1998 Council On Ideas
We are living in a time of change unprecedented in both extent and rapidity on a planet now so filled by our presence that little further space exists to accommodate serious mistakes. The scale of economic activity, the number of people, environmental degradation, and the power of weaponry raise both the likelihood of conflict and the need for greater cooperation among peoples. The information and communications revolution erases distance. More than ever before, we are truly stuck with each other.
the contingencies of history, the complexities of our world, and our
own inevitable ignorances make the future impossible to predict in principle,
we cannot offer profound advice or definite directions. But perhaps
we can suggest some guidelines, based on goodwill and common moral sensibility,
for a long and successful human persistence on a well sustained earth.
As never before, governments and other institutions must be capable of nimble response. Yet, most of today's international in- stitutions are a half-century old and drained of political will. At the same time, corporations and civil society are taking on broader policy roles, forcing national governments to rethink their own functions. The coming era demands a period of concerted social innovation and institution building - this time encompassing all sectors - comparable to that which followed the end of World War II.