Want to solve global crises? $5 million prize seeks fresh ideas

Laurie Goering

Source: http://www.reuters.com

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – As the world grapples with potentially catastrophic global problems, including climate change, it needs to find solutions by overcoming short-term thinking, risk analysts say.

To drive that, a Swedish risk specialist and philanthropist is offering a $5 million prize for the best idea to create a new international decision-making system capable of tackling the world’s intractable issues, from extreme poverty to the spread of nuclear weapons and growing environmental damage.

“Today’s risks are so dangerous and so global in their nature that they’ve outrun the international system’s ability to deal with them,” said László Szombatfalvy, who fled from Hungary to Sweden in 1956 as a refugee, and later made a fortune in the stock market.

“We’re trying to solve today’s problems with yesterday’s tools,” said the 89-year-old, who launched the Global Challenges Foundation in 2012. “We believe a new shape of collaboration is needed to address the most critical challenges in our globalized world.”

The New Shape Prize – which will be awarded next November, after entries close in May – aims to spur fresh thinking about innovative means to solve problems that cross borders and are hard to tackle when most political terms of office are short and many businesses and markets remain focused on near-term gains.

“The public and even the private sector are underestimating the risks because we are too short-sighted in our decision-making,” said Mats Andersson, a former CEO of Sweden’s largest pension fund and now head of Szombatfalvy’s foundation.


He points to continued government spending on fossil fuel subsidies, for instance, while many leaders resist efforts to put in place a carbon price and trading system that would drive richer countries to pay for their climate-changing emissions while giving poorer ones funds to develop cleanly.

Such a shift could help drive action against global warming. Instead, “we’re sending the bill to our kids and grandkids, and I think that’s deeply immoral”, said Andersson, who has worked on de-carbonizing pension funds.

A U.N.-brokered deal to tackle climate change, agreed by more than 190 countries in Paris last year, aims to limit global temperature rise to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, by getting countries to deliver voluntary emissions reductions and financial contributions that could be ratcheted up over time.

But their pledges for the accord still leave the world on a path to at least 2.9 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial times – enough to swamp many low-lying island states, kill most coral reefs, drive food shortages and far more extreme weather, and potentially trigger melting of the biggest ice sheets, scientists say.

When it comes to solving global problems, “we have the United Nations, but the United Nations was founded in 1946, with the challenges we had at that time. We’re now some years down the road. We need to remodel and find new ways,” Andersson said.

The prize, he said, is not aimed at finding whole solutions to global threats such as climate change, wars and poverty, but rather “a model or mechanism that could provide the solutions”.

“We don’t have any preconceived views,” Andersson said. “We need to look in every corner, turn every stone.”


Rob Bailey, who directs energy, environment and resources research at London-based think tank Chatham House, said it is likely too late to craft an innovative new framework to limit climate change.

“Even if the politics for grand plans was possible, which we know is not the case at the moment, there isn’t enough time for grand plans anyway,” he said. Within two years, existing power plants will lock the world into more than 2 degrees of global warming if used over their full lifetime, he added.

But fresh approaches could help police and make more effective the Paris climate agreement’s voluntary goals, and verify what is being done by businesses, cities and other major players to curb climate-changing emissions, he said.

They could also offer new ways of dealing with the global problems climate change is set to worsen, from food shortages to migration, he said.

“What kind of global and international institutions will we need to have for a stable and resilient international order?” Bailey asked. “It raises questions for our food system, our humanitarian system, for international laws on refugees and asylum, (and) for social protection mechanisms.”

“These are the things we can be thinking about grand designs for, before things get really hairy from 2030 onward,” he said.

Entries for the New Shape Prize close on May 24, 2017, and the winning idea will be chosen by a panel of academic experts and a high-level international jury.

The Global Challenges Foundation will then back efforts to put that idea into practice, Andersson said.

(Reporting by Laurie Goering editing by Megan Rowling)




作者:Andrew Chakhoyan


上周,Facebook的马克扎克伯格宣布计划把全球社区团结在一起。”几个月前,一个瑞典亿万富翁,László szombatfalvyá,建立了全球转型基金并宣布设立500万美元的奖金以征求重塑全球合作的创意。现在比任何时候都有象征性,正如许多专家被他们所看到的国际体系的瓦解而警醒,例如英国脱欧和反建制运动浪潮。




László Szombatfalvy仍然相信系统需要升级。我同意。以下是一些值得考虑的原则:







首先,联合国应该借鉴László Szombatfalvy 并成为舒适的众包解决方案。克服代理问题的办法是减少代理。联合国,世界银行,和其他类似机构应该利用“绩效工资”的方法论。创业企业提供的解决方案是否可靠是不可知的,直到解决了这个问题。




从文明的黎明开始,人类已经把联盟范围从一个家庭单元,扩大到一个部落,一个国家,一个民族。 伴随建立现代全球治理系统的哲学问题是,它不是以把联盟扩大到全球为建设系统的宏伟目标。这样一个为了实现全球合作的使命和一个明确定义的积极愿景,而不是预防冲突,就是国际体系的起源故事中所缺少的。


















追求民主自由首先是要学会冷静客观,理性思维。所谓理性思维就是以基础事实和客观规律为获得一切认识的前提和方法,其中包括大脑思维自身的规律。文科生可以温习《普通逻辑》,《How minds work》,《Think fast and slow 》第书籍,理科生可以加深一些,比如《离散数学》,《编绎原理》,《数据结构》等计算机基础知识。





The Real “State of Power” is Culture

Joe Brewer

Source: https://medium.com/@joe_brewer/the-real-state-of-power-is-culture-41dfe172b27e#.i47780ppj

We are all on the hidden chessboards of culture — and need to survey the land we stand upon.
A growing number of people have been connecting the dots across issues ranging from political corruption and biased corporate media to anti-science propaganda promoted by the fossil fuel industry and harms committed to the environment— to see how a “system logic” runs through the heart of the current economic system. There is too much emphasis on growth; not enough clarity around political agendas; and a profound disconnect between business-as-usual and the planetary-scale emergency of the ecological crisis.
My colleagues and I call this logic the One Party Planet with its global architecture of wealth extraction and hoarding. More people are recognizing that the economic paradigm that guides our global system today is deeply misaligned with a thriving future. Some note the myopia of short-termism in the blind pursuit of quarterly returns for multinational corporations (or election results in political arenas). Others elevate the exploding levels of debt in the financial system where money is created by issuing loans that must be paid back with interest, a dynamic that underlies the foundational need for continued growth of a debt-based currency system to avoid stall out and collapse. Yet others still see how the influence of money — in various forms of capital assets — is profoundly corrupting and shaping who gets elected to office, which policies are adopted, and how the system behaves at all scales ranging from local to regional to global.
What often remains missing from the analysis is the central importance of culture running through all of this. The Neoliberal economic system is a cultural construct. It has a particular history and espouses a cogent set of core beliefs, social values, and organizational practices. There is a narrative coherence to notions of “freeing” markets from regulation, letting wealth “trickle down” from the coffers of the rich, and a “rugged individualism” that pays too little attention to the social factors that shape economic outcomes.
All these things are first and foremost cultural, which shapes the contours of the political landscape and profoundly influences how economic practices get advanced through the subtleties of unstated assumptions and unquestioned beliefs. Jump directly to a debate about economic policies and you will miss the deeper substrates of cultural power that shape and direct how economic systems are brought into being. There is a profound lesson to be learned here by those seeking to alter or change the configurations of power in the world as they exist today.
In our work at TheRules.org, we focus deeply on the cultural logics of discourse around poverty, inequality, and climate change. We realized early on, by commissioning a linguistic analysis of global poverty, that a Story of Poverty Creation needed to be told. Before digging into the flaws of social metrics (such as GDP or the official poverty line) it was necessary to unpack the modes of thought that shape how people think, feel, and act about these issues. We learned that most efforts to reduce poverty were advocated at a superficial level, when deep structural changes are needed to make tangible progress at improving the world.
Send foreign aid into a tribal community in Africa to educate girls and you may help out locally (for a short time). All the while, in the background, the global patterns of destruction continue to intensify. Focus instead on the long history of structural causes (colonialism; structural adjustment programs; tax havens; unfair trade agreements, land grabs; etc.) and it becomes apparent that these “band aid” fixes address symptoms without dealing with root causes.
This became apparent to us as we worked in (and with) traditional advocacy organizations for several years. It was made concretely clear when a lens of cognitive linguistics was brought to the study of narratives in the development sector — noting that “development” itself is a problematic frame. And more clear still when we combined this cultural analysis with historic studies in the anthropology of economics. Remind ourselves that capitalism didn’t take off until the Enclosure Movement of Britain kicked large numbers of people off their land and we see a discernible pattern that has been creating structural poverty in growing numbers ever since.
We advocate for an approach to social change that we call culture design. Addressing the systemic threats for humanity in the 21st Century will require an intentional, open, and collaborative “design science” for social change. The elements of this approach include a variety of perspectives that will need to be integrated in both theory and practice:
People who study the long view — anthropologists, cultural historians, the rise and fall of empires, cliodynamics (the mathematical study of history), and other related fields.
People who understand the cognitive and behavioral sciences — cognitive linguistis, social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, sociology, etc.;
People who understand the science of complex systems — nonlinear dynamics, system mapping, root-cause analysis, ecology, and so forth;
People who live an alternative cultural worldview — indigenous communities are a good place to start. Ensuring that a plurality of voices are added into the mix will be vital for sensing when assumptions from the dominant culture have slipped in below the radar.
This is how methodological rigor can be achieved. Combine vetted social science methods with inputs from diverse cultural perspectives such that systemic behavior becomes tractable and understood. An example of this can be found in our comparative study for two cultural narratives that frame the history of Western Development. History is not only told by the winners of imperial conquest, but also is told moment-by-moment in the stories we live out in our daily lives — whether they are true or not. We must question our stories if we are to create beneficial changes in culture.
It is vital that we open up the important discussion of ethics here. If it becomes possible (or already has through propaganda campaigns) to influence, manipulate, and shape cultural evolution without people realizing it, there is a huge impetus to be diverse, inclusive, and fully transparent about the ethical challenges created by this new human capacity to shape how the world is made manifest. Oversight will be needed to guide how this design science gets practiced — especially as humanity goes through the turbulence of systemic breakdown from things like market crashes, natural disasters, and rapid ecological decline that all scientific assessments of the global system tell us are imminent.
When we look through this lens created by a multi-disciplinary, multi-experience diversity, we start to see the world differently. Instead of framing policies as issues like health care or climate change, we start to see cultural ‘anchors’ like methodological individualism (the assumption that social science is about the study of individual behaviors) as more fundamental linkages across entire cultural ecosystems of ideas, structures, knowledge, and practices. Assumptions like these constitute the unexamined “commonsense” of a particular culture — the filters of interpretation that give shape to political agendas outside of conscious awareness.
This is where the real power for political transformation hides in plain sight. Systems of wealth hoarding and political corruption hide in our own minds as the stories we tell ourselves without realizing it. Too few have the eyes needed to see the patterns of culture. And those who can see it have incredible power to manipulate and influence those around them.
Consider the example of treating money as if it were “real” (another cultural anchor). This leads to the ubiquity of an economic transaction frame to characterize human relationships, which creates the conditions for the monetization of all kinds of social value. This is a deeper frame that connects the dots between the logic of childcare for families at the personal scale all the way up to the United Nation’s REDD program for societal relationships with the natural world. It is also evident in the norms and rules that shape how we think about progress when we use GDP as the measure of health for an economy. Or the metrics for using the education of women as a way to bring them into the workplace as “valued” economically productive contributors to society.
The commonsense practices of power — dots that routinely do not get connected — become a shadow world of influence for those who see what has been hidden from others. We see it as a task for 21st Century social movements to “make the invisible visible” by consciously deconstructing, analyzing, and constructing the cultural patterns of meaning that shape political (and economic) outcomes. This requires a systemic perspective about culture. And it only works when informed directly by rigorous research methodologies from the social sciences.
Onward, fellow humans.


陆舜平   December 29, 2016







  作者: 陆舜平   December 30, 2016 at 9:43am



Author: Momer  Nov. 29th, 2016


Abstract:Politics is relative to everyone’s daily life, which is about the survival, development and the pursuit of happiness of each person. Therefore, it is necessary for everyone to have a correct understanding of the essence of politics. The political emerged with the appearance of human being, and has been a very important being in the history of human, and will continue to exist and develop for a period of time, but with the accelerated development of humanistic spirit, evolution of productivity and distribution rules, it will be difficult to let the roots of politics to obtain nutrient,  which is gradually reduced, and finally, disappeared in the process of humanity development, the turning point of this disappearance curve is not far from us. The  termination of politics is inevitable. From the discussing of the definition of politics, the essence and the brief history of politics, this paper will mainly focuses on three core issues: why politics will end, how to accelerate and catalyze the termination process, and what the human society will be when there is no politics.


Keywords:politics, economy, property, state, country, productivity, distribution


《尚书·毕命》“道洽政治,泽润生民”; 《周礼·地官·遂人》“掌其政治禁令”;更多的情况下是将“政”与“治”分开使用。“政”主要指国家的权力、制度、秩序和法令;“治”则主要指管理人民和教化人民,也指实现安定的状态等。“政治”一词最初出现在中国近代是孙中山引进了日本人对“politics”的翻译“政治”,并解释为:“政就是众人之事,治就是管理,管理众人之事,就是政治。”百度百科的定义:“政治,指对社会治理的行为,亦指维护统治的行为。政治是各种团体进行集体决策的一个过程,尤指对于某一政治实体的统治,例如统治一个国家,亦指对于一国内外事务之监督与管制。”维基百科的定义:“Politics is the process of making decisions applying to all members of each group. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state. Furthermore, politics is the study or practice of the distribution of power and resources within a given community”