A major folly of governments and governors is that of over reacting to political situations. Very minor incidents are made to be life and death problems which must be dealt with immediately and decisively. The over reaction thus creates far larger problems than the original issue could ever have produced.
Governments and politicians invent endangered "national security" or "vital interests" or enlarge a "commitment" to an ally to the point that these inventions take on lives of their own. These concerns of the USA during the Cold War and particularly during the Vietnam War perpetuated destructive foreign and domestic policies long after they were recognized as destructive even by those who invented them.
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.