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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Are We Citizens of the World?

Hubble Ultra-Deep Field. Photo Credit
I am a citizen of the world. I am rootless. I've lived in six countries over the course of my life thus far...and I've lived a lifetime in each of those countries. I imbibed them. I breathed with them. I learned their languages and the subtle nuances of the different cultures. I made friends of citizens of each of those countries, so now some of my true friends reside in many countries, often quite far away from my own place of residence. I feel no nationalistic pride, although I admit to occasional twinges of favoritism (albeit nationally indiscriminate) when sports matches take place, or when it came time to vote on the Seven Wonders of the World (we will hear about it tonight).

So what are my rootlessness and lack of national pride good for? For one, they allow me to love the world indiscriminately. Secondly, they allow me to be dispassionate about national debates. National pride and fervor don’t enter into it from my point of view, which basically translates to what I think could be – if more of us could adopt it – a greater objectivity about what is good for all.

Global community.

We are the children…

We are one…

Globalization

Here’s what two world-ranked institutions say about globalization:

Hubble Ultra-Deep Field Close-up. Photo Credit
The World Bank

Globalization – the growing integration of economies and societies around the world – has been one of the most hotly-debated topics in international economics over the past few years. Rapid growth and poverty reduction in China, India, and other countries that were poor 20 years ago, has been a positive aspect of globalization. But globalization has also generated significant international opposition over concerns that it has increased inequality and environmental degradation. This site provides access to some of the most recent presentations on globalization and some of the leading research on the subject.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)

The term "globalization" has acquired considerable emotive force. Some view it as a process that is beneficial—a key to future world economic development—and also inevitable and irreversible. Others regard it with hostility, even fear, believing that it increases inequality within and between nations, threatens employment and living standards and thwarts social progress. This brief offers an overview of some aspects of globalization and aims to identify ways in which countries can tap the gains of this process, while remaining realistic about its potential and its risks.

Globalization offers extensive opportunities for truly worldwide development but it is not progressing evenly. Some countries are becoming integrated into the global economy more quickly than others. Countries that have been able to integrate are seeing faster growth and reduced poverty. Outward-oriented policies brought dynamism and greater prosperity to much of East Asia, transforming it from one of the poorest areas of the world 40 years ago. And as living standards rose, it became possible to make progress on democracy and economic issues such as the environment and work standards.


By contrast, in the 1970s and 1980s when many countries in Latin America and Africa pursued inward-oriented policies, their economies stagnated or declined, poverty increased and high inflation became the norm. In many cases, especially Africa, adverse external developments made the problems worse. As these regions changed their policies, their incomes have begun to rise. An important transformation is underway. Encouraging this trend, not reversing it, is the best course for promoting growth, development and poverty reduction.

The crises in the emerging markets in the 1990s have made it quite evident that the opportunities of globalization do not come without risks—risks arising from volatile capital movements and the risks of social, economic, and environmental degradation created by poverty. This is not a reason to reverse direction, but for all concerned—in developing countries, in the advanced countries, and of course investors—to embrace policy changes to build strong economies and a stronger world financial system that will produce more rapid growth and ensure that poverty is reduced.

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Ok, you read it. Now what?

Obviously I don’t presume to know more about, or be able to resolve matters that much better and more intelligent minds than mine, are merely beginning to grapple with.

All I do presume to say is this: we are indeed all one. We are indeed all neighbours (see also Europe and Africa: Quantum Physics and Intertwined Molecules. If we believe in the Bible, we believe that we all come from the same man and woman. If we don’t believe in the Bible, we perhaps believe that we all evolved the same way after the Big Bang.

Whatever we do believe, we know this: there is much hunger and poverty. There is much war and suffering. There is much hatred and genocide. There is much disease and death. Can we not take that first step towards the belief that we are indeed all one? And recognize and internalize that it takes a little on the part of each of us to bring us closer to the kind of world we could have. So make the choice to begin at home. Make the choice to begin with you. Make the choice to intend to become a better person by seeking your own inner freedom and inner growth. If you make these simple choices, every day, for the rest of your life, the rest will follow automatically. And the world will be a better place.

2 comments:

  1. That's very inspiring, Gabriella.

    I think that concepts like globalisation are just overwhelming for most of us. This focus on one person at a time is what we need. Probably in part it's a reaction to the whole idea of globalisation, which is just so huge - but I think it's an appropriate, constructive reaction. It will work if we do it.

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  2. Thanks for your comment, Brenda...the notion of one individual at a time actually comes from Jung, and of course the more we do whatever we can to make ourselves more "whole", living in a state of being within ourselves that is consistently good, no matter what is going on externally, is part of the process that will mean - innately - that the whole world would change, bit by bit, one person at a time.

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