I was asked by the newly appointed chair of PWPA (Professors World Peace Academy) in Korea, Dr. Thomas Selover (UTS’77) for some reflections on possible future PWPA Conferences. First I would like to congratulate Dr. Selover on this appointment. Now for a few remarks on how I see some major concerns:
- Systems approach vs. a strategic approach. In moral terms, this often breaks down into concern for the whole vs. self-interest (strategizing to accomplishing one’s end). Today almost all public policy is based on individual and group self-interests competing over, and strategizing to acquire, public money. Partisanism prevents using public money for the purpose of the whole. Our big PWPA Congresses examined social systems: the USSR system, the Chinese System, and Western Democratic societies. It is important that both the needs of the whole and individuals are addressed. Systems analysis should ensure that both are met.
- Principles of sound governance. The Divine Principle, authored by PWPA’s Founder, Rev. Moon, is based on spiritual principles. He made some observations that provide clues to how principles of governance need to be considered. For example, the relationships of the political, cultural, and economic spheres function as organs of the body (the human biological system), with each social sphere performing a role as an organ of the larger social system. I discussed five main principles necessary for good governance in my book Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0 (2009). These are principles I believe were implicit in the understanding of the U.S. founders, when they drafted the U.S. Constitution, that are nearly always violated by new legislation passed by both the U.S. government and individual states today.
- Evolution of social consciousness. This involves the question of how societies rise and decline so that they can be guided within principled bounds to rise and avoid collapse. We are publishing an article on this topic titled “Seven Phases of Social Development: Politometrics Instead of Political Alchemy” by PWPA Professor Akmal A. Gafurov in the March 2017 issue of International Journal on World Peace. One could argue that the Ten Commandments emerged as a level of social consciousness of the principles of behavior towards one another required for more freedom to emerge. However, today we have social institutions and spheres based on urbanization and large populations. There have been no set of principles instilled in social consciousness related to social institutions and bureaucracy, which is one reason I wrote my book, hoping to promote some discussion of this.
- Issue-oriented policy. I think most the issues people talk about, environment, education, constitutions, overpopulation, nuclear power and weapons, space travel, economic equality, war, and peace, etc., fall under the umbrella of the above points. They are all things that fit in a context and can’t be fully studied as things in themselves. Conference by PWPA on such topics, need to be discussed as parts of a complex system, the way weather predictions cannot be accurate without seeing the interconnection of a wide array of variables. For example, linear political arguments that tie ocean rise to carbon combustion by humans, without an interconnection to earth’s albedo in the arctic ocean, sunspot activity, the absorption of heat by solar panels, and thousands of other factors will inevitably lead to faulty policy decisions. Linear arguments in complex systems are a modern form of religious dogma and not real science.
I’d like to see future conferences organized by PWPA consider these above points. I learned much from our PWPA International President Morton A. Kaplan, who, at the University of Chicago, promoted a systems approach to political science as opposed to Hans Morgenthau’s power politics, which emphasized the strategic use of one’s power to promote national self-interest. Such a view may enable people, or states, with power to bully their way with others and obtain some selfish short-term benefits, but unless such use of power is constrained by checks and balances based on principles that underlie a larger functional system (like the U.S. Constitution), the result is divisiveness, faction, and war rather than peace and harmony.