When I first read Heikki Patomäki’s essay, I felt like cheering. A call to action, instead of more words and analyses of our common predicament, about which those in this list-serv already know so much.
However, early on, Heikki pulled back: “For many reasons, a detailed blueprint for a WPP is neither advisable nor possible.”
Without a blueprint, what then is this WPP? We do get some “contours”: morality and ethics that can be validated independently of the authorities that promulgated them; positive collective learning, which requires improvements not only in knowledge dissemination about our global interconnections but also in pathways for effective transnational participation. Thank you very much for referencing the Big History Project, and thank you to David Christian for expanding on the utility of creating this type of comprehensive learning platform. Let us not forget one of the most important contours: “the fundamental shift from the currently dominant national mythos to a global imaginary.”
I believe that a significant shift to a global consciousness is consistently manifesting—through the many transnational civil society movements—whether human rights, environment, inequalities, etc. Many progressives have been opposed to the globalization of recent decades (global capital movements, global trade increases, and expanded global telecommunications), not for spurring the consciousness of our interdependence and interconnectedness but for the exploitative and inequality-engendering effects.
Like it or not, we are in the planetary twenty-first century. We are indeed constrained by fears that the nefarious effects and ugly consequences of greedy oligopolists, cyber criminals, or just the sheer ineptitude to evolve a new economic and social model will derail the efforts towards cohesion. But for things to cohere, we have to be able to tell a story based on a largely shared vision of inclusive prosperity for the CEO in Kenya, the janitor in Finland, the textile worker in India, the construction worker in China, and the unemployed factory worker in Kentucky, USA.
My conclusion is that the call for a WPP is perhaps misnamed. Conceivably, we need a World Political Platform, with a clear set of objectives. If we have such a platform, then local governments, advocacy groups, associations, and organizations can adhere to the platform and work to accomplish the goals articulated therein through the political structures extant where they find themselves. There could be some type of linkages transnationally highlighting who was accomplishing what within such a framework. Vivienne Ming, the neuroscientist and AI expert has said that you need to “solve the problem first,” and then you figure out how the machines can help you. I think that the Sustainable Development Goals work is moving in this direction even if it was an inter-nation effort; many civil society organizations and businesses are using this framework to tackle poverty and inequalities and move to a green energy future.
Particularly useful to localized action under the WPP banner would be more and better methodologies for actually legislating, advancing policy reforms, and advocacy that would push the goals of a WPP to the top of many organizational agendas.
Vicki Assevero is an international lawyer with a longstanding interest in sustainable development. She is the founder of The Green Market in Santa Cruz, Trinidad, a practical experiment in community-based sustainable development.