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Synergies of the Whole

Each of the various individual strategies in the What the World Wants Project have their unique purpose and seek to accomplish specific goals. But what of the strategies combined together? What happens to the world when all of these actions are taken? Each strategy described in this report has a primary objective. What happens when it is reached or as it is being reached? What are the spin-offs, secondary and tertiary effects of the process of reaching the objectives?

A View of the Whole

Never before in the entire history of the planet has so much been possible for so many for such a small amount and in such a short time. With a relatively small portfolio of investments per year for the next decade -- less than 1% of the world's annual income -- everyone in the world would be wealthier, healthier and more secure and the standard of living would be moving forward at an unprecedented pace.

With universal access to health care, infant and child mortality and birth rates go down, and life expectancy goes up. A marked decline in maternal death rates, particularly where they are currently highest, would be accomplished by the primary healthcare program. Close to 495,000 mothers' lives would be saved each year if every country had access to health care. Families would have fewer children because more children survive. As a result, population growth has another force driving it towards a leveling-off and a stable population becomes more possible and probable. Economic productivity goes up as debilitating illnesses are reduced, and education is more effective when low levels of health and nutrition are no longer present to prevent children from taking full advantage of schooling.

There will be a decrease in illness-induced poverty. Through improved health care, a lowered environmental threat of disease, widely disseminated health information, better living conditions and greater access to food, the individual strategies would combine to produce a great reduction in the illnesses that leave many people either unable to work or under-employed. With such increased individual health and vitality, society and local economies become healthier and more robust. The synergy of adequate supplies of food, access to healthcare, clean water and improved housing will result in a marked improvement to the quality of life for the individuals, families and communities where these needs are not currently being met, but will also impact regional, national and international society as the stability and productivity of each region increases.

Other combinations of the strategies would raise the world's standard of living in different ways. The well-being of children would be raised dramatically. Besides reduced infant and child mortality, with universal immunizations polio would join the ranks of smallpox as a disease eradicated from the planet. Measles, whooping cough and other childhood diseases -- and sometime killers -- would be greatly reduced. Better child nutrition will result in healthier children, eliminating the specter of reduced brain development caused through chronic malnutrition. With fewer maternal deaths in childbirth, fewer children and families will be left motherless. With better educational opportunities for women, children will be among the first beneficiaries of mother's new knowledge. Children throughout the world will have, for the first time in history, unparalleled chances of reaching their full physical and mental potential.

All of the strategies would directly or indirectly provide jobs, thereby increasing employment and combating poverty. The debt retirement initiative would increase employment by freeing much of the capital of developing nations to be used in new development projects.

With the elimination of illiteracy, the raising of educational levels for everyone and the improvement of schooling in general, social and economic productivity will rise as more information and know-how enters into society's decision-making processes and more options become more readily available. Literate people are prodigious consumers of information. The global communications industry -- the suppliers of information -- will be a direct beneficiary of rising educational levels. Publishers and other suppliers of information for literate people will prosper as their market size increases by almost 1 billion people. All the problems of the world will be affected as more and more people become better educated and informed. Democracy tends to flourish in well-educated societies. As Thomas Jefferson has pointed out, "The best defense of democracy is an informed electorate."

As democracy grows throughout the world, the planet might see the demise of all the more repressive forms of government and a corresponding increase in the freedoms of press, religion and individual expression found in the world's older democracies. One of the benefits of a thriving democracy is that it allows more intelligence, creativity and problem-solving abilities into the process of solving society's problems than do more centralized command and control forms of decision making. As more people are involved and democracy flourishes, the fuller potential of any given society will tend to be realized.

Another assumed benefit of global literacy and rising educational standards is the reduction of innocent and ignorant people's gullibility and vulnerability to emotional manipulation that leads to fears of other people and the resultant prejudice, hatred, "ethnic cleansing" and other euphemisms for genocide. As Buckminster Fuller pointed out, "Each generation is born into less and less misinformation, and into more and more reliable information." As we learn more about the world, our ignorance and fear of other cultures and people with different clothes, looks, tastes, foods, beliefs, and customs than ours becomes less threatening. And, as a possible tertiary benefit, our knowledge of our own culture will increase. As our knowledge of others increases, our knowledge and understanding of what we are not becomes clearer and our own beliefs and customs come into sharper focus. We learn to see who and what we are as we see what we are not. Our culture-distinguishing features rise from the ambient background noise to take on a texture and substance that is unique. Another way of saying this is, "Globalization drives diversity." Even as it interconnects us all into one global market, it also makes it clearer to each of us what we are bringing to the market.

By eliminating the need for time- and energy-consuming trips to obtain water, reducing the debilitating effects of disease through extending health care and improving sanitation, protecting and enriching the soil of existing farmlands, and teaching effective, sustainable farming techniques, the productivity of farmland and farm workers and the quality of their lives would be significantly improved. Rural/urban inequities in services and opportunities would decrease thereby lessening the migration towards the city and decreasing the growing pressure on metropolitan environments.

Stabilization of the world's population, the new health care system, projects to provide clean water and sanitation systems for those lacking adequate facilities, the health education campaign, and better housing would clearly have a dramatic yield in reducing general illness and allowing existing health systems to meet more of the needs of their regions.

One of the worst results of poverty would be reduced significantly as homelessness was eliminated. Nations would become healthier, more politically stable, and more environmentally secure as densely populated, unsanitary urban squatter camps are replaced by adequate housing and thriving communities.

Other interactions would yield ameliorating effects on the environment. One effect would be long-term protection against the potential damage of global warming. The combined effects of planting more trees and grass with a program to reduce both immediate consumption and long-term dependence on fossil fuels would reduce the carbon emissions that are one of the major causes of global warming.[127]

The greening of the deserts would be another environmental boon. Planting large numbers of trees, undertaking a major soil conservation effort and increasing organic fertilizer usage would actually reverse the process that has been turning farmlands into deserts. The local environments and the world at large would benefit from the addition of these stable ecosystems. They would maintain and in some cases foster an increase in biodiversity and provide the world with both additional places of beauty and vacation spots. In addition, by changing the albedo of the local micro-climate they would help bring about increased rainfall -- thereby accelerating the further greening of the deserts.
Programs to replace open sewers with effective sanitation systems and to increase the efficiency of energy use and the adoption of clean energy sources as alternatives to fossil fuels and nuclear power would sharply reduce local and global pollution.

The combined effects of greater energy efficiency and development of renewable energy as an alternative to fossil fuels and nuclear power would enable the world to develop without the destabilizing impact of dwindling sources of energy. The renewable energy sources are more evenly distributed throughout the world than are the fossil fuels. Their distribution in locations that have few sources of industrial energy makes them ideal sources of clean energy that is appropriately matched to end use needs. An energy system based on renewable energy sources will be more diversified than our current system. As such, it will be less vulnerable to supply interruptions caused by international political events, local terrorist attacks or malfunction. Such an energy system will not only be more stable, but provide more employment as the number of energy harnessing devices proliferated. A renewable energy system would also foster energy efficiency because the energy sources would be less concentrated.

Renewable energy sources, because they cannot be depleted, will have a stabilizing impact on the global economy. Given the economies of mass production, large numbers of small-scale renewable energy-harnessing devices will be able to be produced for less than large-scale one-of-a-kind power plants. The savings and benefits to society are not only found in production of the energy harnessing devices themselves -- transport and transmission costs and losses are reduced, breakdowns that could cripple a system if a large scale power plant goes down are eliminated, and there is more flexibility in dealing with fluctuations in demands and emergencies. As renewable energy became the dominant energy source, the rising competition for smaller and smaller amounts of remaining oil supplies would be lessened. And, because renewable energy sources would be less likely to be under centralized control, the society that they would foster would be a more decentralized and democratic society.

With the world's basic human needs problems moving towards solution, local, national and international security would be more stable. As the basic human needs of each country were met, the personal and national security of each group of people would increase.

Building upon this stabilizing force for peace and international security could be the addition of an empowered UN peace-keeping force. A global peace-keeping force that could guarantee the sovereignty of each nation from outside aggression could operate at a fraction of the costs of the combined national military expenditures. A guarantee of protection against aggression by the UN (or some other multilateral peace-keeping force) would allow each nation that has spent large amounts of resources to protect itself from real or imagined threats from its well-armed neighbors to free up resources previously used by the military. In addition, many of the programs listed above could be implemented by the military or with its assistance. Their discipline, energy, organization and logistical capabilities make them ideal for securing the peace of their country and the world by participating, or leading, reforestation projects, greening of deserts, providing clean water and sanitation facilities, stopping soil erosion and providing shelter for the people in their regions of the world. Such activities would be an ideal bridge for those countries that did not feel safe letting their standing armies disband or decrease in strength, but who were willing to take the first step towards increased regional and global security by allowing their soldiers to participate in the type of activities described here.

Money Follows Vision

The set of strategies described in this paper would not, of course, solve all of our world problems. They would, however, change the world in fundamental ways. Both history and prehistory have been marred by the somber assumption that the survival of much of humanity must forever be in jeopardy -- that it is the survival of the fittest, instead of the fittest survival of all.

Instead of a pervasive fear of the future that leads to alienation, apathy or nihilism, the information about our global and local options can help lead us towards a purposeful implementation of these positive solutions. Resources can always be found to implement a vision. Once a vision is clear to enough people, the will needed to make the vision real can make the decisions necessary for its implementation. Once the decision is made, things happen. We go to the Moon; we eradicate smallpox; we build the next generation computer or climb the highest mountain. For the first time, the existence of all humanity can be secure, and, free from the once-interminable and bestial struggle for survival, humankind can gain the opportunity to thrive in a manner and scope unprecedented in our history. Whether we proceed to that stage in our development or continue the present paths is no longer determined by the limits of our resources or abilities, but rather by our will.

Next Section: First Strategy
What the World Wants Chart

Eliminate Starvation and Malnutrition: $19 billion Eliminate Starvation & Malnutrition: $19 billion Provide Health Care and AIDS Control: $21 billion Provide Health Care and AIDS Control: $21 billion Provide Shelter: $21 billion Provide Shelter: $21 billion Provide Clean, Safe Water: $10 billion Elliminate Illiteracy: $5 billion Provide Clean, Safe Energy--Energy Efficiency: $33 billion Provide Clean, Safe Energy--Energy Efficiency: $33 billion Provide Clean, Safe Energy--Energy Efficiency: $33 billion Provide Clean, Safe Energy--Renewable Energy: $17 billion Provide Clean, Safe Energy--Renewable Energy: $17 billion Provide Clean, Safe Energy--Renewable Energy: $17 billion Retire Developing Nations Debt: $30 billion Stabilize Population: $10.5 billion Stabilize Population: $10.5 billion Prevent Soil Erosion: $24 billion Prevent Soil Erosion: $24 billion Stop Deforestation: $7 billion Stop Deforestation: $7 billion Stop Ozone Depletion: $5 billion Prevent Acid Rain: $8 billion Prevent Global Warming: $8 billion Prevent Global Warming: $8 billion Prevent Global Warming: $8 billion Remove Landmines: $2 billion Refugee Relief: $5 billion Refugee Relief: $5 billion Eliminate Nuclear Weapons: $7 billion Eliminate Nuclear Weapons: $7 billion Eliminate Nuclear Weapons: $7 billion Build Democracy: $2 billion
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