Violent world bodes ill for future

WITHOUT wishing to rain on anyone’s Anzac parade, it is perhaps time to look at the future of violence. This has been a bloody century. More people have been killed in the past 100 years than in all of the preceding history of mankind.

The blood-letting continues, with more than 30 wars currently maiming, torturing and slaughtering ordinary mums, dads and kids.

Violence is now part of the transnational and multinational corporate world, dependent on the established financial systems, structures and values of economic rationalism.

The two dominating drivers of economic rationalism are reckless growth and careless competition.

Within our global economy, competition means global competition and growth means voraciously searching and seizing — preferably legally, but let’s not get too wimpy — any activity or territory that will increase profit for stakeholders. Violently, if need be.

Militarism is big business.

As Canadian Voice for Women for Peace head Madaleine Gilchrist wrote in the Global Futures Bulletin of April 15: “Only one-third of current military spending is necessary to eradicate world poverty, hunger and illiteracy”.

Our greedy growth world, the most violent on record, created mechanisms to referee peace. In our economic rational world, they no longer work.

The United Nations will not bomb anyone, so they are no longer invited to lunch with the big boys. NATO, being more pliable to the big boys’ interests, has violated its own charter — of being a purely defensive alliance.

This bloody century has created huge financial and power successes. But the cost to humanity has been even greater.

We have sacrificed a sense of community where everyone respectfully contributes to the community. We have sacrificed respect of self and therefore respect for others.

We have lost sight of the real reason for working — not to gain wealth, but to contribute toward building a healthy, sustainable society.

We have abandoned kids to find what meaning they can from the only world they experience — the world of things — where, to adults, owning a BMW is more important than understanding how their kids feel.

We watched the news on April 21 — two teenagers in middle-class Colorado gunned down a mob of high school students, killing 13 and injuring many more, before blowing themselves away.

And then we saw the most powerful person in the world, Bill Clinton, telling us that “we must teach our young people violence does not solve anything”.

The next news item was the graphic details of how many American and British bombs were dropped, and how many people were probably killed that day, in Kosovo.

A violent society is unsustainable — we are killing our future.

• Ann Macbeth is a futurist and principal of Annimac Consultants.

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