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For All Worldwide, A Holistic View

(All chapters are intended for continuing revision)

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Volume II - Chapter Twelve


                                      (updated,  May 28,,  2008)

There are ongoing disasters even more destructive than than the most horrific hurricanes. Poverty is victimizing not thousands. . .but hundreds of millions. --Payal Sampat

The wealth of nations now hinges on our capacity for research. --Pierre Levy

The economic system that appears to work best is a mixed system in a democratic government....with the balance of both ownership and power  shifting...If power resides too long in any part of the system, that part becomes corrupt. --Uel Blank

Half the world's workers, about 1.4 billion, are unable to earn enough to lift themselves and their families above the poverty line, according to the ILO World Employment Reports\

As knowledge becomes wealth there is plenty for everyone.  -Jeffrey Sachs in COMMON WEALTH

THINK BIG about research to end poverty! For a paper on whether governments really believe that information technology can help end poverty, see  on some management issues in development; <http://www.sed.manchester.ac.uk/idpm/research/mid/>. Also see 2.17 where Thorn (2005) shows how ICT can help end rural poverty.<http://www.panos.org.uk/iwitness/summit/shanmugavelan.asp>. Thhe Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is studying how to improve the livelihood opportunities of illiterate  people, noting the role of literacy in development is not well understood. Case studies in Bangladesh India and Zambia were examined n the use of appropriate technologies. <http://www.comminit.com/strategicthinking/st2005/thinking-1124.html>. However new kinds of literacy--such as visual and computer literacy--will be crucial for the oncoming `age of creativity' when three percent of the world's people will be able to produce the food and do the factory work (with robitss) for all the people in the world. Sachs (2005) and Collier (2007) make alternative proposals on the basis of vast experience.
Corbett (2008) reports how tens of millions of cell phones in Africa are greatly helping to reduce poverty.

Also, education is essential for ending poverty and poverty limits educational opportunities and providing better education--and local job training-- for the world's poor can increase incomes and therefore the wealth of the planet. Now that knowledge is wealth and has no limits, there can in time be enough wealth for everyone on the planet, so education for all is crucial. More in chapter 3.8, w ahere we point out that at the heart of economic poverty is a poverty of education, and `media-news poverty and alternative ideas about solutions.

The Internet could, indeed, bring education and job training to everyone on the planet but a vast number--even of youngsters--cannot take advantage of the opportunity because of their lack of income. Eight hundred million that ought to be in school must work all day in order for them and their families to eat. Hundreds more cannot do well in school because they are hungry. We should end these three volumes with a summary chapter to `bring everything together,' global research and planning on poverty, environmental pollution, global health care, and more, but perhaps the best we can do here is point out (1) that education is crucial for coping with all such human problems. (2) That a `a grand research view of everything' is as difficult at a `theory of everything' in Physics but (3) perhaps the development of a global-scale education plan can  demonstrate a global poverty plan can be globally discussed also.

Overcoming poverty is crucial to the solving of humanity's other crises. On building a local economy from the bottom up see 2.17. On environment and poverty see: <http://www.environmenttimes.net/index.cfm>. Also there must be more openness and honesty--transparency--to prevent corruption and graft in the transfer of anti-poverty funds. The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) - a USA-based institute carrying out research, capacity-strengthening, and policy communication for food security and poverty reduction - has worked to develop methodologies for assessing the impact of social science research. On the impact of  such research in policymaking environments, see:. <http://www.comminit.com/evaluations/eval2005/evaluations-176.html>
A conservative Republican on the Jim Lehrer show Sept.  2, 2005, said that TV  reporting of the New Orleans hurricane disaster exposed to the world American  failures to deal with poverty and racism. At that time information was provided by international development agencies about a `Poverty Reduction Strategy.' the International Monetary Fund (IMF) website : <http://www.comminit.com/redirect.cgi?r=http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/prsp.htm> and the World Bank: <http://www.comminit.com/redirect.cgi?r=http://www.worldbank.org/prsp>.Also"With the Support of Multitudes: Using Strategic Communication to Fight Poverty. edited by Masud Mozammel and Sina Odugbemi. They report that " top-down approaches to economic development have not worked"... that economic development is about people" so it is best done when it is done by people and with people, not for them and to them. "Poverty Reduction Strategies" are far more likely to be effective  and sustainable when they "unleash the power, energies and commitment of multitudes," integrating macroeconomic, structural, sectoral and  social elements... representing a consensual view of what actions should be taken... on reforming institutions and building capacity, as
well as short-term goals."

Meanwhile, on poverty as a major cause of global terrorism see: <http://www.nyu.edu/classes/keefer/joe/joec.html>. On the promise and management of a `knowledge-economy society' see: <http://www.entovation.com/forthcoming.htm>.McDonough (2002) and Braungart foresee a `new industrial revolution' that will arise out of the possibility and  need  to redesign nearly everything in human society in more appropriate partnership with nature.. However, if these are the more creative jobs that replace the American jobs that are being `outsourced' overseas a much better lifelong education system will be needed to upgrade much of the population.

However, often even a university education is no guarantee of a job and adequate income. In December 2002 the New York Times reported, for example, that even in Saudi Arabia unemployment was 28% among 20-25 year olds and more than half of the population was under age 20. Everywhere, the increasing unemployment that faces a young oncoming generation were becoming "a prime recruiting ground" for radicalism and terrorism as economies grow more slowly that the population and the number of people living in extreme poverty doubled in the last three decades of the 20th century. So what scale of research and experimentation is needed to find out, or at least to provide enough income for every family and individual to live on? Probably the production of cheap energy for everyone could best enable everyone without employment to become an entrepreneur and researchers are seeking such energy.

Since education. health care, justice, energy and clean air and water for all depends on politics--national and global--these objectives will probably not be achieved until the is a mobilization for local community level `people power. Garrigues (2004) reports on a country where "an entirely different model' of economic democracy is sought. Some bankrupt factories are becoming cooperatives. Fazal (2004) reported on consumer cooperatives as a possible way to accomplish "justice for the poor and protection of the environment" by developing local citizen empowerment and reconstruction, as illustrated across a half century by the International Organization of Consumers' Unions.

Now, as Rischard (2002) has suggested, there are new possibilities as "the new world economy bring unprecedented catch-up opportunities for developing countries, or at least for those citizens who can get necessary education. However, he said, "not if we leave problem-solving to the market" where "social problems will be left unattended." By 2020, he predicted that the number of people trying to survive on less than two dollars a day is likely to increase to three billion. Reducing that poverty--and its effect on education and income--"is arguably the main global challenge of the next twenty years." Can the necessary education be provided without some sort of global taxation, for example on money transfers or taxing polluters.

Today  the global economy is failing in that it does not provide enough food, education and health care for so many millions of earth's children and can it succeed in doing so until it is researched as an inseparable part of a larger social-political-environmental-biological system. Only now, with interconnected computer systems and more comprehensive data bases, do economists even begin to have reasonably accurate statistics on global poverty. Could mega-scale research--with the powerful interconnected supercomputers now being created, find out what to do to provide jobs or sufficient income for all?  To do so probably will need to begin by involving what is proposed in all of the chapter here...and more. The issues are well-stated by Sutherland <http://www.imf.org/external/am/1998/perj.htm> And he dream at <www.singularity.net.>..

There are piecemeal  plans for dealing with hunger, disease, poverty, education and other inter-related problems. There are global-scale blueprints, but humanity fails to build on them. Can a more human economy be achieved without dealing with all related problems, holistically, together concurrently? Russian Communists thought they had the blueprints and tried to build a society that would guarantee a job for all. They did not really transform many fundamental institutions enough. And they tried to force change from the top down. As we write this, China too is giving up on its effort to guarantee a job for everyone. Must not a global plan to provide adequate income for all begin from the bottom up, with sustainable development planning in every community and neighborhood? <http://www.lincproject.org/Soros  (2002) has proposed some new ideas. Wikinomics <http://www.wikinomics.com/> proposes how thousands of people are now collaborating on economic projects.

Isn't `a minimum income for all' possible in an era where information becomes wealth? Future job and income prospects for the under-educated billions of people are not encouraging. It is anticipated that all necessary work in agriculture could be done by 3 percent of the world's population, where it used to be 95%, and that 10 percent can do all factory work. Before computers and robots, factory jobs employed up to sixty percent of the people in industrial societies. Corporate mergers and multinationals have been reducing secure jobs in many areas through downsizing and by increasing part-time, temporary, disposable employees. Loans to developing nations so that they could industrialize failed to produce the jobs and left many countries with huge debt that required drastic reductions in already small budgets for schools and hospitals. It seems that neither socialism nor capitalism, at least in their present forms, has yet been able to provide enough jobs for everyone in the world. For one approach to poverty reduction see: <http://www.techknowlogia.org/> . Perhaps in the emerging `age of creaitivity' multitudes of people must create their own jobs in arts, crafts and human services as agriculture and manufacturing is taken over by robots.

What we write here is not for economists and political theorists, but to ask all citizens, scholars and political leaders if some transdisciplinary research might find some new possibilities. The "biosocial integrity in industrialized nations" is an area where research for something new is needed. (Sackman 1997). In the foreseeable future a large share of the world's poor need help in producing their own food and incomes through self-employment such as handcrafts that perhaps can be marketed through the Internet. (Or can Wal-Mart be persuaded to sell them?) Government aid programs, and especially the World Bank, considering new options, note that, globally, most new jobs were created by small new businesses. So global poverty might best be reduced by more education in entrepreneurial skills. Most unemployed people in the developing world are trying to make something or sell something. What lift would come to the global economy if the incomes of the two billion people who earn less than US $2.00 a day could create small enterprises for enough income to feed, educate and provide health care for their families! They need skills, education and credit to make that happen. The International Food Policy Institute points out that agriculture and rural development are essential for generating broad-based economic growth. (Bathrick 1998) The global economy now appearing in cyberspace raises new questions and suggests new possibilities. Should more be said here about global corporations? For example, see <http://www.poclad.org/about.html

Matthews (2004) reported a new policy for local community jobs, through "Mini-plants in mobile containers." The  Worldwide Partners program of the "SN World Foundation" has been supplying to developing countries "the technology and necessary support for production in series of Mini-plants in mobile=20containers (40-foot). The Mini-plant system is designed in such a way that all the production machinery is fixed on the platform of the container, with all wiring, piping, and installation parts; that is, they are fully equipped... and the Mini-plant is ready for production," including bakeries, water purification, dehydrated food, steel nails, fruit juice preparation, tire retreading, roofing, production of house ware and of medical supplies. "These plants will be connected to the International Trade System, with access to more than 50 million raw materials, products and services and automatic transactions for world trade." Cheap energy is crucial and new technology is going to make it possible.

Unfortunately the developing world poor are too often left out of the job production research. See:<http://www.flowman.nl >./ A solution is reported by Rivas (2003.)  He reported that in Brazil, for example, Information Technology was beginning to show how to "end the vicious cycle of poverty" that clearly is tied to a lack of economic growth. Education is being expanded via the Internet in Brazil to develop needed physical, environmental and human capital.  Distance Education is seen as crucial for human development to reduce poverty. So in 2000 the Virtual Public University was founded, and in 2001 a consortium was founded to serve one of the poorest and least developed regions. Somoggi (2005) reported how Brazil is providing computer connections for the poorest with technology that costs about 40 cents USA. It consists of a CD that can  present a personal computing environment. It was predicted  that Brazil would need to import no oil by 2008 because of successful local production of alternate fuel and energy Vacca (2005) discusses future cheap energy possibilities.


Hopkins (2003) called for "a planetary bargain," or "worldwide compact...between the public and private sectors as a means to encourage  more socially responsible enterprise, with clear ground rules for decreasing poverty and injustice. Monaghan (2003) discussed a widening chasm between economists who want to "open the field to diverse views" and the dominant "neoclassical economics" that `seeks to be more scientific than any other social science' by being more theoretical and mathematical. Many younger economists and graduate students want to focus more "on economic thought, social justice and public policy," exploitation and inequitable income distribution,  with more interdisciplinary research--dealing for example with chaos theory, complexity, the role of uncertainty, gender and racial issues and more. See: <http://www.paecon.net>.

At the same time there is dissatisfaction and some controversy over 'modern scientific economics' that fails to take account of  human, cultural conditions and weather disasters, wars and so forth, that cannot be adequately reduced to an equation or data set. More must be done for the poorest of the poor. <http://econ.worldbank.org/prr/subpage.php?sp=2477>.

Forrester (1997) and Soros (2002) have pointed out that the fundamental problem is moral: (2.14.1) "There is something worse than being exploited--and that is to no longer even be worth exploiting." Billions of people are no longer needed or wanted in the industrial job force. So humanity faces "a globalization of poverty." Forrester calls for replacing that with a "globalization of well-being" now that new technologies "could enable economic progress for all the world's people." Korten (1999) has said that "our obsession with making money has created an economic system that values life only for its contribution to making money.' He called for `living economics.'. Others are calling for a capitalist market economy with a heart and conscience. Soros (1998) urged regulation of the financial markets that have made him a billionaire because, he said,  they can now destroy the economies of countries. Hershey (1996) describes the complexity of a computer-linked worldwide network of investors and traders whose "marriage of mathematics and microchips" has led to increasingly volatile markets. They act on the split-section (WDR 2000/1) to "every smidgen of economic news," such as today's statistics on unemployment benefits and changes in interest rate policy. Then instead of investment in real goods, services and job production, a great share of the world's capital has been going into currency speculation. Some speculative investment is so risky that it might be called gambling. Much of the global economy, Hershey pointed out, is more like a casino "where people bet on bets."

Could this speculative `Nintendo capitalism' lead toward a macro-industrial era of jobs for all? So far more people in Africa are moving into poverty every day. "Besides the moral issues involved," this failure to lift the income level of the poorest could lead to increased instability and conflict, according to a United Nations University panel of experts. This instability is rumbling--even leading to terrorism, in many developing nations. Those experts therefore proposed a "Global Marshall Plan" to stave off potentially disastrous political consequences. Soros calls for an international central bank. Many possibilities for an improved social order are explored at <http://www.forumsocialmundial.org.br/> Wagar (2002) wrote of the crucial issue: can "the human race against all odds manage to pull itself together and build a durable world civilization?" Perhaps not, unless there is " and a "massive educational effort" to help humans "survive our greed and stupidity." 

Could a global-scale economic income-enhancement strategy be devised? A beginning has been seen in such efforts as the online review of the `world poverty report' which involved thousands of people in over 130 countries. (WDR 2000/1) But an entirely new kind of economic system? There is danger that any new kind of new system might collapse as the communist experiment did, leaving millions to starve as the present world economic system does. Massive preparatory research, however, could include simulations to try alternatives without risk, based on much more comprehensive databases. Huang (2005) reported on study of the brain as central to rethinking economic theory from the ground up." as part of a more unified theory of human behavoir.  

What scale of research would be required to answer questions like the following, listed by Arno Penzias at the World Forum in San Francisco? That conference sought to bring "scientists. . . out of their isolation" to meet with economists and scholars from other disciplines "to address profound social problems, especially poverty. Here are the questions:

How can research be shifted from "curiosity/personal interest" to "goal-driven and basic human-needs oriented research?"

How can the issue of globalization and automation of jobs take better account of social justice issues?

How to cope with a decades-long disruptive periods of instability, including underlying and structural causes. Friedman (1999) has pointed out that "the global economic system is so new and so fast that even the best minds do not fully understand how it works."

How can more orderly international financial markets be created to meet the needs of all people and sustain the earth's life-support system?

Can a successful economy be measured by score boards that measure quality of life beyond the present narrow focus of GNP? (See Aicud 2002)

How can economies take better account of social and environmental costs that result in much waste and irrationality in capital investment? How can both governments and private enterprise be made more accountable?

What can be done about large-scale industrial corruption, including intrusion by organized crime?  Also political corruption, including presidents of small countries who pocket hundreds of millions of dollars of money intended for meeting basic human needs? (2.14)  

How can large corporations become more democratic by involving consumers and employees in policy and planning?

How can capital be provided for small enterprises started by poor people (Zeller 1997) and how can needed credit be provided to developing world farmers and to the rural non-farm sector? (Islam 1997). Can international electronic networks help? (John Hibbs http://www.academyweb.com/panama.htm repored discussion of ways to bring online jobs into an impoverished rural area of Panama; for example, perhaps an entire community could “build itself around a indigenous "knowledge" niche where that community is a world leader in a particular knowledge sector...something like what the Mayo Clinic does for Rochester, Minnesota or like Cooperstown does for New York.”

How can distance education help? How can better education for all help?

Computer modeling of economies now often leaves out the poor as it is used to experiment with monetary policy, exchange rates, balance of payments, international macroeconomics, deficits and national stabilization policies in an interdependent world?


Current piecemeal economic research does not provide adequate contextual knowledge, according to a Working Group on Economic Data of the international Social Science Council. It has sought to compile an inventory of existing data, to evaluate its quality and to suggest methods for providing information needed for an evolving international research effort. It proposed the need for a long term research that would regularly coordinate existing research efforts. The working group found that needed research would involve `daunting complexity' and that innovative modeling and other comprehensive research would require much better data. A holistic long term process of continual review, collaboration and distribution of data was proposed. In that context it could analyze one problem or one particularly vulnerable economic sector such as poverty.

This data-gathering plan aimed to extend well beyond the traditional boundaries of economics. Many disciplines and many types of research organizations--in many geographical areas--collect relevant data. Unless all are included, the research group decided, the findings and implications of one kind of research on another would often go unnoticed. What many consider to be the first global survey of poverty research (Oyen 1996), documented the inadequacy of existing data. It also found that more was happening than often was known by major researchers. For instance, Islam (1997) pointed out the absence of information about non-farm employment in rural areas. It must be expanded "if deepening poverty is to be avoided." Even in the United States many farmers and wives also need other income producing jobs. In the developing world, rural sector jobs begin to include transportation, communications, services and construction work. Research is needed on the best ways to provide technical assistance in the non-farm sector. (2.18.1)

Kautto-Kolvala et al (2003) proposed that developing countries may gain a comparative advantage in global trade "if they build up their visions, strategies, knowledge management" and .creative knowledge workers, based on their own  strengths and core competencies.  The evolution to Human-Centric Knowledge Society "may open up new potential opportunities for many developing societies" as they move from Industrial Age to the Knowledge Age," considerably strengthening their positions in global competition and trade. Then next beyond the current `information society' we are told to anticipate an `age of creativity.'


Henderson (1996) has called for research "in a larger context," that would integrate ecology and economics and "raise the ethical floor." This would reverse the process in which, she said, "most of the academic world rewards reductionist study of less and less significant phenomena." For humanity's survival, she said, we need a more creative imagination in economics. Who, however, is to construct, model and evaluate blueprints for a research strategy to find, integrate and expand all current relevant experiments and  future possibilities? See:

Paul Anderson of Interface, Inc., who has been chair of the USA President's Council on Sustainable Development, sought to make his own corporation `the first industrial company in the whole world to to attain environmental sustainability and then to become restorative'...that is, "to put back in more than we take out, to do good to the earth, not just no harm." This requires redesigning the entire economic system from the inside out." How can that be accomplished apart much a much larger research design?

For example, some components of larger research for poverty elimination might include:

(a) Energy for the Poor. Researchers have discovered a close relationship between poverty and the lack of electricity. The United Nations Committee on New and Renewable Sources of Energy for Development has pointed out that "on the eve of the twenty-first century about 2.5 billion people in developing countries have no access to commercial energy supplies and electricity." (UN A/47/388). And the developed world `stubbornly clings  to outmoded means of energy generation."  Frommer 1999) added that it is striking that in this digital age advanced nations still generate energy by setting things on fire; "surely the most primitive of technologies."  Energy alone may be the key to a sustainable economy that adequately cares for all people. <http://www.undp.org/energyandenvironment/>.

Central to an energy-research strategy might be the World Meteorological Organization's detailed mapping of the potential of diversified energy sources, including solar, fuel cells, wind, geothermal--and much greater efficiency . An enlarged research strategy might examine the proposal for a global energy grid. It would share electricity during the night when less energy is being used in different parts of the world. A global grid could provide new income to developing nations by making cheaper power available five thousand miles away and at the same time could reduce pollution by fossil fuels. <http://www.developmentgateway.org/node/133831/sdm/docview?docid=495495>

Future energy sources--which really could work an economic revolution for the poor--may still be years away. Meanwhile research on renewable energy technologies for poverty areas should be expanded. This could include wind (perhaps what deserts are good for), hydro and biomass (such as ethanol). These kinds of energy production may be a promising future source of rural jobs and income. Biomass, it is suggested, might provide as much as 35 percent of the world's energy within fifty years. It is reported that 700,000 jobs have been created in Brazil by the process of turning surplus sugar into automobile fuel. (It smells better than gasoline fumes too!) Research on solar power might also be expanded. It was in 1995 serving over a hundred thousand rural and isolated people in Indonesia at a household cost of $3.75 (US) per month. This was reducing poverty and increasing food production there by making it possible to dry and save crops such as rice in rainy areas. Small-scale-hydro in streams was supplying 10 percent of China's electricity by 1993. Leggett (2003) has provided evidence that affordable and world-changing solar power may be available to the developing world sooner than expected through PV cells..

(b) Distance Education for all. Most people in the world must create their own jobs. So research and experimentation is needed on how to use distance education for entrepreneurship training, including community-to -community exchange of case studies of successful experience. Training might also include simulating and modeling new ideas. One example: Economist David Korten (1997) suggested experimentation with exceptions in trade policies--now organized to aid multinational corporations--to protect small and locally-owned enterprises in developing countries where there are few jobs. He advocated experimentation with tariffs to protect those who "produce for a local market, pay a fair share of local taxes, employ local people, play by local rules and function within a framework of local values and relationships."

Credit for rural and village entrepreneurs. Mohammed Yumus's (1997) Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and other such loan projects, as in Indonesia and Kenya (UNESCO 1997), have demonstrated the effectiveness of small loans "to the poorest people, 90 percent of whom are women." Such borrowers now own over 90 percent of the shares in the bank and "they meet in groups to provide each other with encouragement, advice and support." In over fifty countries such borrowers meet in support groups to discuss the social and personal problems they face and come up with small business ideas for poverty reduction. This `people's bank' in Bangladesh started a cooperative health care program for the poor, has established a mutual fund for retirement income and has helped borrowers create new enterprises. One, for example is a cooperative telephone company that places one cellular phone in each poor village, providing a job for the woman who collects for each call. The bank next planned planning to bring Internet connections and solar power to rural areas. Its founder saw this bank as giving every person the chance "to create his or her own job." Half of the borrowers move above the poverty line within five years." The whole economy improves in area where the Grameen bank functions. Zeller (1997) reports International Food Policy Research Institute findings--one of the first comprehensive studies of the impact of credit availability on rural households--that "local approaches work best." Technical support and training for the poor are found to be preconditions of success and health services and better local governance are also crucial.

(c) New `post-Marxist economics' theory? More than enough needs to be done--as in rebuilding cities, cleaning up the environment, extending energy and communications world wide--to provide a job for everyone. Could a larger research strategy also seek some drastically different job-production theory for a information society age? Bailey (1996) proposed a process like biological evolution. Economic systems are not only complex, he said, but they evolve and change like viruses. A step-by-step sequential strategy that worked for many aspects of physical science, including the movements of the stars, has been less successful in economics. Political revolutions to impose radical change have also failed. One problem has been that theories have tended to disregard certain data that does not fit or is less manageable or available. It is not only economists who have dealt with what can be researched with existing tools and information. Scholars from many disciplines can now meet online to find new research possibilities for dealing with huge quantities of data. Resolving the poverty crisis may require joint research on the scale of the weather research system.


Can there now be a truly global approach to a holistic--transdisciplinary--research strategy, beginning with an accurate model of the world economy, detailed, up to date and taking account of all factors that affect the provision of an adequate income for all? A holistic research strategy might stop the practice of making proposals and decisions on models that are too small, that were created for different purposes. Such a research strategy might develop immediate portraits of how things now work and would work under alternative structures.

Poverty-reduction models can involve an evolutionary process that adds layers of data over time as the future unfolds and as analysis of the past and current experiments become more detailed. One aim would be to identify gaps in knowledge and needed next research. Computer models of the global economy might be enlarged to be more accurate and useful by factoring in data from many disciplines. They might, for example, include changing weather patterns effecting agriculture and the policies of political leaders.

Mesarovic (1996) pointed to the need for "a new human-based paradigm" in which "the very notion of what constitutes an economic theory may change." He also recommended biological evolution as a more appropriate paradigm for economics than equilibrium models analogous to mechanics. Using contemporary methods, he said, "Part Two of the Book of Nature" could be run as fast as researchers please--even at the speed of light--and the effort will never get to Part Three. Moving to the next stage requires "a partnership of sequential human minds and autonomous parallel electronic circuits" because ordinary human thought is simply not enough anymore. One of the most important and promising areas for global-scale modeling is the use of simulations to explore alternatives for sustainable development, he said, especially for ways in which people in the industrial and developing worlds can be helped to work together in functional areas. Global-scale simulations can include models of rural communities, areas of nations and economic models of plans involving groups of nations. However, it is important to note that in many areas of the world the most disastrous poverty is caused by civil wars.

The GLOSAS (Global Systems Analysis and Simulation) project has proposed gaming simulations on a very large scale to help decision makers deal with interwoven problems. It seeks to construct a "Globally Distributed Decision Support System" to draw together many computers, in various countries, to share in the development of simulation sub models. One such model has been Project LINK, an econometric forecasting simulation of the world economy within which each country develops its own model. It was originated by Klein at the University of Pennsylvania. Another has been the FUGI model at Soka University in Japan. It is a global economic and resource/energy model that includes data bases and sub models of over 140 nations. Both have been successfully used by governments, the United Nations and international corporations. A third is the Global Input-Output model designed by Wassily Leontief. Klein (1995) suggests that it needs to be enlarged to include development and environment data and to become a truly global input-output model. Global economic interdependence requires models that incorporate a wider range of variables and methods, he says, if they are to have warning capability as well ability to aid long term planning.

Such models can be combined into remarkable instruments for global-scale research, according to Utsumi of GLOSAS. He has proposed an enlargement of the FUGI model by combining and interconnecting all such significant data bases and models. This, he says, could be expanded into a truly global-tool. The FUGI model has increasingly included `soft (political and social) data' as information on each nation is continually enlarged. Such a comprehensive model can increasingly be used for simulations of all sorts of social and economic problems, using data and research from many disciplines and all areas of the world.

To understand this process, Utsumi says, think of the creative capacity of the human brain as its neurons make interconnections. So also "the building of interconnecting and interpreting models is analogous to the creative capability" of the human mind's intuitive flash. Such a system can be dynamic, can provide clarity of concepts and can define them and their use. "Each time a good simulation run is made," he says, the new result can be entered into the data bank and thus be available to all researchers. Those who wish to do so can then test the development, undertaking their own simulations, and updating and enlarging their own data banks. Thus more effective research could be undertaken by what we here call a `virtual global co-laboratory,' in cooperation with government agencies and industry. A job and income-creating research strategy might include simulations and related research to see the global consequences of a shorter work week; of mandated benefits for part-time workers; for rethinking the role of the human being in a society where less than 20 percent of people could do all essential factory and agricultural work; of more involvement of workers themselves in planning and research; of a social wage or guaranteed income as an alternative to welfare; and hopefully a mix of newer ideas than those.

John Maynard Keynes, Bailey (1996) said, became aware of the extent and variety of the simultaneous and mutual elements of an economy. "If all one has is numbers, then the whole world can look like equations. If all one has is cycles, the whole universe looks like epicycles." Yet Keynes. himself, was not able to move beyond numbers to use much more varied data. "Equational techniques of looking for patterns in data," Bailey said, "are designed to build up from too little data." Swamped by data, equation-based models of economists do not suffice. Nor does a strategy that leaves out other disciplines and information which cannot be accommodated. The data, the programs, the methods all continue to evolve. The differences, Bailey said, are dramatic. "Adam Smith was among the first to notice social and economic behavior that emerged inexplicably from individual actions." So one adds history, environment, institutional actions, positive feedback, government actions, conflict and much randomness to the computer model.

This means--Bailey (1996) quoted Romer--that researchers for a new `big economic science' might roam across the landscape looking at random into every nook and cranny `like prospectors looking for gold.' Another analogy for the still primitive state of global-scale poverty studies may be world weather research. (2.10.5) It is complicated by millions of almost invisible minor events in far corners of the earth (and universe?). Weather (and successful poverty research?) involves small teams of scientists in every corner of the world. Thousands of researchers are linked with networked computers that, in the future, must be far more powerful and advanced than anything yet even conceived. Weather scientists hope to be able to predict--maybe in another century--the earth's weather accurately and also perhaps to be able to change it for the good of humanity. Is the same true of the complex economic weather of society that leaves so many people hungry and unemployed?

A comparison with weather research is not intended to disparage the excellent work of economists. Powerful new technologies have improved the forecasting of tornadoes. Can a similar combination help us deal more adequately with global economic hurricanes that blow against many traditional economic structures? Researchers will not know for sure until they try, but transdisciplinary teams can work on possible blueprints for what might be built in cyberspace where the world's money is flying around. Alternative architectures can be modeled and simulated for consequences. The weather system analogy suggests the possibility of a system/map/grid of the entire economic world that would link data even on a community-by-community basis. This might integrate macro and micro economic experimentation and policies to make possible an effective international co-laboratory for poverty reduction research.


It was early suggested that a United Nations Economic Council, or an Economic Security Council for high-level policy making, could--as in the WHO and the FAO-- then lead in developing a global poverty reduction blueprint. An international consortium of departments of Economics of the world's universities has been suggested. One economist, perhaps not just being ironic, replied that he worried about leaving global economics to the economists alone. In a preface to a UNESCO sponsored book, Poverty: A Global Review (Oyen 1996), the then Prime Minister of Norway, Gro Harlem Brundtland, pointed out that humanity's inability to defeat poverty "haunts our common political record." Governmental efforts are, she said, "an epic of protracted stalemates."

Perhaps a global-scale research project on poverty reduction should pursue the suggestion of the International Political Economy Network (IPEN) and link think tanks, international bankers and trade unionists, development workers, researchers in many other disciplines, political leaders and "others interested in the global political economy. Should not representatives of the world's malnourished people also be sitting at the electronic table?

Steps towards enlarging the scope of a co-lab for mega-research are suggested by a continuing IPEN internet conference--involving people in more than forty countries "from Australia to Zimbabwe." Using draft articles for discussion, and an extensive database of electronically retrievable data related to the Global Political Economy, this conference discussed trade agreements, trading blocs, the economic needs of neglected indigenous persons and of women, structural adjustments and export-led growth, long cycles and historical world systems, currency and market crises, the economics of specific countries, International Monetary Fund loans" and more. Such consultations have now migrated online and involve thousands of people. Note, for example, the six week online consultation on first drafts of the World Development Report 2000/1: Attacking Poverty. (January 2000)

The market alone, Gruntland insisted (Oyen 1996)--or trickle-down theories or monetary policies or huge bank loans alone--will not provide prosperity, equity, or social justice for the world's poor. So what will? It is likely that no one yet knows! That suggests the urgency of a global-scale research strategy to find out. She said that empowering democracy--as people participation in decisions about their own welfare--to succeed enables the poor to assert themselves to demand social justice and an equitable share of wealth, as happened to help transform Norway from a poverty nation into a prosperous one. Also: <http://poverty.worldbank.org/newsl/index.php> The World Bank points out that unemployment of young people is increasing all over the world and there will be two billion more of them in coming decades.

"Poverty Research Rethought" (Oyen 1996) reported a survey that "began as a typical state-of-the art review of poverty research in different parts of the world." Soon, however, the theories and the existing research was found to be totally inadequate. For example it too often tried to apply "measures formulated in developed countries for another time and another context." One result is seen in the way many economists and politicians are tied to a paradigm "that seems to take them nowhere, either as researchers or as policy makers. Poverty underlies many crises and intractable problems in human society. Yet this report asserted that it was the first global overview of poverty research to be published in either a developing or industrial country. It pointed out that perhaps the greatest weakness of poverty research has been that it has largely been seen as a national and parochial problem. No significant research has yet addressed it as a massive global-scale crisis. What scale of research is required to secure adequate income for an unneeded hundred million of China's 800 million agricultural workers, millions of whom will be displaced by industrialization? Also, poverty is too often presented as a problem of individuals and families who simplistically are blamed for being poor. Existing research has often ignored the handicaps caused by desert environments, war, society-wide prejudices, authoritarian governments, and the lack of proper education and credit. Furthermore, methodologies, theories and concepts were not well enough developed "to be precise working tools."

That research survey also pointed out that "the contributions of many different disciplines are needed with their diversity of paradigms and methodological approaches." So we ask here if the coming into existence of the virtual electronic worldwide university identifies a place (cyberspace) and method (linking electronically all the local teams that might want to participate) for the development of a transdisciplinary research strategy that might correct such limitations and faults. (An economist reading this chapter says that poor people--too often left out of economic systems studies--"are poor because they ware unproductive, and they are unproductive (a) because theya re ignorant, (b) they have limited resources to combine with their human ingenuity, (c) they are in repressive systems that neither encourage them nor allow the exercise of initiative.")

Information technology and Cyberspace open initiatives for individuals and communities to develop checks and balances within the capitalist market system. One has been the labor movement. Another, which needs research for development, is the linking--to build a balance in cyberspace--of the democratic cooperative economic sector. Rochdale cooperatives are said to have have 720 million members worldwide. A third of the population of Atlantic Canada are members of co-ops. A third of USA farm products have been marketed through cooperatives and USA credit unions have more than 63 million members. "New ways of cooperation among disciplines" are also seen by the poverty research survey as essential. "Poverty must be one of the few areas," the report concludes, where "the medicine is prescribed before the malady is known." We must be concerned with the economic health of all of humanity in a globally inter-involved world.. This does not mean research to develop huge economic plans and schemes, not macroeconomics (at least yet.) It means research to put together a map, a picture that links every economy in the world, vast detail on every local aspect of the economy. <http://www.worldbank.org/poverty/crises/gpract.htm>, 

The `Development Gateway Portal' (www.developmentgateway.org) has involved "a network of research and training centers with hubs in the developing world...to benefit  the poor in very practical as well as technological ways. Singh (2000), an economist from India, with 24 years of service in the Ministry of Finance, has pointed to the success of village `self help groups' that together manage small loans to women which are helping them emancipate themselves. Such cooperative self-help groups remain "a powerful instrument" for economic and social transformation. Taking such essential local initiatives into account--and the education needed to facilitate them--indeed make the global economy as difficult to model and manage as the world's weather. As with eaher, we need a compressive view of the the world's economy, but we also want to know what we must do where we are, and how to deal with the global economy as it affects education for all

One interesting change in economics, proposed in Cunningham (2002) would replace `sustainable development' with `redevelopment' or `a restorative economy.' Since much of the planet is `developed,' much of the economic drive in this new century will be rebuilding cities, restoring watersheds and fisheries and the infrastructure for drinking water, transportation, power, waste re-use, and rebuilding after earthquakes and other catastrophes."  Rather than just one `globalization economy'--even `globalization with a human face--research also is needed for the development of subsistence or alternate economies for parts of the world that want economies devoted not just to profit but also to the development of a good life for all and well-being for the planet. See Schor (2002) and <http://www.newdream.org>. Meanwhile, some areas where economic growth possibilities are feeble, some area need what some World Bank economists have called a `survival' economy that will first provide essential food, health care and education. Has the world lost the war on drugs and the war on poverty and are they the same?

The possibility for `education for all' is also limited by global war and other crime crises--so often poverty and economics-related --to which we turn in the next chapter. Kaul (2003) proposes appointing  "national issue ambassadors,'  a`global lead agency' and `implementation councils for multilateral agreements' on each major global issue; as steps towards global dignity for all people, global health, global peace and security and essential goods for all.'

Return to Chapter 2.11  |  Go to Chapter 2.13

Bibliographical Notes


(Women helping reduce poverty: <http://www.yesmagazine.org/24democracy/pietila.htm>.)

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WDR 2000/1. Draft of World Development Report: Attacking Poverty. http://www.worldbank.org/poverty/wdrpoverty .(The World Bank website in 2002 had more than 14,000 documents, downloadable in .pdf format in the documents, research, and other subsites; * a new search engine; information on 100+ countries and topics, such as rural development strategy.) 


Zeller, Manfred.1997.  "Donors Policy Makrs Can Make Microcredit Work for the Poor." IPRI News Release, Jan. 31.    1997.

See: <http://www.globalknowledge.org/> Session reports on  New Approaches to Rural Energy. Also, on microfinance loans: <http://www.enterweb.org>.


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