This is the time to look at a world redesign beyond the narrow national interests of America or China, one which would serve the best interests of the planet and the people. The future is not only about national pride, business, markets, religion or race, with the bogey of an enemy at the border; it is about climate change and human development.
Now is the time to move from violence and military options to non-violence and the imperative of peace. This will require collaboration, as opposed to confrontation and competition. It may be all right to compete in certain areas. Still, it is more important to cooperate on strategic issues related to the planet and the people of the world. Here, political leadership matters. Suppose world leaders do not come together at this crucial moment. In that case, we will indeed be riding a path to permanent destruction.
Global leaders need to recognise that the future belongs to globalists and not nationalists. It is not about an international liberal order, but global peace and prosperity for all. It is about empowering every human being to explore and experience life and nature in their own way, with freedom and flexibility. This will require respect, sharing, caring and teamwork among world leaders. It will demand a functional and friendly relationship between world powers.
The redesign of democracy, capitalism, environment and institutions is not going to be simple. It will require a deeper understanding and appreciation of human values and our character, and addressing climate change issues with the spirit of sacrifice and long-term perspectives. It will also need the collaboration of communist leaders from China and Russia, monarchs from the Middle East, and others.
I have great faith in humanity, and I believe we have evolved to a point where we can change the course of human history by redesigning the world for the next era of non-violence, peace and prosperity for all.
We essentially need a “third vision” of the world that transcends national interests and takes into account global issues, from trade to environmental impacts. We need a vision that values human capital more than financial capital. A vision that works for everyone to attain a multipolar world, where people at the bottom of the economic pyramid benefit the most.
We need to ask the world’s people: Do they want to live forever with poverty and hunger, with inequality and unemployment, under the shadow of discrimination and fear, with the police at every corner and the military at all borders? Or do they want to live in peace with friendly neighbours, in a clean environment, and with respect, dignity, equality, opportunities and hope for all? The present reality is scary. Don’t we want to change it?
We do not want just the “open” vision of America or the “closed” vision of China. We want a third vision of the world where America is open to engagement, and China is engaged in openness. We want a reset of the world so that we can redesign it.
We want to reset international interests over national interests, human diversity over human differences, globalism over nationalism, inclusion over exclusion, non-violence over violence, rationality over religion, and respect over race. We want international cooperation on climate change, global health, poverty, hunger, violence, security, amity with neighbours and much more.
I firmly believe that it is possible to redesign the world with this third vision because multiple, intricate and timely technologies with incredible innovations in information, genetics, bio, nano and material sciences are now all coming together. They are taking deep roots across the social, political and economic landscape, which will profoundly impact our livelihood and longevity. T
his will give new meaning to life, work, values, wisdom and progress. It will lead to a new development model based on cooperation, collaboration and communication, which can finally deliver peace, justice and prosperity to all by the middle of this century.
We are so used to thinking and behaving traditionally with our narrow compartmentalisation of people and their ideas, values and experiences. We always tend to look at past experiences and our history to find solutions. We find pleasure in the past, comfort in the present, and fear for the future.
The future is prosperous with new bold ideas and different toolkits, such as hyperconnectivity, which did not exist earlier. The future demands a new mindset with creativity, innovation and courage. I firmly believe that we are at a crossroads because of hyperconnectivity.
We must think very differently to redesign the global organisational architecture. Only with this can we achieve new goals and growth for humanity’s sake. Connectivity is the key to break our past, transcend our present, and build bridges to network for the future.
Recently, a bright young friend of mine showed me a new dimension to global power and conflicts with a different perspective to what I had visualised. He opened my eyes to religion’s essential role in society’s organisational architecture and its associated conflicts and wars. There are basically four significant religions globally which mobilise the masses and organise power: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.
All significant conflicts, wars and invasions have been carried out predominantly by the big powers like the Romans, Ottoman, Moguls, British Empire, etc, to expand power, influence, control and wealth. He argued that the concept of time for Christianity and Islam is absolute: you live, and you die.
On the other hand, the concept of time for Hinduism and Buddhism is infinite: you continue through rebirth for another cycle. He feels this may have something to do with the idea of accumulating wealth and power in one lifetime. He also pointed out that the wars in Pearl Harbour, Korea and Vietnam were rare wars between Christianity and Buddhism. The ongoing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and others are wars between Christianity and Islam. 9/11 may be considered a blow by Islam against the only superpower in the world.
Many people feel that global diversity is not represented at the UN Security Council. Why is Islam, which includes in its fold 1.3 billion people, not at the table? Neither is India, with almost 1 billion Hindus. My friend emphasised the fact that power likes to hide behind religion.
To me, that made a lot of sense. In my heart, I am Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, atheist and a lot more. To me, all religions inculcate fundamental human values and promote goodness in people. Perhaps it is obvious, but when you put these things in perspective, it is clear that the challenge going forward will be to build bridges with all religious organisations and associated power centres, provided they have genuine respect for each other with a commitment to peace, prosperity and non-violence. Only by doing this can we together take humanity to the next level.
Bold and brave ideas are essential for driving our new world vision now. Unfortunately, we have always looked for solutions in the economy and the market, technology, military or ideology – we have never explored humanism in our quest for solutions.
First, we must understand, appreciate and internalise the simple fact that our planet is a unique interconnected and integrated system where soil and sand, birds and insects, animals and people are all interdependent. We live off the same system of air, water, flowers and forests. Peace, the economy, the environment and health issues are also interconnected and interrelated. The key is to strive for unity with respect, equality and equity for all living systems.
We have to ask what belongs to whom on our planet. Who owns the Amazon forests? Do they belong to Brazil or to the world? Should we all not be concerned about what happens to the Amazon? Our rivers? Our oceans? What affects one affects all of us. What happens to Africa in the next twenty-five years will affect America, China, India and the entire world. We need to think from the viewpoint of biology, life and dynamic assets, and not merely markets or material and static assets.
We must remember that the concept of modern states and national borders began only recently. We may live within boundaries and borders, but we must think beyond them with an eye out for humanity at large. The best way to understand what is right for society, the world and the future is to ask young people what they want. They will tell you that they wish to have love, a clean environment, home, education, health, family, friends and fun. They do not want violence, war, power or riches. The answers are simple. We make it complicated.
Excerpted with permission from Redesign the World: A Global Call to Action, Sam Pitroda, Penguin Business.