The Inner Limits of Mankind Part 6




One World Publications                   1989



Appendix: A Long Way to Grow. A Bird’s-eye View of the Current Goals of the World’s Peoples

In order to provide a more informed background for the proper assessment of the crucial question posed in this book, a quick overview is provided here of the dominant varieties of goals and aspirations of people in each of mankind’s ‘three worlds’.

The First World’s goals and expectations

The ‘first world’ comprises the industrialized democracies of North America, Western Europe, Japan and the Australian sub-continent, together with a few other nations such as Israel, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.

  • In the United States, people are not used to formulating long-term goals and plans either for themselves or for their country. They tend to believe that the least planning produces the best results – that free competition within the framework of existing market forces distributes benefits to all.
  • In recent years the need for more conscious long-range planning has been increasingly recognized by a number of scientists and managers, but the implementation of such plans and policies is strongly constrained by the ethos and the institutions of the free market.
  • Well-endowed and powerful industrial-military lobbies drown out the nascent expressions of awareness and concern. The nation as a whole seems to have succumbed to the fear that material sacrifices may be attendant upon the envisaged reforms.
  • Canada, with its smaller population and medium-power status, would be able to shift its sights more rapidly and efficiently, but the traditional economic growth orientation still prevails – business circles conserve their political influence.
  • The countries of Western Europe have considerable experience in international cooperation, among themselves as well as jointly with the rest of the world, but are at very different levels of development. The people of Europe are becoming convinced that certain goals and objectives – trade and finance, the protection of the environment, the applications of science and technology, and the balance of power – are better handled jointly on the Community level than individually by national governments.
  • Australia is economic growth oriented but is becoming more conscious of  interdependence with others.
  • Japan is not part of the Western world but very much part of the developed one. Material expectations of the people have been largely fulfilled, but many voice still higher demands. Business interests, intellectuals, and country people find themselves on opposite sides of the debate on Japan’s future, and the government mediates uneasily between the conflicting factions.


The Second World’s goals and expectations

  • The East European bloc is now entirely disintegrating. Central planning for five-year periods has become hardly more than an empty formality in the rapidly transforming economic system. The Soviets are intent on catching up with the free market countries in economic growth, industrialization and technology.
  • The Chinese were considerably more insulated from Western currents than East Europeans and managed to find a delicately balanced path between poverty with good conscience and economic growth with Western methods.
  • The enormous population has made remarkable progress in self-reliance. An accelerated national effort is under way to achieve, by the end of the century, the ‘four modernizations’ of agriculture, industry, science and technology, and national defence.


The Third World’s goals and expectations

  • The great regions of the Third World are Latin America, Black Africa, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia. Jointly these regions account for about 75% of the human population, and their share may grow as high as 90% by the middle of the next century.
  • The great masses of Latin America conduct an intense love-affair with Western-style industrialization and economic growth, hoping to duplicate the miracles of West Germany and Japan. The upper 1% of the population controls about 30% of the wealth, while the lower 69% control merely about 20%.
  • Some 40% of the population are still engaged in relatively primitive forms of agriculture, and for them, and for those in the shanty towns around the big cities, the economic miracle remains but a dream.
  • Coping with global problems is said to be the responsibility of the superpowers and their developed allies, who created them in the first place.
  • Africa, south of the Sahara is a continent still torn by ethnic struggles and the fight for freedom from all vestiges of colonialism. The first leaders of the independent African states have concentrated on creating some sense of national unity and integrity in their countries, the borders of which were arbitrarily drawn by the European colonial powers.
  • Well-meaning attempts failed for lack of support, and military governments often took their place. Only a few countries, mainly in Western Africa, are experimenting with the implementation of multi-party democracies.
  • The sights of African leaders have shifted several times. After independence they moved from goals of national unity to those of economic growth through the diversification of agriculture and the creation of an industrial base.
  • Now they embrace aims such as a better distribution of the (as yet meagre) benefits of development, the revitalization of the indigenous cultures, and the improvement of the educational systems.
  • Development and growth are still the key words, but they have come to mean qualitative socio-economic growth, and the progressive elimination of gaps and injustices.
  • Internecine struggles among ethnic and power groups, between countries opting for different (Western or socialist) modes of organization, and between the elites and the intellectuals, confuse the picture and obstruct the implementation of effective polices.
  • The overwhelming majority of Black Africans – some 80% – 90% – live a marginal and largely traditional existence. Their imagination, however, has been captured by the miracles of life in the cities and centres of the rich world. It makes the more adventurous and the more desperate among the rural masses leave their roots and search for a better life in the cities.
  • For the most part, like their counterparts in the rest of the developing world, they end up in the outskirts and slums, leading a life that is at least as miserable as the one they left behind.
  • The countries of the Middle East were rocked by the impact of sudden wealth. Enormous oil-incomes among these traditionally austere people has created gaps and inequalities, and disrupted the Islamic patterns of life.
  • A few small countries, with populations totalling not more than 3% of the region, earn almost half of the total oil revenues.
  • The region as a whole is in the grip of a desperate attempt to modernize and become economically competitive with the advanced nations before the oil-income runs out. Policies that spur overall economic growth dominate all other objectives.
  • Although social welfare, better health care and education have become important objectives in recent years, they remain luxuries which only a few small countries, such as the Gulf states, can truly afford.
  • India is permanently occupied in coping with the immense problems posed by a population that is already over 800 million and will in all probability grow to one billion by the turn of the century. It is a country that is extremely poor and is likely to remain so.
  • Increasing the efficiency and productivity of the agriculture sector, moderating the gap between city and countryside, coping with high fertility and high mortality, reducing the 70% rate of illiteracy, and putting to use the relatively evolved scientific-technological expertise of educated Indians – these are the main goals and preoccupations of the leadership.
  • The nations of South-East Asia, except for the few communist states, are unanimous in wanting to spur rapid Western-style economic development.
  • Most leaders feel that pollution, alienation, urban violence, and similar side-effects of Western-style development are problems that will not become serious for their countries until well after concrete benefits of development have been assured.
  • Rapid economic growth is, they believe, the way to achieve national autonomy and self-sufficiency. National unity and solidarity is difficult to come by since the frontiers are arbitrary inheritances of colonial times and are criss-crossed by more enduring racial and religious ties.
  • The broad rural masses of Southeast Asia show little concern with national, regional and world issues beyond the pale of their immediate welfare.

The above does not present an encouraging picture. Yet the picture would have been much less encouraging even two decades ago. We should not underrate the potentials of societal self-renewal. But we should also not trust it to occur automatically, for we have a long way to grow. Inner limits are undoubtedly here today, but whether they are here to stay is up to us: every one of us, in every corner of the world.


Achieving Peace By The Year 2000 by John Huddleston

If mankind were to decide to establish peace in the world by the year 2000, what practical steps must be taken now – by individuals, politicians, governments and international agencies – in order to achieve that goal? What options would be open, and how could the concerned citizen contribute to this important process of change?

These are questions addressed in this highly topical book. John Huddleston, Chief of the Budget and Planning Division of the IMF, presents a penetrating analysis of the causes of war and the role of the superpowers in contemporary politics and puts forward a twelve point plan for establishing world peace.

Of special interest to all those active in the peace movement and the campaign for disarmament, this thought-provoking and timely blueprint for peace is essential reading for anyone concerned about the future of mankind.

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Science And Religion: Towards The Restoration Of An Ancient Harmony by Anjam Khursheed

Over the last two decades, exciting discoveries in modern physics have challenged scientists to reconsider some of their most basic assumptions about the nature of the universe – and of man. It is in the light of these recent developments that Anjam Khursheed, himself a research physicist at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, reviews the traditional conflict between science and religion in Western society.

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To Understand And Be Understood: A Practical Guide To Successful Relationships by Erik Blumenthal

Written by an internationally respected psychotherapist in a warm anecdotal fashion, this book offers down-to-earth, workable advice for successful, loving relationships.

ISBN 1-85168-004-7

The Way To Inner Freedom: A Practical Guide To Personal Development by Erik Blumenthal

The Way To Inner Freedom is for everyone seeking the freedom to control their own lives, to develop their inner potential, and to replace self-doubt with confidence, frustration with peace and a sense of purpose. Only you can change yourself; The Way To Inner Freedom shows you how.

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Creating A Successful family by Khalil A. Khavari and Sue Williston Khavari

This is an encouraging and optimist book which shows through everyday examples and clear explanations that creating a happy, harmonious and successful family is within every family’s reach.

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The Promise Of World Peace by The Universal House of Justice

This beautifully produced, sumptuously illustrated book is an unusual mixture of fact, photographs and a plea for peace. In a world beset with escalating global problems it offers a verbal and visual presentation of the need for positive action.

The text, originally written and privately circulated by the governing body of the Bahá’í Faith, represents an analysis of humanity’s current predicament and an outline of the attitudes and decisions which need to be adopted to secure world peace. Acclaimed by heads of state, politicians, royalty, religious leaders and philosophers worldwide, its noble and radical appeal to the better nature of humankind has been rendered into 45 languages.

ISBN 1-85168-002-0 

The Hidden Words of Bahá’u’lláh by Bahá’u’lláh

This exquisite collection of meditational verse is perhaps the best known work of the founder of the Bahá’í Faith, written in 1858 whilst exiled to Iraq from his native Iran. For years only a few hand-written manuscripts survived. Now, however, it has been translated into 69 languages, with over 100,000 copies sold worldwide.

With over 150 verses, its exquisite beauty, majestic prose and breadth of vision lend this inspiring book a timeless and universal quality – an outstanding contribution to the world’s religious literature.

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