The emerging public pressure for responsible use of all productive means is blocked by the absence of a comprehensive and generally agreed design for allocating ownership of such means and the responsibility inherent in such ownership. A vacuum of decision-making criteria has become apparent. The "invisible hand" or laissez-faire model has been crippled by the emergence of corporate giants who can, singly or in concert, upset the statistical randomness which that model requires. Consequently, the context of ownership is reduced to the tension between individual or corporate self-interest on the one hand and benevolent good will on the other, with the relationship to property distorted from privilege to inherent right.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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.