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Part 3.
These points on the Great Transition have been excerpted from the email/web discussion. Which of these statements do you support?

Please check off all points where you agree, and offer an edited version where you would agree if the wording were slightly amended.


The Great Transition Initiative and the Tellus Institute have published an essay by Robert Paehlke entitled "Global Citizenship: Plausible Fears and Necessary Dreams". It is available in .pdf here.

This survey is addressed to readers of this essay, and excerpts many points from the email commentary. The survey is intended as a helpful and illuminating exercise in itself, but it is also an exploration of digital methods for convening agreement on complex high-dimensional issues that must be resolved in a collective context -- perhaps the very sort of thing that must be addressed if the Great Transition Initiative is to be successful.

This survey is in five parts
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

This is Part 3, and includes points introduced by John Bunzl, Morton Winston and Lourdes Beneria

Thanks for your participation or comment!

GTI: Great (or Global) Transition Initiative
GCM: Global Citizens Movement
GJM: Global Justice Movement

Select ALL statements that are true for you (perhaps more than one).

If the options appearing here do not express your own view, you can add new options, which will be available to all participants.

If the meaning of any concept or term seems uncertain, follow your own personal interpretation.

A Great Transition (if there’s to be one) is utterly dependent upon global governance. (John Bunzl)
Our [previous] efforts to make our world just and sustainable, we may one day see, were actually little more than fledgling and inadequate attempts to “bargain” with a global political-economic system that is no longer under anyone’s control. (John Bunzl)
[Just as the printing press once revolutionized culture,] the technologies of globalisation have, over the past 30 years, created a new context which irrevocably undermines national-level governance. (John Bunzl)
This new context, too, we will find, can only be resolved by taking the next, final step up the governance ladder to an appropriate form of citizen-driven binding global governance. (John Bunzl)
Citizen intervention for global governance is urgent. Moreover, it’s a part of our evolutionary destiny; it is the next natural step in the human journey towards ever-larger scales of societal cooperation. (John Bunzl)
Nothing short of binding global governance can get the global market genie back in the governance bottle. (John Bunzl)
To portray only extreme libertarians as the obstacle to global governance thus misses the point. It is we, the thousands of activist and NGO movements around the world (i.e. the Global Justice Movement – GJM), who have yet to fully grasp what the game is. (John Bunzl)
[Our collective] lack of understanding is also demonstrated by our persistence in believing that ‘bargaining’ with the system—via protesting, blaming and shaming corporations, voting in new parties, lobbying, occupying, changing national electoral systems, local action, CSR, ethical consumerism, etc.—might work. (John Bunzl)
Just as the Church could neither understand nor cope with the Enlightenment and its new technologies, the GJM is yet to understand that a global market can only be made just and sustainable by establishing binding global governance. (John Bunzl)
We should identify with the higher purpose of achieving a form of binding, citizen-driven global governance. That evolutionary milestone, the coming of our specie’s maturity, is what a great transition is all about. (John Bunzl)
The “new context” that globalisation has brought about needs more precise definition. It is the global free-movement of capital and other entities which is fundamentally undermining governments as well as the bargaining approaches of the GJM. (John Bunzl)
It is the ability of capital, corporations, bankers, and the rich to move their operations across national borders—often at the click of a computer mouse—that allows them to play one government off against another and to force government regulation into a state of deep “regulatory chill” or, worse, into a race-to-the-bottom. (John Bunzl)
This new context means that governments find themselves outmanoeuvred and quite unable to protect any entity – themselves included – that remains nationally rooted. Hence, anything able to move across borders has a decisive advantage over anything that is nationally confined. Corporations and the rich win, while governments, society, small businesses and the environment lose. (John Bunzl)
It is the global free-movement of capital that explains why all governments have become ‘market states.’ (John Bunzl)
This new context also turns democracy into pseudo-democracy. For whoever we may elect has no choice but to implement policies that are attractive to free-moving global markets, investors, and corporations. Governments have no choice but to keep their national economies internationally competitive. (John Bunzl)
If we still think politicians are free to set their own agendas, we are sadly mistaken; we have not understood the new context we are faced with. (John Bunzl)
The odd moves governments occasionally make in a positive direction, we should realise, are no more than temporary eddies or counter-flows in a river that, overall, is moving in the opposite, negative, market-friendly direction. In a world of global capital, but only national governance, it cannot be otherwise. Governments, we must realise, are not in control! (John Bunzl)
So contrary to our present way of thinking is this [fact that governments are not in control] that we are reluctant to accept it. For to accept that governments aren’t in control means accepting that they cannot deliver on our demands. This line of thinking indicates that protesting against government policies and trying to get them to change their policies in the way we do now makes little sense. For trying to get the powerless to act is, let’s face it, an oxymoron: a false bargain (John Bunzl)
Sensing that established political processes have become redundant, the GJM has turned its hand to CSR, corporate codes of practice, triple bottom line accounting, shareholder activism, ethical consumerism, fair trade, conscious capitalism, micro-credit, and whatnot. (John Bunzl)
[These strategies] cannot succeed in getting any more than a tiny fraction of the market to behave sustainably. Ultimately only binding global governance is capable of ensuring that all corporations, banks, markets, etc., conform to appropriate behaviour and standards. (John Bunzl)
Global revolution “see you on the barricades” talk is naïve. To have any chance of success, such a revolution would have to occur in virtually every country simultaneously, because otherwise capital would simply move elsewhere, undermine any revolution, and carry on exactly as before! (John Bunzl)
The crux of our problem: party politics as we currently practice it is redundant, revolution can’t work, and yet unfortunately the strategies pursued by the GJM, too, are inadequate. The new context created by the global free-movement of capital comprehensively undermines them all. Helpful and valuable up to a point they may be, but ultimately we will find that they are all false bargains. (John Bunzl)
The only solution capable of bringing free-moving capital and global markets back under public supervision and accountability, such that meaningful reforms become possible, is some form of binding global governance. (John Bunzl)
[Our central paradox:] How can we possibly re-engage with national political systems—systems we acknowledge to be redundant—while turning them into the most powerful tools for achieving our aim? How can we use our national votes to bring about binding global governance? How, in short, do we re-engage with redundant national political systems without falling victim to them? (John Bunzl)
Becoming a political party, even a transnational one, won’t work because unless it’s in power in virtually every country simultaneously so that it can coordinate its policies globally, it’ll be outmanoeuvred by free-moving capital. (John Bunzl)
[Fundamental principle 1a] A New Semiotics (see Michael Karlberg’s posting): The pathological system we are now subject to cannot be stopped by any single nation or entity. No one is in control. We are, therefore, all in the same boat. Our struggle, we must realise, is not against anyone. If anything, it’s against the destructively competitive system we are all caught in. No one is to blame but everyone is responsible. (John Bunzl)
[Fundamental principle 1b] We need to dis-identify from blaming, shaming, and bargaining. This new semiotics thus embraces everyone. It identifies with our deeper evolutionary purpose of achieving an appropriate form of citizen-driven binding global governance. (John Bunzl)
[Fundamental principle 2a] Diversity within Unity. Binding global governance necessarily means global cooperation and coordination. And that necessarily means a movement that is globally coordinated by adopting a single agreed plan. (John Bunzl)
[Fundamental principle 2b] The GJM, if it is to have any chance of success, will have to overcome its postmodern overemphasis on diversity and recognise that unity—a single overarching plan—also has its indispensable place. Such a plan will be capable of adaptation to different nations, cultures, and political systems and be flexible enough to include democratic as well as non-democratic nations. (John Bunzl)
[Fundamental principle 3a] Simultaneous action: As Robert rightly points out, simultaneous action is key. Global solutions can only be implemented if all, or virtually all, nations can be brought to implement them simultaneously. In that way, capital has nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. All nations and their citizens win. (John Bunzl)
[Fundamental principle 3b] Simultaneous action also means we do not need to wait for a formal world government or parliament. We only need the global and simultaneous implementation of various far-reaching policies (eg. on climate, monetary reform, financial market re-regulation, etc.). (John Bunzl)
[Fundamental principle 3c] Practical, simultaneous, global cooperation is in any case a pre-requisite before any more formal governance arrangements are considered, if they are necessary at all. (John Bunzl)
[Fundamental principle 4a] ‘Political Jujitsu’: On the paradox of how we re-engage with redundant national political systems without falling victim to them, Jujitsu is the art of manipulating the opponent's force against himself, rather than confronting it with one's own force. A citizens’ movement wishing to establish binding global governance will need to re-engage with national politics by using our votes in this kind of way. (John Bunzl)
[Fundamental priciple 4b] Its methodology will be neither NGO lobbying nor a political party. Instead it would be an unprecedented hybrid type of organisation: one that works through national political systems but is not of those systems. It will allow us to harness and exponentially multiply the power of our votes in a way that puts citizens back in control—so giving us the necessary ‘political efficacy’. (John Bunzl)
[Fundamental principle 4c] This new way of voting would enable even small numbers of voters to have a disproportionately large influence on national electoral outcomes, so pushing all nations towards adopting, and then simultaneously implementing, the movement’s agenda. (John Bunzl)
[Quoting Professor Ruggie] “I expressed grave doubts about the value and effectiveness of moving toward some overarching “business and human rights” treaty. Even with the best of “political will,” I stated, the crux of the problem is that the category of business and human rights is not so discrete an issue area as to lend itself to a single set of detailed treaty obligations." (Morton Winston)
Those urging caution about moving too quickly towards a legally binding instrument are afraid that it will meet the same fate as the UN Norms and will either be killed in its cradle by a coalition of powerful states and corporations or end up so weak and unenforceable as to by virtually meaningless. (Morton Winston)
[We] deem it essential that we continue to monitor and stay engaged in such discussions, attempting to keep the focus framed in the most constructive direction, i.e. on (i) non-political, non-ideological objectives, (ii) all businesses versus merely TNCs, and (iii) practical and progressive legal reforms by national governments that would actually enhance implementation of the UN Guiding Principles. (Morton Winston)
We propose urging states to develop National Action Plans (NAPs) that will help to lay the necessary foundation for a time when it may become possible to enact a legally binding international treaty on business obligations with respect to human rights. (Morton Winston)
Without a critical mass of corporate allies, it will not be possible to convince states to draft and ratify and then implement any meaningful binding international standard. (Morton Winston)
The history of social movements during the past 40 years or so suggests that such movements do not succeed when they fail to take due account of the power of entrenched economic and political elites who feel that their interests are being threatened to resist changes in the status quo. (Morton Winston)
[Failing to take into account the power of threatened entrenched interests] is the reason why the environmental movement has been stymied on the issue of global climate change. It is also why the aspirations of the peace movement, the anti-nuclear movement, and the economic justice movement, have not been notably successful. (Morton Winston)
Aspects of the human rights movement, in particular, the demands for racial and gender equality, and now for LGBTI equality, have met with significant success. The reason is that these issues do not threaten the power of the “rich men who rule the world” very much if at all, while de-weaponizing the planet, ending dependence on fossil fuels, and redistributing the wealth, do. (Morton Winston)
Unless those of us who aspire to create a more just and sustainable world figure out how to “flip” the current power-holders by leveraging their own power, I am fearful that our aspirations will not be fulfilled and we will end up just talking to ourselves. (Morton Winston)
[Economic man] is a core assumption in microeconomics that permeates other aspects of the discipline, with a strong influence on other social sciences. (Lourdes Beneria)
[Economic man] is constantly translated into economic policy—the latest historical version being neoliberalism and the neoliberal policies of the last few decades. (Lourdes Beneria)
"Economic man" is assumed to lead to “economically rational” decision-making and it is taught as if the assumption is the natural order of human behavior and the most fundamental way of maximizing individual well-being and the wealth of nations. (Lourdes Beneria)
[Economic man] also leads to the emphasis on maximizing economic growth in order to maximize wellbeing, thus downplaying other important factors that contribute to people's happiness. (Lourdes Beneria)
The assumption of “economic man” in neoclassical analysis implies the use of “separate self” models of human behavior, i.e., individual decisions that do not take into consideration the effect of their behavior on other people or on society. (Lourdes Beneria)
This paradigm and the economic system that it justifies has not had much to say about the negative effects of production and consumption on the environment or on its tendency to produce toxic food that poisons our health. (Lourdes Beneria)
Many critics of orthodox economics have called these models and the discipline itself “autistic” and irrelevant to think about socially desirable goals and about alternatives. (Lourdes Beneria)
Even though a large number of economists have begun to call for the importance of thinking about these issues and to work on theoretical and practical alternatives, the fact is that hegemonic thinking in economic theory and the teaching of Economics itself continue to perpetuate this autistic paradigm.
To be sure, the teaching of Economics is in crisis, but the resistance to change it and to incorporate heterodox economics in it is strong, longstanding, and very powerful.
The neoliberal era and the spread of globalization have contributed to solidify and widen the influence of orthodox economics across the globe; questioning it generates many incredulous smiles among believers and the powerful forces behind it can’t be underestimated. (Lourdes Beneria)
Given the influence of the discipline of Economics on other social sciences and society as a whole, the assumption of “economic man” and its consequences for our way of viewing how societies function should be a central focus of attention in order to build larger systems of meaning. (Lourdes Beneria)
In many ways, current social change is ahead of Economics as a discipline and we can see a growing number of illustrations showing that economic man is being replaced by socially responsible human behavior searching for alternatives. (Lourdes Beneria)
[These changes range] from the use of bicycles instead of cars to the formation of cooperatives in production and consumption, the growth of organic food, and the increasing use of ethical banking, to mention just a few that relate to the solidary economy. (Lourdes Beneria)
We can also point out to the spread of strong criticisms of the current system and of the search for alternatives—from the growth of new political movements to the formation of political organizations from the bottom up. (Lourdes Beneria)
Moving beyond “economic man” remains as a key and difficult challenge in the Great Transition and in thinking through global citizenship. (Lourdes Beneria)

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