Minority cultures hitherto protected from external influence, and larger independent cultures, are threatened by a process of cultural homogenization. The rapid rise of English in Southeast Asia, where use of that language is widely seen as a key to success in business and commerce, is arousing the concern of officials and intellectuals who fear that Asian values and national identity are being eroded.
The imperative of technology to level all before it to a monotonous sameness constitutes the greatest menace of industrialized society. Cities, whether in their architecture, their road systems, their mass produced products, or their vehicles, suffer from an obsessive homogeneity. Sameness permeates the world like a blight. Under the guise of tourism, it inundates places heretofore relatively untouched by technological civilization. The blight of homogenization is part of the creeping madness engulfing the world. Every nation that succumbs to universal civilization reduces the potential for man to survive an unknown future.
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.