutional and Cultural Inertia”. He attributes global failure to adequately respond to these crises and sees the lack of response as rooted in a form of institutional inertia. He also hints at the reasons for inertia which are partly related to sovereign absolutism and the growth of a global plutocracy. This suggests that enlightened thinkers such as those in the World Academy of Art and Science must be more realistic in their responses to the dangers of institutional inertia. Avery also suggests, that religious conservatism conspires to strengthen an inertia resistant to change and he also draws attention to the Santa Claus culture of high consumption which does not enhance more reflective human expectations about the crises we face. Avery’s focus on factors that strengthen inertia is an important arena for further and informed discourse.

Donato Kiniger-Passigli & Anna Biondi have written an important paper about the role of human responsibility collectively, as humanity approaches the looming crisis that could promise a disastrous extinction of life as we know it. In their article, “A People-centered, Preventive Approach to Disaster Risk,” they particularly look at the importance of more collaborative relationships between workers and employers and review the toolkit within the International Labor Organization (ILO) process to facilitate an inclusive person-centered cooperative approach to human intervention to save the planet from itself.

“Priming Political Leaders for Fateful Choices” is a short piece, but its fundamental message cuts to the heart of the reason for being in the World Academy of Art and Science. What drives Yehezkel Dror is that the impact of science on our environment will soon be giving us unprecedented challenges, huge opportunities and even catastrophic dangers. And here, the World Academy with its commitment to exploring the policy implications and social consequences of all forms of knowledge is challenged. What Dror wishes to explore is how knowledge and scientific advances with their promises and threats may be brought to the attention of political leaders and highly-placed civil servants. This remains a challenge because the political culture still seems to be insulated from the intellectual and scientific culture and its important knowledge base.

The article, “Social Capital and the New Paradigm Thinking” is from a presentation given by Winston Nagan at the Almaty Conference, Kazakhstan last year. In this article, Nagan explains the importance of human capital seen from the perspective of the individual in the global community. The exploration of the foundations of human capital permits the exploration of human capital in terms of social capital. The central issue of social capital is that it reproduces value beyond the limiting frames of cognition of conventional economic theory. Nagan identifies nine fundamental values that are a function of human interaction and involve both the shaping and the sharing of such values in the aggregate. The critical challenge then, for a new paradigm, is the social weight and value that is attached to the nine values represented in the model that it presents.

“Value Creation: The role of values in improving organizational performance” by Leon Miller approaches the problem of social capital from a more conventional economic perspective. Miller argues that there is now an emerging perspective of value theory in economic discourse that sees an important relation between economic and social value. The insights that emerge from this development come from a sub-field, organizational theory and organizational theory stresses the idea of the co-creation of value. This brings at least, partly, a social process component although somewhat limited, to organizational behavior. Essentially, these developments seek to move economic theory from the heartless world of the market to the more empathetic dimension of human relationships. Among the issues recognized are the salience of humanistic psychology and the importance of creating shared value. These developments are highly promising and much of this should be integrated into the new paradigm thinking theory.

In “Saint Catherine and the Free Market System: The (Historic) Roots of the Current Crisis”, Gerald Gutenschwager has provided us with a creative and perhaps novel way to examine the endurance of market reification. He does this in part by looking at the historical memorial that is the legacy of St. Catherine and whether St. Catherine did or did not exist, there exist a store of reified beliefs which have sustained the myths surrounding St. Catherine’s life and death. Gutenschwager is particularly interested in the way in which humanistic impulses in human social process have tended to be divorced from the culture of capitalism. Hence, the market conspires to give a society driven by loneliness, greed and fear. To the extent that market theory is mechanistic in the Newtonian sense it represents values that undermine human capacity for a range of other values that make us truly human. Gutenschwager challenges social science to recognize that we are not only studying society as it is but our very studies are an instrumental act of recreating social process. Painful as this analysis is, it points to the important thinking barriers that undermine the cooperative capacity of human beings and the importance of cooperation in social relations.

Janani Harish has written a thoughtful and insightful piece titled “Challenges and Opportunities.” She explores the notion that the communication of bad news or unhappy events can stimulate good and innovative responses to them and this can happen in multiple spheres of human relations. The editor suspects that this is an implicit gloss on the idea promoted by John Dewey that learning begins with a problem and reflective thinking, stimulated by the problem, generates solutions to the challenge posed by the problem. In short, a crisis necessarily provokes action in the form of problem solving. The article provides useful illustrations of her perspective.

Frederico Mayor in his essay, “Urgent: A New Era, New Solutions” combines realism with an acute sense of grasping those opportunities that move humanity in a constructive direction. As in his earlier essay he is particularly concerned that every opportunity be explored for the universalization of democracy at every level of social organization. Central to the evolution of a democratic global political culture is the importance of the promotion and defense of human rights on a universal basis. Mayor strongly supports the efforts of WAAS and likeminded organizations to actively endorse the critical importance of citizen participation and by implication a recognition of the salience of human capital inherent in this. This essay by Mayor is a powerful expression of the possibilities and the necessities of a new paradigm agenda.

Naomi Klein is a deep thinker who generates profound insights and unsettling contributions to the state of well-being on a planetary basis. Her most recent book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate” is reviewed in “What Could Change Everything?” by Michael Marien, who himself has a masterful knowledge of the cascade of literature touching on climate change and its implications for humanity. Klein’s new book takes a frontal look at the implications of the dominant version of capitalism and its effects on climate change. Her position is far reaching and challenging, and indeed unsettling. Her approach in fact lends credence to the assumptions behind the Academy’s new paradigm thinking.

Antonio Machado has given us an impressively insightful article titled “The Relevance of Infodynamics: From the Biosphere to the Psychosphere”. He challenges us with the prospect that the intellectually separable mind, the psychosphere, is a matter that has implications that go beyond nature as we now understand it [the Biosphere]. The implications of this view are suggested in the piece and imply an important future discourse at least, within the World Academy.

John Scales Avery has given us a timely reminder of the intellectual and moral roots that went into the founding of the World Academy. Clearly, issues of war and nuclear weapons greatly influenced the founders of the Academy. “Remember your Humanity” also gives us a timely reminder when the threats of war and a nuclear catastrophe are as real today as it was at the time that the Academy was founded. Avery reminds us how great wars may start with insignificant operations, he also reminds us of the lethality of technological advances such as the machine gun. Finally, he draws our attention to the tragedy visited on Marshall Islands and others which served as nuclear weapons test sites. He draws our attention to the current state of litigation and it appears that it will continue before the International Court of Justice. The implications here seem to be that perhaps the World Academy should be involved in pressing these matters legally.

Thaddeus C. (Ted) Trzyna has provided us an interesting piece, “Integrating Ideas and Organizations toward a New Paradigm” on the concerns with excessive disciplinary specialization and the imperatives of interdisciplinary communication as essential to the shaping of humanity’s vision for the future. He fruitfully explores the practical implications of knowledge integration.

In “Peace on Earth at last”, Federico Mayor has given us a powerful endorsement of the idea that humanity might progress to a world of universal peace. He recognizes the factors which have changed conditions for ordinary people and that the information revolution provides us with an information base that permits us to generate challenges in real time. Mayor provides us with a strong endorsement of the role and responsibility for mobilizing scientific, academic and artistic leadership that is to say the role of an intellectual responsibility of seizing the defense and promotion of the possibilities of progressive change on a global basis. Mayor draws attention to lost opportunities, which obviously we can learn from and underscores the importance of vigilance in limiting the forces of reaction who appear to promote a dismal objective for humanity. The realism of his approach is married to the identification of real opportunities for a peaceful, progressive future. Fundamental to his approach is the universalizing of democracy and even more importantly, visualizing a new paradigm for a new world order.

Pieter J.D. Drenth explores the question of the obligation of scientists in “Institutional Dealing with Scientific Misconduct”. This is a matter of recognizing the importance of non-state regulatory codes of conduct, rooted in agreed upon principles of ethics and morality. Drenth provides us with a thoughtful overview of factors that contribute to cases of scientific misconduct and he also gives us an indication of how to responsibly respond to this from the perspective of the learned academies. In a sense we are not only dealing with misconduct, but we are dealing with the responsibility of the entire scientific and intellectual community and its responsibility for providing thoughtful , fair and well- understood standards of appropriate professional conduct.

Michael Marien has given us a rich anlagen of works of important scholarship in his “Book Briefs”. The reader is encouraged to review these works and consider their contributions to new paradigm studies. Items that I found particularly interesting are books that talk of measuring economic sustainability and progress and the Thinking Person’s Guide to Climate Change. Another area of interest are the contributions related to interdisciplinarity: a reconfiguration of the social and natural sciences. On the specific issue of global values, the entry dealing with human dignity and the future of global institutions is important. On the theme of sustainability, the entry, State of the world in 2014: Governing for Sustainability and Sustainably: A History are worth noting. On the more challenging side, The Insect Cookbook: Food for a Sustainable Planet, should be challenging to some of our fellows. And the important entry The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future, is another important warning signal about the global future. Additional entries of importance include, Theories of Globalization, The Global Development Crisis and in the area of human rights, Responding to Genocide: The Politics of International Action.