Despite vigorous efforts by some rural communities to attract and hold permanent residents, the pattern of residency in other villages may be remarkably mobile as every weekend those who work or study in urban centres return to their village, where they may take part in its social life but play little role in its economic vitality. The daily exodus of students of middle and upper schools and adults working in nearby industry leaves the village virtually empty during the day. Because of the anticipated temporary return of relatives, many houses have several guest rooms well-equipped but unused. Full-time year-round village residents are outnumbered several times over by those who still consider the village as their home, but they are seldom present to lend their support to effective development. All of these factors lend a sense of impermanence and incompleteness to the social fabric, resulting in a sense of inertia, a feeling that the permanent residents are simply acting as caretakers for those who come only occasionally.
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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