Issue 5 Part 1 Editorial


Jakob von Uexkull is the brilliant founder of the influential World Future Council. His articles and speeches are noted for brevity and incisive insights. In this short article, “Toward a Comprehensive Approach to Paradigm Change,” the author seeks to clarify precisely what the preexisting paradigm is, and how we are to understand the shift in this paradigm. He gives us many illustrations of the problems indicated in conventional economic wisdom and the hard reality outside about the dangers we face, which seem oblivious to the conventionally trained experts. He draws attention to the problem of climate change and why it is that public concern is so deficient. A central insight, critical to scientists and intellectuals who influence public opinion, is that paradigm changes cannot be negotiated away. It is impossible to negotiate away melting glaciers and spreading deserts. There is no nature that provides for rescue packages here. So, we confront the challenge of a non-negotiable world future. The issues are starkly presented and represent an utterly important urgency. The author presents the issues with a sharp and unambiguous clarity.

Joseph Agassi’s essay, “To care for the future of the human race,” focuses on the real dangers that challenge human survivability. Matters such as the proliferation of nuclear weapons, exponential pollution, unconstrained poverty, and population expansion are central crises of our time. He contends that the most urgent task of enlightened intellectuals is to think clearly about how we might minimize the risk of the destruction of all of humanity. He sees in this the dire necessity of some form of global governance. Notwithstanding the fears of some form of globalized central authority, Agassi suggests that we can create an institution whose authority is vested in a world constituent assembly. This, it appears, is a shift towards the notion of a world politics and possibly away from the field called international relations. The notion of a world politics, if thought through, results in a demand for a radical change in the global power process. It would require a radical redesign of hierarchies and a complex realignment of global participatory interests. The author opens up the discourse for what is effectually a radical democratization of the entire global social, power, and constitutive process.

In “The Psychology of Warmaking,” Roberto Vacca has revisited a classic to date initiated in the correspondence of Einstein and Freud about the role of personality in the initiation and conduct of war. In a sense, we tend to think of the impulse which drives war-making decision making as reflective of darker unconscious drives. Pitted against this is another important drive, and that is the drive that somehow connects altruism with compassion, love and reason. What makes these considerations matters of urgent global concern is the fact that human technological capacity points to the real and serious possibility of human extinction. The author addresses these issues from a variety of vantage points and emerges with a critical challenge given the state of global organization and disorganization. One key issue moves us beyond simply the domain of psychology or it moves psychology into the important domain of culture, and in particularly, the culture of peace. He challenges us to think more deeply about a paradigm of peace culture. In addition, the new paradigm calls for an alertness of imagination in understanding, new horizon, resources, tools, and mileposts. This is a provocative and thoughtful contribution.

Democracy is an endangered political practice when unlimited forms of wealth are used to influence, dominate, or otherwise undermine the essentials of democratic participation in politics. An excessive wealth in these processes will ultimately lead to the institutionalization of plutocracy, which threatens the fundamentals of democratic governance on a global basis. In “Simulated Judgment on Campaign Finance,” Winston Nagan has followed their earlier example of providing a simulated judgment of the International Court of Justice. Co-authored with Madison Hayes, the article revisits the lawfulness of the threat or use of nuclear weapons. This simulated judgment is identified with a fictional jurisdiction, the Constitutional Court of Azania. The term ‘Azania’ was promoted by some groups resisting apartheid in South Africa. However, the constitutional provisions quoted are from the new Constitution of South Africa. The judgment assumes that the constitutional provisions of the Azanian Constitution and the Constitution of the United States are functionally similar. The judgment then has to look at the Azanian provisions and take into account the decisions of the United States Supreme Court. The Azanian Constitution permits the Azanian court to consider comparative law as a source. Therefore, it is in a position to review the judgment of the United States Supreme Court to determine whether it should be followed in Azania. This provides the author of the simulated judgment an opportunity to review the U.S. Court’s approach to campaign expenditures. In this review, it is concluded that the reasoning of the U.S. Supreme Court is constitutionally deficient and may indeed open the floodgates for changing democracy to plutocracy. – Garry Jacobs

Carlos Alvarez Pereira’s short essay “The Greatest Adventure on Earth” is a wonderfully provocative meditation on the contradictions, dangers and possibilities of human existence. He sees among the challenges of global importance the immense value of human potentiality, the importance of the expansion of trust and generosity, a deeper sense of appreciation of feminine and masculine values, the changing objectives in organizational behavior, the importance of the empowerment of all human beings, and the centrality of a holistic view of the global human prospect. This essay is a challenging intellectual adventure.