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.
The natural environment, human communities and traditional cultures are collapsing. Extremist leaders, politicians and media are pitting people against one another along cultural identities. Displaced from their homes by the combined effects of climate change, poverty and political violence, caravans and boatloads of desperate people are seeking refuge across state borders. Climate-change induced hurricanes, floods, droughts and biodiversity loss are realities.
In addition to the problems encountered of settling in a host country and attempting to find acceptance by the community of that country, refugees encounter difficulties in finding employment and housing. They have to adapt themselves to new environments, lifestyles, ideas about values and customs, and often to a foreign language. They run the risk of losing their native identity, especially when the culture is oral, and are constantly confronted with a feeling of the inability to participate and belong, a feeling which often leads to cultural rootlessness. Their children often have difficulty accessing schooling and, once admitted, experience problems in adjusting to new languages, teaching styles and standards. These people may also have a higher incidence of nightmares, inability to concentrate in school, and of the various kinds of aggression, withdrawal, and mental breakdown observed in people who have seen horrors which cannot be eradicated from their minds.
For the receiving countries, waves of refugees may cause severe and abrupt changes in the environment. Population densities multiply overnight, traditional land systems are disrupted and markets are disorganized. The presence of refugees may create xenophobia among the permanent residents, stir up prejudice and lead to factions which disagree ideologically with one another.
Organized crime are acts carried out for profit or power, by more than two people acting together over a long or indeterminate period, through the abuse of commercial structures, the use of violence or intimidation, and having an effect on political life, the media, public administration, justice or the economy. More simply put, organized crime is perpetrated by any group having a corporate structure who primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities, often surviving on fear and corruption. Groups are increasingly crossing national borders. Mafia-type organizations are also coming to resemble multinational companies. Their statutory objective is to make money. The are irregular only in that they have recourse to crime to do so.
Organized crime are acts carried out for profit or power, by more than two people acting together over a long or indeterminate period, through the abuse of commercial structures, the use of violence or intimidation, and having an effect on political life, the media, public administration, justice or the economy. More simply put, organized crime is perpetrated by any group having a corporate structure who primary objective is to obtain money through illegal activities, often surviving on fear and corruption.
Organized crime can be segmented into four types: (a) the criminal gang, usually predatory mobile gangs involved in armed robbery, kidnapping and some kinds of drug trafficking; (b) the criminal syndicates cater to a specific segment of the population providing forbidden goods or services like drugs, sex and gambling; (c) criminal rackets extort money or business concessions from legitimate or illegitimate organizations including business and trade unions; and (d) criminal political machines. These types can overlap and any one criminal organization might be involved in one or all of these types.
Organized crime is difficult to eliminate for three main reasons: (a) Although individuals can be arrested and convicted, they can also be quickly replaced in the organization; (b) Although the criminal code penalizes individual acts or persons, is generally powerless to tackle the conspiracy of a permanent, sometimes international, well-structured organization; (c) As long as the public continues to demand certain services (such as gambling, drugs and prostitution) which are illegal or semi-legal, criminal entrepreneurs will find it profitable to employ the same techniques as industry in order to be profitable and efficient, which includes being efficient at avoiding prosecution. Techniques used include both the sound organization (usually on military lines with a chain of command up to the general staff) and the communications systems (international, national, local and field based) that effective operations require.
The word "corruption" means the abuse of public trust for private purposes. It is a moral phenomenon, even though money is involved in the vast majority of cases. A public office is used for the benefit of one or more individuals, rather than in the national interest. Corruption may exist independently of any financial benefit; it is universal and multiform, and exists within non-governmental organizations. There are several definitions of corruption in existence but it can be said simply that corruption means the abuse of an office for personal ends. This office may be public or private but corruption is usually regarded as a public phenomenon. An individual abuses the public confidence placed in him to serve his own interests or those of the group to which he belongs. To understand the many forms of corruption, it is first necessary to consider the nature of the situations and persons concerned: civil servants, businessmen, private individuals or companies using the same processes. The external factor intervening in the decision-making process influences the unwarranted benefit to the decision maker or executive in the form of a gratuity or the promise of a gratuity.
Corruption affects all sectors of both public and private economic life. The existence of a public sphere and a private sphere is a prerequisite for corruption, but certain differences can be observed in the interests pursued. A businessman, working within the law, who slips an inducement across the table is generally pursuing an end corresponding to the interests of his company. The act - though reprehensible - thus comes within the framework of the normal operation of the enterprise. This is also the case of the politician who, in his own interest or in that of his party, tries to cover up a financial scandal but cannot do so without the help of other persons whose action or inaction he purchases. Another area very propitious to corruption is nepotism. This is a phenomenon extremely difficult to pin down but, since the criterion of competence has been replaced by that of favouritism, it creates between the decision maker and the beneficiary of the decision a link of dependency which may well influence future decisions.
The corrupted and the corrupter are not accomplices: each is the perpetrator of a distinct offence, subject to its own procedures and punishments. Moreover, corruption must be distinguished from the traffic of influence that one individual exercises over others to persuade them to refrain from carrying out one of their duties so as to give him an undue advantage. Both the corrupter and the corrupted can be civil servants, State agents, private individuals or elected officials. Corruption thus creates a dual responsibility: the corrupted (the passive subject) is just as responsible as the corrupter (the active subject). This dual responsibility gives rise to the fact that both parties are liable to punishment. Corruption can also engage the responsibility of the State if the latter is organizing it through the operation of its organs or when, by a permissive attitude, it accepts the fact that private entities or private individuals are practising it.
The internal corruption described above can have several connections in other countries: it then becomes transboundary and is carried out by private companies or individuals on a large scale and involving several States. Corruption, whatever its perpetrator and its extent, constitutes economically speaking a serious obstacle to the economic and social development of the countries affected. Thus, poisoning as it does the economy and the social fabric, corruption violates the economic, social and cultural rights as well as the right to development and to a healthy environment of the peoples and population sectors concerned.
Trade protectionism is the result of governments acting to save certain sectors of their economies from foreign competition. The impact of this on the fledgling industries is considerable but they are in no position to retaliate. Protectionist policies have also been directed by developed countries against each other, but this is usually carefully negotiated to avoid retaliation.
Computers facilitate the theft of money and property and the destruction of data when there are inadequate controls against their misuse. Crimes perpetrated by unauthorized access to keyboards, terminals and communications devices generally can be described as thefts, misapplications of assets, or destruction of information. These terms may apply to the misappropriation of money and real property, or of proprietary information and intangible assets. The misuse of the computer may involve the forgery of computer signatures such as authorizing codes; the creation of false accounts payable to disburse cheques; improper use of personal information; the creation of "virus" or "rogue" programmes which interfere in software operations and destroy data. All of these crimes include programming the erasure of any evidence of the computer crime perpetrated. Probably the fastest growing category of computer related crime is that involving electronic fund transfer systems. The most significant types of computer crime were: arson, sabotage and malicious damage of computer installations; system penetration, or "hacking"; unauthorized use of computer time; thefts of assets, including software; embezzlement of funds; defrauding of consumers and investors; and destruction or alteration of data (including college transcripts and diplomas) and software. The motive is usually personal financial gain, anger or revenge but another significant impetus is 'the intellectual challenge' associated with computer crime.
The absence of, or inadequate provision for, documentation and access controls for computer installations, facilitates computer crime. Unauthorized access to software and hardware is almost exclusively the means of crime perpetration. With authorized access, but with criminal collusion, two or more persons may commit crimes unnoticed, until financial audits, inventories, and computer operation system checks uncover the fraud or misuse. In the case of theft of intangible properties such as computer-stored patents of engineering, chemical or other designs, processes, or marketing and strategic data, the crime is exposed, if at all, by inferences drawn from the activities, products or knowledge shown by competitors.
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.