• A Brief History of Mind and Civilization

      Garry Jacobs (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2016-05-01)
      The rational mind is the highest evolved status of human consciousness. The evolution of mind and civilization has proceeded hand in hand for millennia. The development of new capacities of mind made possible the development of tools, language, agriculture, permanent settlements, towns, cities, religion, trade, transportation, communication, government, law, money, literature and the arts, education, nation states, scientific and technological research. So too, each stage in the development of civilization has shaped the evolution of the human mind and its faculties and the way they are applied in life. The limits to our knowledge and accomplishment reflect limits to our rationality and the utilization of our mental potential. Our knowledge consists of fragmented, piecemeal, compartmentalized theories, when the reality we seek to understand is inclusive, complex and integrated. Our conceptions are based on mechanistic, static, inflexible equilibrium models, whereas the world we live in is alive, dynamic, organic, conscious, responsive, creative and continuously evolving. Our science assumes the poise of an impartial observer of objective reality, whereas all knowledge without exception is colored by the subjective perspective of the observer. Our science strives to be neutral and value-free, whereas the knowledge we need should help us realize universal values. We need to evolve ways of thinking that reunite the objective and subjective dimensions of reality and reflect the integrality, dynamism and vibrancy of evolutionary nature. That is the challenge and adventure before us.
    • A Flat World with Deep Fractures

      Emil Constantinescu (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2016-10-01)
      The Internet manages to connect different parts of the world, defies geographical distances and gives the impression that our planet is flat, but the Internet is there only for the ones who have the possibility and the ability to use it. Our contemporary flat world has deep transversal fractures which, like in many geological structures, make a direct connection between layers with different characteristics. The elites are moving across information avenues with targets set in the future; at the same time, in many parts of our planet, there are people organizing their lives in pre-modern agrarian cycles. Diversity in ways of living and in social organization is a sign of human freedom, not a sign of error, so, having different alternatives to achieving prosperity and happiness should be good news. Holding dear to a society’s lifestyle should not push for the destruction of societies with different sets of values.
    • A Mediterranean - EU Community for a New Era of Mankind

      Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2011-10-01
    • A New Beginning

      Federico Mayor (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2015-05-01)
      In the last few years, there has been an enormous decline on all fronts and in all areas.
 The world, Europe and Spain undoubtedly suffer its effects. Our political leaders have
 surrendered to the rules of the markets and obediently subjected our society to “austericide”,
 with profound negative social effects. The present economic guidelines don’t work and there
 is no end in sight to the widening inequalities originated by budget cuts.
 Although it will require much effort, changing course is possible for the first time in history:
 in a short period of time human beings are experiencing an unprecedented transition from
 invisible to visible, from anonymous spectators to identifiable protagonists.
 At present, thanks to modern communication and information technologies, the urban era is
 fast becoming the digital era. “We, the peoples…”, as the United Nations Charter so lucidly
 commences, may now become a reality for those who at last can take in their hands the reins
 of their common destiny.
 It is intolerable that the values of the stock market have replaced ethical values. It is time to
 oppose neoliberalism and reestablish social justice, to eliminate groups of oligarchs (G-6,
 G-7, G-8… G-20) and re-found a strong United Nations System.
 In the last few decades, women, with their inherent faculties, are rapidly increasing their
 role in decision-making. “The peoples” can express themselves freely and participate, with
 global consciousness, in building a culture of peace and non-violence worldwide.
 The time of silence and submission is over.
 A “new beginning” can now take place.
    • A Note on the Difference Between Complicated and Complex Social Systems

      Roberto Poli (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2013-10-01)
      The distinction between complicated and complex systems is of immense importance, yet it is often overlooked. Decision-makers commonly mistake complex systems for simply complicated ones and look for solutions without realizing that ‘learning to dance’ with a complex system is definitely different from ‘solving’ the problems arising from it. The situation becomes even worse as far as modern social systems are concerned. This article analyzes the difference between complicated and complex systems to show that (1) what is at stake is a difference of type, not of degree; (2) the difference is based on two different ways of understanding systems, namely through decomposition into smaller parts and through functional analysis; (3) complex systems are the generic, normal case, while complicated systems are highly distinctive, special, and therefore rare.
    • A Project on The Wealth of Nations Revisited

      Garry Jacobs; Ivo Šlaus (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2010-10-01)
    • A Revolution and a New Paradigm in Education

      Heitor Gurgulino de Souza; Garry Jacobs; Winston P. Nagan; Ivo Šlaus; Alberto Zucconi (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2013-09-01)
    • A World Parliament and the Transition from International Law to World Law

      Andreas Bummel (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2014-10-01)
      World civilization depends on the provision of global public goods such as tackling climate change, ensuring international financial stability or peace and security. Yet, the intergovern­mental system of global governance is not capable of delivering the required results. At a fundamental level, the change necessary to achieve functioning world governance consists of a transition from international law to world law. A key element in this is the development of a global legislative system that includes a democratically elected world parliament. The establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly would be a pragmatic first step.
    • Abolition of Nuclear Weapons

      Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2011-04-01
    • Actions to Enhance Global Security*: Focus on WMD and Terrorism

      Desmond Browne; Garry Jacobs; Ivo Šlaus (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2013-11-01)
    • Advantages and Disadvantages of Global Unity & Disunity

      Ashok Natarajan (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2019-10-01)
      Humanity has evolved from the family and local community over millennia through several stages to finally create the present fractured and unstable global community of nearly 200 nation-states, some of which are barely a few decades old. But already there are signs that the process of social evolution will continue until it eventually results in some form of a unified world community. The major challenges confronting humanity today all result from the inadequacy of a diverse community of sovereign nations competing with one another for power and advantage and their inability or unwillingness to act effectively and concertedly to address the problems of our collective existence. Recurring war and violence, persistent poverty, financial instability, widening inequality, ecological destruction and climate change are some of the salient features which compel us to conclude that the continued evolution is both necessary and inevitable. The material and social benefits of global unity will be immense in terms of greater and more equal access to knowledge, power and wealth, but they will bring with them a new set of challenges to ensure that peace and security are not achieved at the expense of freedom, cultural diversity and the fullest development of individuality.
    • All the Education We Need

      Janani Harish (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2019-10-01)
      Moving from scarcity of knowledge and lack of access to information to an overabundance of data comes with a downside. It is difficult to establish the veracity and impartiality of information today. With increasing freedom for everyone to make themselves heard, personal opinions, prejudices, even falsehood come to be alongside facts. In such a scenario, it is crucial to educate youth to understand the mind, its faculties, limitations and untapped potentials. This will equip them to navigate the ocean of data while thinking for themselves and forming their own impartial decisions. Imparting knowledge is increasingly becoming a less significant part of education. What is critical today is to teach our youth to think for themselves, recognize and account for their own as well as others’ blind spots, and become values-based, independent individuals who can lead society towards greater global human wellbeing.
    • An Aging Workforce: Employment Opportunities and Obstacles

      Full Professor, Institute of Economic Sciences (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2013-05-01)
      The last decade has witnessed significant changes in the structure of unemployment in the global labour market. This is corroborated by the fact that the global workforce is rapidly aging and the share of people aged 50 and over in the structure of the labour market is increasing. In line with this trend, unemployment issues should be considered as a global problem that cannot be fully resolved at the level of any individual country separately.The main objective of this paper is to throw some light on the aging workforce and the elderly population’s opportunity to realise their right to work and be treated equally with younger age groups. Hence, the paper simultaneously focuses on the age and gender discrimination of elderly population in terms of their employment prospects. The aim of our research is not only to point out certain stereotypes concerning the elderly labour force, but also to stress that unless preconditions for overcoming these stereotypes are created and employment opportunities are given to this segment of the labour force, full employment as an ultimate goal of global economic policy cannot be achieved. It is in accordance with these considerations that we offer a model to achieve this goal.
    • An Arctic Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone – Needed Now

      Adele Buckley (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2012-10-01)
    • Anticipation in Law and Social Science

      Winston P. Nagan; Megan Weeren (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2017-06-01)
      This article explores a particular aspect of the role of anticipation in social and legal processes. The program begins by recognizing that social interaction happens within a time-space manifold of events. This means that society functions in terms of events located on the plane of time and the situation of space. This means that social process is a dynamic. As an ancient philosopher put it, change is so ubiquitous that you cannot jump into the same river twice. Since we tend to look at social dynamics in a more static way, one major theorist reminds us that the stable in social process is a special case of the unstable. The article underscores a point that the anticipatory perspective is a ubiquitous part of social dynamics and change. Indeed, it is a critical component of social coexistence. To briefly illustrate, if the members of a governing group come into power, they will immediately have to anticipate the security needs, the economic needs, the educational needs, the health and well-being needs, the skill and labor needs, the food needs of the body politic, the requirements of effective family relationships, the requirements of morality and ethics and the needs of aesthetics. The paper provides a framework in which anticipation is used to predict the problems that emerge from the social process. The value of a social science that facilitates anticipation before problems occur provides opportunities on the time-space manifold of society to develop problem-solving strategies with a better chance of those strategies being successful. To utilize this approach, the authors provide the sophisticated model of social process developed by WAAS Fellows Lasswell and McDougal: Human beings pursue values through institutions based on resources. Using this model the authors provide a provisional map of the social process with key markers at points likely to generate important problems. The markers in the maps are as follows: participators, perspectives of participators, base values accessible to participators, situations in which events occur, strategies to be deployed, outcomes and consequences. The authors use this map to provide a provisional simplified model of a process of mapping the problems contextually.
    • Anticipation: A New Thread for the Human and Social Sciences?

      Roberto Poli (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2014-10-01)
      Anticipation is increasingly at the heart of urgent contemporary debates, from climate change to economic crisis. As societies are less confident that tradition will provide an effective guide to the future, anticipatory practices are coming to the foreground of political, organizational and personal life. Research into anticipation, however, has not kept pace with social demand for insights into these practices. The paper outlines the main contributions to the understanding of anticipation from the human and social sciences, focusing in particular on the most recent developments.
    • Beyond the Nation-State: Failed Strategies and Future Possibilities for Global Governance and Human Wellbeing

      Garry Jacobs (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2019-10-01)
      Over the past 200 years, the evolution of human society has moved inexorably toward greater
 interaction and interdependence between peoples and nations around the world. More
 recently the movements advancing free trade, globalization, liberal democracy, multilateral
 institutions and international cooperation have lost momentum and are in retreat. This
 unexpected development raises profound questions regarding the future evolution of global
 society. This paper examines the sources of the uncertainty and anxiety which characterize
 the prevailing view of the future. It explores the inherent limitations in our mental capacity
 to extrapolate, project and anticipate the future based on past experience and present
 appearances. It draws insights from history to identify the underlying social forces that have
 guided global evolution over the past two centuries, which continue to play a determinative
 role in guiding the future. It challenges the view that the resistance of established social
 forces will necessarily prevent progress in these conditions of uncertainty and complexity. It
 illustrates the untapped power of inspired individuals, ideas, values and new organizations
 to provide the vision and leadership needed to mobilize global society for rapid transition to
 a better future.
    • Biopolicy- Building a green society

      Agni Vlavianos Arvanitis (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2011-04-01)
    • “BIOPOLIS”: Biopolicy for Greener and More Livable Cities

      “BIOPOLIS”: Biopolicy for Greener and More Livable Cities (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2013-10-01)
      Urban centers are the engines which must bear the brunt of required changes to meet climate change mitigation goals, whilst continuing to provide social and economic opportunities. Restoring nature to the city is not a luxury; it is vitally important to our health and well-being. Biopolicy can help international decision-makers find new ways for understanding the relationships between cities and their environments and how environmental burdens may be mitigated or resolved. A “biopolis” model, as proposed and supported by the principles of biopolicy, can evolve into a coordinated program of action in sustainable urban management that limits emissions, preserves and expands green spaces, protects waterways, encourages urban farming, enhances cultural development, creates green jobs and promotes educational opportunities for all.
    • Blind Spots of Interdisciplinary Collaboration - Monetising Biodiversity: Before Calculating the Value of Nature, Reflect on the Nature of Value

      Joachim Spangenberg (Risk Institute, Trieste- Geneva, 2016-10-01)
      Defining, assessing and valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services is an exemplary field, illustrating the necessity as well as the obstacles to interdisciplinary collaboration between natural scientists and economists. Despite the frequent use of identical individual motivations and similarities in the terminology, the discrepancies and misunderstandings run deep. A main reason for the lack of reflection regarding the disciplinary and partly incommensurable world views, their ontologies, epistemologies, anthropologies and in particular their specific axiologies. While considered self-evident in their own disciplines, the lack of awareness regarding these basics hampers cooperation between disciplines. The challenges involved may be one reason why the readiness to participate in interdisciplinary research is actually decreasing amongst mainstream economists. In particular axiology (philosophy of values) is causing problems: at a closer look, there is a diversity of legitimate value systems, within which economic valuation is an important but limited niche. Recognising this implies acknowledging the limitations to economic valuation, and to economic statements more generally. Epistemological discrepancies show up in diverging interpretations of the same terminology. Interdisciplinarity requires rethinking of basic disciplinary assumptions in all participating disciplines, to generate results which are not based on assumptions in contradiction to secured insights of other disciplines in charge of the issue in question—otherwise integration of results is not possible. This is the basic law of interdisciplinarity, and it requires significant changes in academic education.