Global economic sustainability and world peace will be impossible without a significant redistribution of wealth. I am fully aware of the complexities and almost impossibilities of delivering such a momentous change for humanity in the world that today could not, for example, agree on stopping the genocide in Syria. The odds are heavily against such an optimistic view as I will present here. On the other hand, should we be incapable of resolving most of these issues by around 2030 then the world may face a bigger crisis than for example the WWII. We cannot create islands of sustainability. We cannot enjoy a sustainable life in an unsustainable world.
On 25 September 2015, the United Nations organisation passed the resolution on Post 2015 Development Agenda, officially known as “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. It is a broad intergovernmental agreement that acts as the successor to the Millennium Development Goals which involved 193 Member States. It contains 17 “Global Goals” with 169 targets.
I believe that the SDG provides an excellent opportunity for the world to use this framework for much wider objectives, which would actually subsume the SDG. These are:
- Create the wealth redistribution programme, so that the donor countries (mainly the Northern Hemisphere) will over decades transfer some of its wealth to those countries that need it most
- Control mass economic migration in such a way that there will be no need to migrate. That may mean not only be solving the poverty problem (mainly economic) but also environmental (scarcity of water) and political (civil and ethnic wars).
To achieve that, we need a systemic global shift of wealth from richer to poorer countries. This is necessary for three reasons:
- Make good the incredible suffering and economic robbery that some rich countries did over a few centuries in their colonies
- Eliminate mass economic migration
- Control climate change-originated starvation, especially in Africa.
GWRF fund could be part of the UN Development Program (UNDP) but seeing the UN’s malaise in this area, I doubt it would attract funds at the scale that is needed. It clearly contrasts with an outstanding success of private funds such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which vision is: “by giving people the tools to lead healthy, productive lives, we can help them lift themselves out of poverty”. This is the key difference between how the UNDP and such a foundation works. The UN funds for most of its existence were giving the poorer countries the proverbial fish, whereas private foundations give them a fishing rod. Since 2000 that situation has improved at the UNDP but the other crucial differences remain. These are efficiency, effectiveness of the projects and less corruptive distribution of funds. It looks highly unlikely that the UNDP will change significantly, so that it could become the driver of such a wealth distribution. Therefore, it should be the future European Federation (EF), which would head such a programme, with additional injection of funds from other sources to finance the target GWRF projects, and if possible co-ordinate wealth distribution.
If it is to work, the scale of this programme should exceed any help or fund distribution the world has ever seen and be from the beginning set up as decades-long continuous effort. The most natural way for the EF would be to act via the membership of the EF Association Area (Zone 4). The programme itself would be the magnet for countries to join that zone. Looking at the current EU association agreements it is obvious that the EU is already aiming in this direction, as each such agreement includes the development of political, trade, social, cultural and security links. Currently, there are over 30 such agreements plus over 50 trade agreements. Once the EF has been established, around 2030, most of these agreements will be turned into the EF Association Area’s agreements. Assuming the rate of new countries joining the EF Zone 4 would be at least as fast as now, the total number of countries in the Federation’s four zones could reach 138 by 2040. I included here, in the assumed EF Single Market Zone, the USA, India and Japan, which are currently negotiating the Free Trade Agreement with the EU, similar to the one signed in 2016 with Canada. That means in 2040 the EF with 137 countries in all zones would represent about 70% of the world’s GDP and 60% of the global population.
I believe that such a large scale of wealth redistribution is the only realistic long-term solution for maintaining global peace and preparing Humanity for the new period of a planetary civilisation. Wealth distribution, if it is carried out on such scale, and if it follows the principles that I propose further on in this chapter, will achieve three objectives:
- It will virtually stop economic and climate originated global migration
- It will make a more just and equal global society, fully achievable in the second half of this century
- It will become a powerful and pragmatic mechanism for political change and instilling Universal Values of Humanity to all parts of the world.
I will cover all these three objectives in the sections below.
Next: Global Welfare State