Posts Tagged ‘Peter Ellyard’


Now it is the optimists who are the realistic ones

April 21, 2009

When I read the press comment about the global financial situation or the likelihood of reaching global agreement on climate change in Copenhagen in November I become astonished about the pessimism of mainstream commentators and economists . Each of these people who usually claim the mantle of realism for themselves when they are actually the ones who are out of touch with reality Each of these commentators construct his/her arguments by comparing current problems with past crises when our perceptions were dominated by nationalist thinking and the expectation that international leadership such as the leaders at the recent G20 meeting would continue to give priority to national interests over planetary interests. I commented recently on the G20 summit . These comments can be found in this blog. I predicted a much more optimistic result than most commentators did . I sent the copy to a major Australian newspaper which said they would not publish because they believed that my comments were unrealistically optimistic . Well as it turned out I think I got it pretty right. Even allowing for the cynicism of much of the media they looked at the problems facing the G20 from a nationalist and not a planetist mindset, and without recognizing the genuinely new circumstances of the G20 meeting . The world is now firmly embedded in a global culture which is says that cooperation on these major issues of collective survival is in our interests and competition is not. When the leaders of 85% of the worlds population and 90% of the world’s GDP meet and agree to do something collaboratively -as they did- it is indeed historic . Old thinking believes that such an agreement would be excessively altruistic when in fact it is in our enlightened self interested to raise the bar on possible agreement and to make decisions which are elevating and not based on the least common denominator. Such decisions involve what Garret Hardin called ‘mutual coercion mutually agreed upon’ . Now there is recognition that we are on the same side and that we will either all succeed together or fail together. What G20 leader would want to be the one who prevents such a global agreement when the issues are so serious, such saving ourselves economically speaking by fixing the global financial crisis, seeking ecological salvation through collaboratively facing with the climate challenge together ,or on increasing out mutual interdependence and mutual benefit by completing the Doha Round of trade talks. I predict all three of these major issues will be significantly progressed by the end of 2009. However don’t expect many old thinking economist and newspaper commentators to predict this .