Optimization means: to make the 'best' possible use of such resources as are available within a given constraint-set. This notion supports neo-classical economics in particular, and public-policy processes generally. From an environmental viewpoint, however, the critical result of this goal of optimization is that we tend to view unused resources as a waste, and, to make up for this, expand use to the limit. Even our notions of carrying capacity are expressed as "maximum sustainable yield". Little is exempt from optimization when it is driven by the current economic framework: if something, such as 'natural beauty', has no monetary value, it becomes difficult to protect from the impacts of commercial consumption and the ravages of human greed.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a unique, experimental research work of the Union of International Associations. It is currently published as a searchable online platform with profiles of world problems, action strategies, and human values that are interlinked in novel and innovative ways. These connections are based on a range of relationships such as broader and narrower scope, aggravation, relatedness and more. By concentrating on these links and relationships, the Encyclopedia is uniquely positioned to bring focus to the complex and expansive sphere of global issues and their interconnected nature.
The initial content for the Encyclopedia was seeded from UIA’s Yearbook of International Organizations. UIA’s decades of collected data on the enormous variety of association life provided a broad initial perspective on the myriad problems of humanity. Recognizing that international associations are generally confronting world problems and developing action strategies based on particular values, the initial content was based on the descriptions, aims, titles and profiles of international associations.
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.