Homo homini lupus/man is a wolf to his fellow man. This statement, made by Thomas Hobbes, gives a profound reflection on human nature. Men are aggressive according to their more basic instincts, but not everybody agrees. There are many indigenous communities that make us reconsider this view about our, supposed, innate violent conduct. We can
What would it be like living inside a doughnut? Kate Raworth developed this idea in an economic sense. As we can see in the diagram above, Kate Raworth offers a brand new view on economics and on sustainable development. In the central hole, we find the cornerstones that are key in achieving what she calls
Homo homini lupus/man is a wolf to his fellow man. This statement, made by Thomas Hobbes, gives a profound reflection on human nature. Men are aggressive according to their more basic instincts, but not everybody agrees.
There are many indigenous communities that make us reconsider this view about our, supposed, innate violent conduct. We can find a big number of peoples that live peacefully even though they are diverse and with different customs, as Douglas P Fry explains in his book “War, Peace, and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views”.
Social cohesion is the cornerstone of the cohabitation of these communities. For example, in the Upper Xingu River (Brazil) ten different tribes live in peace and they do not know conflict among each other. They are heterogeneous but this is not a reason to trigger violent behaviors, unlike the Hobbesian theory; they have the capacity to respect themselves and each other and keep peace.
These people speak four different languages and have their own traditions but they have found the way to live together within their diversity. We can learn a very important lesson from them, and it is that they have decided to focus on the things that make them feel as a single community, respecting their particular traditions and gathering to create collective activities, such as participating in the same feasts, trading with each other allowing marriage among members of the different groups, etc.
The findings of this and other studies resonate with a core assumption of the Shared Societies Project: the right kind of values, policies, structures and institutions foster and encourage cooperative attitudes and relationships between peoples so that they treat each other with respect and dignity. Other values, policies, structures and institutions encourage attitudes which are divisive and exclusive and treat others as less worthy of consideration than people from one’s own group.
People like those in the Upper Xingu River have created such a system instinctively and through experience, but in many of our societies we need to take active purposeful steps to shift towards the creation of a Shared Society. That is why we identified the Ten Commitments which cover the aspects of society which can contribute to a society in which it comes naturally to treat others with respect and dignity and change those aspects which encourage us to exclude and disparage others who we think are different from us. By making these ten commitments we can build a society in which everyone feels valued and at home and where they can make a full and active contribution to the development of the community.
We would not be surprised to discover that the peoples of the Upper Xingu river already share those commitments. They are an example of good leadership for other multicultural societies. Policies seeking the inclusion of varied identities will lead to the inclusion of all the groups and to the creation of a feeling of unity and belonging to that same community.
Policy-makers should take as an example these communities and their way to govern their society. Many of the challenges that states have to face nowadays are related with exclusion of certain groups on account of their religious beliefs, race, sexual orientation, gender, etc. This makes these communities impoverished at all levels.
Inclusion of distinct groups would provide a cultural as well as an economic enrichment, as the Shared Societies Project argues, inasmuch as an inclusive society would realise the skills of all its citizens, without discrimination of any kind, making communities bloom with the contribution of all their members, developing economic growth in which all participate and that will help it to be sustainable.
What would it be like living inside a doughnut? Kate Raworth developed this idea in an economic sense.
As we can see in the diagram above, Kate Raworth offers a brand new view on economics and on sustainable development. In the central hole, we find the cornerstones that are key in achieving what she calls “social foundation”.
Reaching social foundation means ending human deprivation by guaranteeing to the global population the coverage of their basic needs, to create the safe and justice space for humanity in the center of the diagram.
Once the social foundation is attained, the social boundary is created. In this way, people would live in “the safe and just space for humanity”. Nonetheless, living in that space requires the establishment of a new boundary: the planetary one. It’s necessary to reach social the foundation without breaching the environmental ceiling in order to obtain actual sustainable development without causing environmental degradation. So, planetary and social boundaries must always be in balance.
This is the challenge that the leaders of the 21st century must face: reaching equity for all whilst avoiding human deprivation with the limited resources that the planet offers and, at the same time, respecting the environment.
As explained by Raworth, the social foundation can be achieved without crossing planetary boundaries. For example, 13% of the global population is suffering from hunger and this situation could end with only 1% of global food supply; 21% of the people live with less than $1.25 per day. To bring this situation to an end, it would require just 0.2% of the global income.
There is a lot of work to do. The social foundation needs a big amount of work to be done on it and the environmental ceiling is being broken by human action, the loss of biodiversity and the use of nitrogen. Wealthy countries are making an excessive use of the resources that are creating an unsustainable lifestyle that is leading the world towards increasing inequality and rising environmental stress.
Policies carried out until now to eradicate poverty should be reconsidered as the rise of GDP has not affected those living in poverty and this rise has had, as a consequence, the degradation of natural resources.
So, living inside the doughnut requires more efficiency and equity in the distribution both of income and resources. Raworth leaves the following question: is the rise of GDP the tool that will allows us to live within the doughnut or is a new vision on economic development necessary. It should make us think about what prosperity means and what price do we want to pay for it now and in the next generations.
Kate Raworth has compared this analysis of development and the future of the world alongside the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the Open Working Group of the General Assembly.
She states that the Open Working Group’s proposed SDGs include all the items she lists as required to achieve the social foundation except for the one related to “voice” (understood as democracy) which she considers has been placed on the secondary level of a target. However there are other opinions more optimistic including the one expressed by Clem McCartney of the Shared Societies Project, who commented on Raworth’s post in the Intermon Oxfam blog that “voice” was well-treated in SDGs as long as it was applied clearly and without ambiguities and pointing out that it also mentioned women’s participation, stressing the importance of voice to achieve the social foundation.
So, we have to decide between eating the doughnut or living within it.
On November 14, 2013, Club de Madrid Members José Ramos-Horta of Timor-Leste and Maarti Ahtisaari of Finland met with various UN delegates and NGO representatives at the 8th UNOG-UNITAR conference in Geneva, Switzerland, speaking about the complexities of peacemaking and need for more inclusive social policy.
Common themes of the symposium included the importance of trust and inclusionary policies for building peaceful societies, topics to which the Club de Madrid gives the highest importance in our work to build Shared Societies upon a foundation of inclusion and respect for diversity. As Ramos-Horta remarked, “In some countries, respecting diversity is perceived as undermining the state when in fact we should look at this as wealth.”
In his speech, Ahtisaari importantly identified the core upon which division and deprivation occurs, noting that “conflicts are rooted in poverty, feelings of insignificance, and the people´s experience of unfairness.” Furthermore, “if we consider conflict resolution and mediation only as a redistribution of political and economic powers…we will never succeed. Sustainable peace is not measured only by the absence of violence and violence structures, but by opportunities and functions available in a society.”
Globally respected for their peacemaking efforts, Ramos-Horta and Ahtisaari greatly embody the efforts of Club de Madrid as we work in spreading the awareness of the Shared Societies Project and its desperate need in our crisis-stricken world today.