Current Societal Problems
The problems we see in society at the moment are: Environmental destruction, social
inequality, poverty, isolation, and conflict. We have a vison to create solutions.
imagine a society where we live in harmony with the environment, work together in
community, the basic needs of people are met and they are able to express their full talents to the benefits of society, with a sense of connection to society, nature and themselves.
What stops us from achieving these visions?
The desire to out-compete other people and get ahead. There are so many completely
different opinions about where society should go and how we should live. In the conflict
between these opinions, little change gets made. The result is stagnation. If we strengthen
any one particular point of view, it will only lead to a small change resisted by the opposite
point of view. But, when we find answers and solutions that we all can agree on,
transformation can be deep and enduring. It is possible to find such solutions, and there are ways of finding them. By looking at the underlying needs rather than the superficial
opinions, we can create solutions that satisfy all.
Environment vs Power
For example, the energy companies versus
the environmentalists. The energy companies that mine coal, gas and oil would seem to be
in conflict with the environmentalists who wish to keep the earth intact. But in the last
years, we have seen the rise of solar and other renewable energy resources, and few would
disagree with this direction to solve our energy problems.
Energy companies are best placed to take on renewable energy as their business, so it is in
their interest to lead the change to renewable energy. Large-scale renewable energy would
be the natural answer to peak oil, allow the energy companies to continue to be financially
successful in the future, and satisfy the environmentalist’s need to look after the earth.
Capitalism vs Socialism
For example, the capitalists would like the freedom to develop their own enterprises and use their own talents and be rewarded for it. The socialists would like everybody to receive their basic needs, regardless of their income level. Is it possible to do both at once? To have a compassionate capitalist society? To have an enterprising socialist society or to have free-market socialism. Cooperative enterprises are the solution that balances both needs, enabling enterprising people to create their own place, and for each cooperative to support its members and provide a compassionate community-based safety net.
In a society with a large number of cooperative enterprises, there is no need to fear for
unemployment, as each cooperative would put the welfare of its members above simply
making more money. There will be no need for unemployment benefits or for unproductive members of society, as everybody would have the place where they fit.
To live happily, people require a balance of community interaction and their own autonomy. Without social interaction, we are isolated and grow bored and sick. Without independence, we become frustrated and rebellious. In the cooperative system, we can have small autonomous communities that have the flexibility to allow individuality and also the unity that supports their need for coming together.
Even the sick and the elderly have their place and their ability to contribute in such a community.
Amongst decent people conflicts can occur – but they do not have to be the end. There are
always compromises that allow all participants to gain. When people or groups can truly
understand each other, and each other’s needs, then there is always a way to work together in co-operation. This is what the art of mediation is about. We propose to use the power of mediation and facilitation techniques to resolve the problems of society, beginning with conflict.
The current financial system is based on conflict and competition. And so, a
transformation to a more cooperative society also requires a more cooperative financial
system, where there is not just political democracy, but also economic democracy, and the
people are allowed to make decisions about their own financial welfare.
Regional Self sufficiency
We believe in regional self-sufficiency. At least for the basic requirements of life, we can
provide locally for our needs. To live self-sufficiently as a small household or community is isolating, difficult, and may be seen as cut off from society. But regional self-sufficiency
creates a vibrant community and economy, where all can benefit.
It is often said that a united society requires a common enemy, but it can also be done with a common goal. In order for us to come together in unity and cohesion, we need a common
goal that all can believe in. We see that goal as: beauty, happiness, joy,
The religious conflicts
The many religious beliefs and practices each have their place, but in their conflict between
each other, they hold us back. We believe that spirituality in all its forms can be studied
scientifically. We can find and understand and come to agreement about the this very
important but difficult to comprehend part of human life.
In modern psychological research, it is proven that there are types of people who make good
leaders and types that do not. By choosing leaders with a more universal and long-term
perspective, we ensure that our society continues to flourish in both a cooperative and
effective way. Leaders should be tested on aptitude for leadership, not on the amount
of money they can raise in their campaigns.