Global justice: how?

Toon van Eijk | February 12, 2010
Editorial: From aid to global justice. Frans Bieckmann

Referring to the WRR report, Frans Bieckmann remarks in his inspiring Editorial ‘From aid to global justice’ that one of the editorial guidelines of The Broker is: “how to analyze the complex combination of local economic, political, social, cultural and ethnic factors, and how they are integrated, how to relate them to global trends and networks, and how to arrive at strategic decisions based on such analyses”.
This one sentence very aptly demonstrates the enormous complexity of arriving at global justice. How are we going to do this? Elsewhere on The Broker website I have labeled this ‘the illusion of intellectual holism’ (References 1 and 2). To my mind we simply do not have the intellectual capacity to analyze these multiple, interdependent local factors and their complex relations to many global factors, let alone that we are willing and able to adjust our behaviors accordingly in an ecologically and societally sound direction. In this volume of The Broker Jeffrey Sachs says that “Our institutions and ethics come from a different era and have not yet been ‘updated’ to knit together a globally stable society”. To my mind this is the bottom line. If our ethics –and thus individual behaviour and collective institutions, which are built by individuals- are not ‘updated’ or ‘upgraded’ to a higher level of performance, the ‘planning’ of Sachs and ‘searching’ of Easterly will be equally futile, I am afraid.
Although in the analysis of today’s multiple crises the term ‘ethics’ regularly surfaces and behavioural change is deemed indispensable, concrete suggestions on how to ‘upgrade’ our ethics are conspicuous by their absence. In other publications (van Eijk 2010a and 2010b) I indicate how techniques for consciousness development can, at least partly, fill this void.

3. Van Eijk T. (2010a). Development and Work Ethic in sub-Saharan Africa. The mismatch between modern development and traditionalistic work ethic. Free Musketeers, The Netherlands (to be published at end of March 2010).
4. Van Eijk T. (2010b). Societal Transformation through Consciousness-Based Development. Civic Driven Change through Self-Empowerment. (In press).