Inadequacy of available knowledge for articulation of appropriate policies
Intellectual bankruptcy in response to policy challenges
Government leaders are increasingly confronted with the reality that the ideas on which they governed with success in the past are losing their relevance and much of their political force in the altered circumstances of the present. There are no credible insights on which to build the policies of the future.
The inadequacy of the advice offered to Russia following the dissolution of the USSR demonstrates that Western economists no longer know what advice is appropriate to economic systems other than there own. In a situation in which the issues go beyond the purely technical macroeconomic ones and touch on political and other factors, economists have little ability to distil Western experience or integrate it into an appropriate pattern of advice communicable to another culture. The language used fails to convey the essence of a free society and its political basis as understood in the West, whether or not this is relevant to the Russian condition. The advice given has been astonishing in its elitism and its inaccessibility. It is unrealistic for international economic institutions to be able to resolve political issues on which the usefulness of their advice depends. It is irresponsible under such conditions to disguise such inadequacy behind general economic truisms.
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.
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