Who Will Change the World?
The growing chasm between the obsolete institutions of the twentieth century and the de-stabilizing trends of the twenty-first is portentous. Which social actors can tilt history toward a Great Transition? Multilateral bodies are enfeebled by the myopia of nationalism, the private sector is subject to the tyranny of the bottom line, and civil society organizations are limited by organizational and philosophical fragmentation. Collectively, actions for a sustainable and just global society remain too dispersed, diffused, and small scale; progress painstakingly won here and there is overwhelmed by systemic deterioration. While the public’s awareness of emerging dangers grows, apprehension breeds fear and resignation in the absence of a compelling alternative vision.
The awakening of concern and the upsurge of civil society activity pave the way for a new force on the global stage: a global citizens movement. A systemic movement would connect issues, themes, and regions in a common project to mute global dangers and advance a vision for planetary civilization. An adaptive process of learning, educating, and organizing would necessarily evolve. A politics of trust, a predisposition toward seeking common ground, and tolerating proximate differences would nurture the ultimate basis for solidarity. To envision a Great Transition is to imagine a society based on trust, tolerance, and solidarity. Embodying these norms in the means to that end is integral.