Superficiality of political debate Trivialization of political debate Avoidance of substantive issues in political debate
Domestic politics, partly under the influence of the media, is becoming so shallow, mean and meaningless that it is failing to produce the ideas and leadership needed to guide national policies in a rapidly changing world. Issues have in many cases become trivialized to the point where meaningful debate has become almost impossible. Government is increasingly crippled by a superstructure of politics that makes ideas harder to discuss and exalts public opinion over leadership. Politicians are encouraged to avoid hard issues which may affect their positions in opinion polls instead of responding to changes in the world, elected officials allow their thinking to be determined by the risk of televized attacks by their opponents, personal security by the press, cynicism on the part of the public, and the need (in some countries) to raise large sums of money to purchase television time to combat such criticism. When every decision is taken in this light, effective decision-making becomes severely constrained, stifling creativity and strong stands on major issues.
The political system becomes unable to define and debate critical questions, let alone resolve them. Politicians are locked into where they are today, rather than being able to lead society effectively into an appropriate 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.