Throughout history, humans beings have always established social communities first. They develop rules of social exchange, embed their members in complex reciprocal relationship and build up social trust. Only when these relationships are firm can communities enter into commercial trade and set up markets for exchange. That is because markets, by their very nature, deplete trust. The old adage [caveat emptor] "let the buyer beware" is as true today as it was at the time of the Roman markets more than 2,000 years ago. The point is that markets are secondary rather than primary institutions. They are deriviative in nature and exist only as long as there is enough social trust in place to assure the terms of trade.
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.