Although business and government are said to invest in the future, this "future" tends to refer to "the next five years", or to be limited in scope to the future of one place or, at most, of Western nations. This mode of planning results in chaos wherever long-term commitments are required. Business does not have the vision, the practical tools, nor the methodological styles necessary to plan for its own development in the context of the overall, world-wide economic foundation, and government is blocked by the need to respond to voters and powerful lobbies.
Recently the British government took four years of public debate before it went ahead with plans to construct one nuclear reactor.
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.