The big picture (anno 2004)
It is my personal belief that at this very moment mankind is not using its full capability to make this world a better place.
To me it seems more and more important that our worldleaders have an answer to the question what the world should look like in the long run, lets say 500 years, this in terms of the type of management preferred and the organisational structure. Obviously we can not predict what the world will look like but we can and should use our knowledge to construct the best solution on paper today and improve it along the way. Today we have no map so any way we go is fine depending on random events and the personality trades of a few. That seems not good enough to me.
We have a lot of issues to tackle but a few stand out, namely over-population, dissapearing forests, global warming and pollution. We can not correct all of the causes for these problems, like for instance the behaviour of the sun. But we surely can try to improve on managing the human processes. We already have a firm bases of knowledge on the necessary innovation techniques. So lets start building our future on paper today! I would like to think we owe it to our children.
Serious questions on the selection mechanisms of the "leaders" can be raised. The world is not yet ruled by people trained for the job. Sometimes they seem of good character, which is (only) a good start, but more often they have some serious and very dangerous flaws. Greed, lust for power and egoism are just a few of the human weaknesses. On the subject of proper training for the job no structural approach is yet taken, resulting in a dangerous type of ignorance on key positions. These are risk-factors one should not have to live with. Serious questions can also be raised on some of the beliefs we have today, regarding for instance democracy and economic growth (humanity does not need as many hamburgers and weapons as it needs vegetables and water).
Lets for the sake of argument forget about democracy (we have already dismissed dictatorships by now, haven't we?). You don't ask your children what is good for them. You love them and put your effort in studying on what is good for them, then you choose and learn on the way while making smart ajustments. Don't ask the people what they want by voting for some shouting ignorant who hasn't studied the relevant issues and fundaments and who may be only after his or her own glory. Our system has got to grow to a much more subtle and complex level in which people don't only depend on people but also on the best available knowledge that is embedded and growing in the ever improving organisational structures. No individual should have the power to decide anything of communal interest anymore. All decisions should be based on the most advanced knowledge available, not on individuals whimps. We will have to out-think ourselves, not out-shout ourselves. If the word democracy means anything it should be in the possibility for people to bring forward their ideas and have the assurance that the world will take those ideas seriously and put them to good use if possible. The world should be a place where people try to work together, balanced by the inescapable competitive forces of culture. It should be competition within a cooperative structure and not cooperation within a competitive structure.
Can we do better than we are doing today? Here is my opening bid.
A brief sketch of the year 2600
There is a lot of things to be done and time to be spend by everyone. Yet its gravity point is shifted a lot from consumption to study. When you are born you grow to function in one of 7 global networks (in very simple terms think of offices around the globe, linked together with communication tools and knowledge bases, in which groups of people study on a common goal):
The management network
Once you are talented and motivated enough to go into the management network, you choose a life of study. The older and wiser you become, the more you will get involved in groups of people that intercommunicate with all kinds of other groups and search for good decisions on what processes should be developed and changed in the creation network. This management network is a global network, flexible enough to address local demands, needs and problems and dedicated to the global picture. The management network is an organisational structure that combines the network structure and the hierarchical way of organising. The power is distributed very subtlely throughout the network. It is about maintaining a balance in influencing and being allowed to make a decision.
The meta management network
The (global) meta management network studies the functioning of the management network and addresses all the flaws in a constantly working learning cycle.
The scientific network
A global network of researching groups of people, dedicated to enhance the knowledge of humanity on all relevant subjects (also investigating all networks). Incorporated in this network is the idea-evaluation network, that facilitates the new ideas of the people.
The education network
A global network of schools of all levels addressing the needs of the worlds children and adults, using the most advanced study materials from the meta education network.
The meta education network
A network of laboratories that develops study materials on all kinds of subjects, relevant to global and local needs, (like variing from how to grow plants to algebraic geometry)
The environmental maintenance network
This network is constantly monitoring nature and human behaviour. It is nature's police as well as its gardner.
The creation network
In this network all necessary tools are made. We are talking about food, water, infrastructure (like housing, roads and bridges etc), distribution, etc,etc,etc. Like we do today but much smarter and without all the spill. There is a refined interaction with most other networks.
What can we do today? My suggestion would be to start up the meta education network and the environmental maintenance network.