GNP (Gross National Product) or GNH (Gross National Happiness)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Nowadays, it has been commented that in the last twenty years almost one billion people “have left from the extreme poverty threshold." 

Other one billion are living in conditions of great poverty... and most of those born will be in areas of great precariousness. 

However, investment of huge amounts on military expenditures and arms will continue because “security comes first." 

China is the main protagonist of these "advances”... but what does “free from poverty” mean"? It is to ensure that there are no deaths from starving? It is necessary to repeat over and over again to the powerful that it is not about the right to life ... but to have a dinified life, so that all human beings can thoroughly exercise the distinctive faculties -think, imagine, anticipate, create!- of our human species. 

It is, therefore, urgent to transit from the GNP, so well known by the most prosperous, in whose hands the GNP is concentrated in a considerable extent, to the GIH, in other words, from the "gross inner product", in monetary and commercial terms, to the "inner happiness”, in a context of peaceful coexistence, without intolerable inequalities and asymmetries, in which everyone can be "free and responsible", as stated in the incomparable definition of education enshrined in Article 1 of the UNESCO’s Constitution. 

To this effect, the following transitions are necessary: 

- From a world governance by plutocratic groups (G7, G8...) of a neoliberal design, based on the laws of the market, to a re-founded United Nations, based on universal “democratic principles”. 

- From an economy of speculation, delocalization of production and war to a global economy of sustainable and human development, taking care of the major global priorities: food, water, health, environment, education, peace. 

- From a culture of imposition, domination and violence to a culture of dialogue, reconciliation, alliance and peace. 

- From force to word. 

The formula of GIH instead of GNP is being tested in Bhutan and in some States of Brazil. 

In a few years, it will be a reality because these related will be less every time and those in favour of the GIH will increase. Because, peacefully but firmly, “the peoples” can now express themselves freely. Because, in the cyberspace, the mobilization of those who as John Lennon’s want the GIH, want to be happy and not, even if they are fed, vassals of a system that imply being simple numbers, anonymous and invisible consumers and workers, will be unstoppable. 

In a few years, let the GNP die and long live to GIH!

Intergenerational Responsibility

“I despised them because being able to do so much,
they ventured so little”
Albert Camus

Could the next generations say they waited in vain for the present generations to carry out the supreme commitment that is, in the words of President Nelson Mandela, to act in such a way that our intellectual and material heritage does not mean a setback? What Earth's habitability is not worse than the one we have lived? What benchmarks, principles and ethical basis do not allow them to start their morning with hope? 

We are still dully cling, especially in the West, to a system that substituting values for commercial laws and democratic multilateralism for oligarchic groups, has led to a situation of enormous social inequalities and exclusion, as 80% of humanity finds no shelter in the prosperous neighborhood of the global village on which only 17-18% of the population lives. 

We are aware of the daily genocide of thousands of people dying of starvation and abandonment. But we keep paying attention at the fluctuations of the markets that do no benefit the majority of the inhabitants of Earth. And we let ourselves entertain by the enormous media power, which standardizes, turning citizens into passive spectators, radicalizing partisanship in the extreme, especially the sport one. 

Noam Chomsky has written recently, that the current economic and political system is a form of plutocracy that strongly differ from democracy, if by this concept we refer to political agreements in which the rule is influenced significantly by the public will ". 

With an eye exclusively on the short-term economic benefits, yesterday formulas are still being applied for today's challenges, perishable and ineffective, instead of protecting the living conditions that the “future generations” deserve, as enshrined at the beginning of the unique text of the Charter of the United Nations. 

Intergenerational solidarity requires a special way to address those potentially irreversible issues in which the treatment should be applied in due course, before it is too late and points of no return have been reached. The priorities, is worth repeating, are: food, access to water, health services for all, environmental care, education, renewable energy, peace. 

The culpable irresponsibility of some governors, in particular the Republican Party of the United States, has come to favor an education that, as the Exxon Mobile Foundation did for years, denies the climate change and the deleterious consequence of excessive combustion ... while, with great personal suffering, many human beings are seriously affected by the harmful "side effects" that are disguised or silenced. 

Scientific rigor. And adoption of attitudes widely seconded, in person or virtually, by millions of people in order to expose those who are opposed to providing truthful information that people deserve. 

Democracy at a global scale, with a United Nations of great moral and physical authority; democracy at regional level especially urgent in Europe; and democracy at the local level, in which citizens can really count and participate -now it is possible due to new communication technologies-, and with corrective mechanisms of the offence to democracy that represent absolute parliamentary majority, especially when is based on past electoral results. 

Let us raise our voice to foster of the transition from an economy of speculation, delocalization of production and war to a sustainable global economy and human development. Planetary security cannot be ensured in another way. Let's make possible that the fuel consumption is moderated by a great development of renewable sources of energy. And let’s clean up the sea, which occupies 70% of the skin of the Earth and it is the major "lung"... of the present and future generations. 

The clathrens, "submarine gold", and the fuels obtained by "fracking", should be used with criteria guided by scientific knowledge and not by the economic benefits... 

Let’s think of our intergenerational responsibilities. 

Now we can. Do we dare?

The President of the United States and the First Lady in the House of Slaves of Goré, Senegal

Monday, July 15, 2013

It is very striking that those who today appear at the “no return gate” in the House of Slaves are the President and First Lady of the United States. 

The most horrifying offenses committed against human beings are just left to our permanent memory. We now see that black people embody such powerful worldwide symbols like Nelson Mandela, imprisoned for 27 years for his dark skin, and the leader of the most powerful country on Earth. 

Those painful memories are left behind but they should always be kept alive to guide our daily behavior. 

In July 1992 I wrote a poem in the Island of Goré, a place declared as World Heritage by UNESCO: 

His last
before lying down 
in the hold. 

His last 
through the narrow 
 at the island 
that land 
of his 
now sailing 
through waves of indifference 
towards unknown shores. 

We still hear 
today those sobs, 
still see 
the last traveller’s glance 
from his land, 
from his home, 
from his shores. 

They were sold 
by weight. 

We must 
pay the debt. 

This is the true debt of our past. It must inspire future paths.