There are many occasions on which people have to waste time waiting. The profitability of shops and other services at which the customer or client pays for the service increases the more the average customer is prepared to wait, because this optimizes the utilization of employees. In operation research terms, this is akin to effective 'loading'. In the case of administrative services or public transport, the same is true, except that frequently the individual has no choice but to utilize the available facility because there is no alternative. Persons required to be available during the course of a court case may be required to wait considerable periods: this is a factor in discouraging people to volunteer as witnesses. In some cultures, status is determined by the length of the period of waiting that a person can impose upon any person seeking an interview.
Pravda calculates that Soviet citizens waste 37,000 million hours a year standing in line to buy food and other necessities. This figure is dwarfed by those who are imminently expecting the Second Coming.
The more boring and out-of-date the magazines in the waiting room, the longer you will have to wait for your scheduled appointment.
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.