The rapidly changing state of the world makes planning in the face of complex interconnected problems a formidable challenge. Our ability to conceive adequate solutions and strategies is often undermined by our lack of understanding of the nature of problems in their wider context. The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential offers a radically different perspective to associations, policy-makers, social researchers and those concerned with development strategy. By clarifying the ways in which problems reinforce and sustain each other, the Encyclopedia shifts the level of attention from isolated problems to problem cycles, and thus to sustainable strategy cycles. This allows for a more holistic understanding of the environment in which global problems and strategies are situated.
Recreation and tourism are becoming popular to the extent that in many countries they have developed into a national industry; they are often accompanied by extensive damage to the environment. Aquatic ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to the effects of an increased tourist trade and the resultant building of hotel accommodations, sewage disposal works, roads, car parks and landing jetties on banks and coastlines; and the increased angling, swimming, water skiing, shooting or use of motor-boats in the water body. These all produce direct deleterious effects when conducted on a massive scale, including shore damage, chemical changes in the water, and sediments and biological changes in the plant and animal communities. Indirect effects are caused when small towns and villages near a water body are visited periodically by a large number of people; or by changes in the land usage within the drainage area often due to an increase in industrial sewage or agricultural run-off that is associated with the local growth of tourism.
Environmental disadvantages accompanying the over-exploitation of tourism include: despoiling of coastlines by construction of tourist facilities; pollution of the sea; loss of historic buildings to make way for tourist facilities; loss of agricultural land for airport development. Ownership of land and the control of components of the tourist industry are increasingly in the hands of non-residents and of companies based elsewhere, giving rise to serious problems of control. Often outside interests acquire the best sites and beaches and then exploit them in such a way that an overall tourist plan cannot be implemented at a later date.
Tourism places direct and indirect pressures on, and threats to, the conservation of species and habitats, and may cause disturbances to wildlife and increase pollution caused by transportation.
Disposal of waste produced by the tourism industry may cause major environmental problems. Such waste can generally be divided into: sewage and waste-water; chemical wastes, toxic substances and pollutants; and solid waste (garbage or rubbish). The effect of direct discharge of untreated sewage can lead to eutrophication, oxygen deficit and algal blooms.
Corrupt practices in business include diversion of company funds, tax evasion, and the use of bribery, intimidation and fraud. High company officials involved in corruption or seeking to extend the power of the company may offer bribes to public officials in return for favours. Commercial pressures on companies to improve performance increase susceptibility to unethical behaviour. Establishing criminal liability in such cases is a matter of law and evidence, generally with the requirement that the manager should know of the wrongdoing or be willfully blind to actions by a subordinate.
Corporate crime differs from white collar crime in that the latter is solely for the benefit of the individual, whereas corporate crime serves the corporate entity, even though in some cases the interests of the company and an individual may be connected. Embezzlement of funds from your employer is white collar crime. Deliberate inflated invoicing, which siphons funds from your clients' into your company's accounts, could be either corporate crime or white collar crime or both, depending on whether the perpetrator is able to take personal gain from the action.
A distinction can be also be made between unethical corporate activity undertaken at the discretion of a company employee and that undertaken with the tacit encouragement of, or by instruction of, superiors. Examples include cases where pollutants are dumped illegally to save disposal costs. It is considered impractical for top executives to know all the decisions taken by subordinates. In some cases such executives make it clear that they do not care how a job is done, provided it gets done. In other cases they deliberately turn a blind eye, or implicitly agree to it. And without in any way condoning unethical activity, executives may reward those subordinates who do get a job done under difficult circumstances. In all such cases the executives remain shielded from the blame by plausible deniability, although several countries have introduced new legislation to ensure that directors of companies are held liable for the criminal activities of the company and its employees.
Bacteriological or biological agents of warfare are living organisms (or infective material derived from them) which are intended to cause disease or death in animals, plants, or man, and which depend for their effects on their ability to multiply in the person, animal or plant attacked. Various living organisms (for example, rickettsiae, viruses and fungi), as well as bacteria, can be used as weapons. The use of epidemic warfare on a strategic scale is liable to lead to the infection of a very high proportion of the population attacked, and even if the attacking country were protected (by immunization) from some specific strain, changes to more virulent forms might overwhelm the level of immunity. The chief types of bacterial and viral agents developed or considered have included: anthrax (bacterial), which can cause death in 24 hours if lungs are attacked; brucellosis or undulant fever (bacterial), which is fatal in 5% of untreated cases; tick-borne encephalomyelitis and mosquito-borne equine encephalitis (viral), which have no effective treatment, can be fatal and can cripple the nervous systems of survivors; bubonic and pneumonic plagues (bacterial); psittacosis (viral) which can be fatal in up to 40% of cases; Rocky Mountain spotted fever (rickettsial) which can kill in 3 days; tularaemia (bacterial), for which the untreated rate of fatality is 5-8%; typhoid and cholera (bacterial) which is extremely contagious; Q-fever (rickettsial); and chikungunya and dengue fevers (viral). Smallpox is one of the deadliest epidemic viruses known, but has been exterminated in the wild; the only stocks are in high-security research establishments in the USA and Russia.
Despite the availability of scientific methods in agriculture and animal husbandry, present methods of farming tend to yield a much smaller percentage than is potentially feasible with proper crop rotation, more plant varieties, plant nutrients, fertilisers and proper pest control. In many villages in the developing nations only a little over 50% of the arable land is used for agricultural production, which leaves much land uncultivated that could possibly produce profitable crops. In many rural areas, even with plentiful rainfall, dependence on subsistence farming has resulted in only short-range agricultural planning.
With existing traditional farming methods, it is difficult to meet family food requirements. Continuous soil erosion, limited means of fertilization, inadequately cultivated fields, and uncontrolled grazing practices all work to create minimally-productive farmland. Farmers tend to have little experience in poultry-keeping or in mechanized farming methods because of the inaccessibility of training centres where they might learn modern farming methods.
Because of the low-yield farming methods, much of the village employment is cyclical rather than continual. Sometimes residents are blocked by outside ownership which controls their markets and brings minimal economic returns to the farmer. Land cultivation is often done with animal powered-single furrow ploughs; the farmers depend on regular rains to supply water where there is no irrigation system. Chickens, pigs, goats, cows, geese, ducks and rabbits live in family yards and are raised for home consumption only - these animals freely forage for food throughout a village since there is usually no common grazing land. Without proper upbreeding of present stock and a larger variety of animals, profitable animal husbandry is not possible.
A chronic illness usually develops slowly, lasts for an indefinite period of time, can deteriorate overall health and usually requires intervention to resolve. Many chronic diseases are uncertain in prognosis. Cure is problematic or impossible, so treatment concentrates in making the patient comfortable or relieving pain. Sometimes patients suffer from multiple diseases; and the side effects of medical treatments can lead to additional chronicity. Long-time use of drugs, routine monitoring and crisis requiring hospitalization make chronic diseases expensive. The extent to which patients succumb to the various effects of chronic disease depends upon numerous factors, in particular their psycho-social support, financial status, childhood experiences, sense of humour and determination to push on.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
The initial content for the Encyclopedia was seeded from UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations. UIA’s decades of collected data on the enormous variety of association life provided a broad initial perspective on the myriad problems of humanity. Recognizing that international associations are generally confronting world problems and developing action strategies based on particular values, the initial content was based on the descriptions, aims, titles and profiles of international associations.
The Union of International Associations (UIA) is a research institute and documentation centre, based in Brussels. It was established in 1907, by Henri la Fontaine (Nobel Peace Prize laureate of 1913), and Paul Otlet, a founding father of what is now called information science.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.