Short-termism Obsession with immediate problems Preoccupation with short-term problems
There is a basic mismatch between people's primitive, limited and distorted capacity to perceive what is happening in their immediate environment in comparison with the urgent need to find ways of directing and controlling the tumultuous changes which scientific and technological ingenuity has enabled them to initiate. The relatively recent, and rapid, cultural evolution involving intellectual, social and political innovation, has enabled people to plunder an environment whose resources have been generated over millions of years. This has made the much slower processes of biological evolution completely inadequate as a means through which humans can adapt appropriately to their environment. As a consequence there is an almost universal tendency to focus on the more immediate short-term problems which can be effectively grasped, articulated, communicated and acted upon. Those problems requiring sensitivity to, and detection or analysis of, an underlying long-term trend or one involving distant factors, are avoided, often deliberately from political or economic expedience.
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.