Justice-Based Ideas Can End World Hunger
The 2003 Waterperry Declaration
This is becoming an annual event -- people from all over the world affiliated with the School of Economic Science have convened at Waterperry House, Oxfordshire, England.
Here is their 2003 Declaration.
SCHOOL OF ECONOMIC SCIENCE
(2003)People prosper where justice and equity are honoured. Today a fifth of the world's population lacks the means to feed itself. This injustice and inequity will be resolved when the recognition of our common humanity becomes the foundation of our conduct.
There are now 820 million people suffering malnutrition or starvation, whilst elsewhere in the world there are considerable surpluses of food. People go without, even as their own countries send food abroad. Countries import food, even as their own producers slide into poverty.
In some countries, a lack of good government creates conflict or corruption. Together with ecological damage, this makes the poor more vulnerable to disaster. The exploitation of new technologies threatens to upset forever long established relationships between communities and the natural world. The current opening of developing markets to international trade secures neither prosperity nor social harmony for those living in them.
At the heart of all this is the exploitation of political power and of control over resources, combined with an unwillingness to address market failure. Unchecked, it endangers our entire world.
This planet and its people are one. Our physical environment functions as a single, self-sustaining system, easily capable of supporting the whole human family as part of itself. Our intellectual and spiritual life forms a single vibrant ocean from which we all draw.
There is therefore no justice at all, unless there is justice for all. Whilst any are in poverty, we are all impoverished. That the actions of some cause the deprivation of others is a poverty of culture for which compassion, justice and equity are the remedy.
Together we all create the atmosphere in which governments, businesses and other organisations operate. We are all responsible for the state of the world, from the families that comprise our communities to entire nations and continents. The intentions and attitudes of us all are critical, as they direct our actions.
Justice and equity require that we ensure the opportunity for all humanity, now and in the future, to develop spiritually, intellectually and physically, as conscience and custom direct. In short, we must serve others as we ourselves wish to be served.
We need to examine our own intentions and actions and ask – are these consistent with this full development of humanity or, although benefiting some, will they harm others or damage the planet? Governments act when their people compel them to do so. Businesses act when their customers, shareholders and employees compel them to do so. As people of the world and members of the human race, we have the future in our hands.
As stewards, not owners, of the earth's resources, our role is to nurture, not to exploit. We must develop technologies and ways of living which leave no permanent footprint, but rather leave a generous heritage for future generations.
Humanity must recognise that good government is founded on principle and law, not the aggregation of individual human desires. Only through law can the good of all, not the interests of a few, be secured. Principles do not change, but good governance requires that the policies to implement them must be framed according to time and place. Sovereign governments must have this power.
It follows that universities and schools, and religious, philosophical and spiritual leaders, should use every opportunity to educate and remind all people that we have a single future, which we will build together for better or for worse, for ourselves and those to come.
To this end, the following actions are urged:
That governments together take the necessary steps to ensure safe and sufficient food for all and to place this above every other political and economic consideration by:-
1. Re-assessing the universal application of free trade policy as the basis for development and focusing instead on programmes which facilitate local self-sufficiency and local trading, and by requiring the WTO, IMF and World Bank to do likewise;
2. Requiring that the United States of America and the European Union implement immediately their existing commitments to the reduction of food production subsidies and the removal of import quotas, and that they make further rapid progress in this area;
3. Requiring that governments review their policies on agriculture, energy and transport to ensure they meet the principle of stewardship, and restrain the pattern and levels of consumption of developed nations;
4. Cancelling the debt from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries;
5. Assisting the developing countries to establish the institutions and infrastructure required for good governance, ensuring that these respect local traditions and customs, and are appropriate to the countries' state of development;
6. Working with international institutions and the developing nations to implement programmes to enable them to be financially sovereign and recover and maintain control over their currencies, their taxation systems and the use of their land and natural resources;
7. Acting to ensure just and equitable access to the key assets of the world – land, natural resources and knowledge – and in this light reviewing international assumptions about land ownership, intellectual property, and credit;
8. Addressing environmental depletion and pollution through programmes of change with clear aims and targets, which ensure that polluters pay.
The School of Economic Science is located at 11 Mandeville Place, London W1M 6AQ United Kingdom, or on the WWW at http://www.schooleconomicscience.org
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