Social processes

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What Global Social Processes Are We Experiencing in the Moment?

The world we live in is gripped by two parallel and deep social processes. On the one hand, necessary planetary integration is advancing; on the other – forces of “market fundamentalism”[1], along with extreme nationalism and religious fundamentalism counteract sustainable planetary solutions reflecting our interconnectedness.

While our imagination continues to be dominated by the forward march of world markets promising wellbeing, statistics show that a massive accumulation of wealth, which places a heavy burden on the planet, is concentrated in the hands of a very small percentage of people and the deepening social inequality is causing a sharp rise in the Health and Social Problems index[2]. Critical analyses show that global economy cannot continue to rely on unlimited growth on the basis of limited planetary resources, but has to restructure itself on the principle of moderation, regional sustainability and social and ecological cooperation.

In response, since 1972, progressive and long-term-thinking Bhutan measures its social progress not by Gross National Product but by a Gross National Happiness index – prioritizing quality of life over unlimited material consumption.

In 2014, Paul Hanley published a study showing that the most conservative estimates expect

that by the end of the 21st century the world’s population will be 11 billion. Solid empirical data show a direct correlation between extremes of economic inequality[3] and political instability.[4] Bearing in mind that currently 46% of the world population lives on $5.50 per day, it becomes clear that national governance is failing and the world is searching for solutions based on pluralism and radical restructuring of the United Nations, necessary for sustainable and equally represented planetary governance of human, economic and environmental resources.[5] Thoughtful distribution of resources will lead to “the emergence of a new culture, a new agriculture and a new human race”, in which ethic will prove central and defining.[6]

The tension between processes of global integration, and fear of loss of individual cultural identity, is clearly expressed in the fact that well-organized religions, whose very reason for existing is to serve the cause of brotherhood and peace, place some of the most significant obstacles on the path of their attainment, and foster reactionary nationalism. Humanity is in the process of traumatic rethinking of the possibility for oneness while preserving its diversity.

Meanwhile, the progressive process of planetary social integration is gaining momentum and is winning the minds and hearts of rapidly increasing numbers of thinking people.

[1] Brown & Garver, Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy

[2] Wilkinson & Pickett, Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger

[3] In the last 30 years, 62% of the gains in global income have gone to the top 5% of the income distribution



[6] Paul Hanley, Eleven

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