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Jan 2012
A Multi-Angle View of the Debt Crises

(Full title) “Calling ‘the better angels of our nature’: A Multi-Angle View of the Debt Crises” (January, 2012) (398 pages).

The document described in this post was initially meant to be the “Statistics and Observations” part for the Debt Crises part (Section #6) of the “IPCR Critical Challenges Assessment 2011-2012” project. Due to accumulated evidence and unfolding events, it became a preview of what the final report for the whole “Assessment” project might look like.

The 398 page “Multi-Angle” document and the “Introduction” are accessible from the IPCR webpage for the “IPCR Critical Challenges Assessment 2011-2012” project, at http://www.ipcri.net/Critical-Challenges-Assessment.html (where readers can find three other draft sections for this project)—and from the IPCR Initiative homepage, at www.ipcri.net . Readers looking for a quick overview of the document can refer to the “Table of Contents”—and the 8 page introduction. The “Introduction” is also attached to this post. The 398 page “Multi-Angle” file was too large (2.33MB) to attach to this post. [Note: All IPCR Initiative documents and resources are accessible for free.]

There are eight main section headings in “A Multi-Angle View of the Debt Crises” are:

I. Definitions of Education, Suggestions for Questionnaires
II. Ghosts of Capitalism Past
III. The United States—and “Implicit Legitimation”
IV. Cultures of Violence, Greed, Corruption, and Overindulgence
V. Other Challenges Which Are Part of This Writer’s Ten Point List (see Appendix A) and Which Need to be Resolved as Part of a Sustainable Solution to the Current Debt Crises
VI. Four Summaries of Critical Challenges Ahead
VII. “The U.S. and many other countries will enter the next 15 to 20 years burdened by substantial public debt….”
VIII. Solutions (108 pages)

There is also a 55 page Appendices, which provides much detailed information about The IPCR Initiative’s “constellation of initiatives” approach, which can do much to create, develop, and accelerate solution-oriented activity.

Below are four excerpts from the “Introduction”, and two excerpts from the larger “Multi-Angle” document.

Four Excerpts from the “Introduction”:

The evidence in these sections suggest that many of the issues which have resulted in the debt crises (and many other critical challenges) are problems which are at the very core of our difficulties with being human beings…and thus will require much more than the usual amount of problem solving, if we are to “change course”. The debts owed are not just monetary. The debts owed include the quantity of human effort which will needed in the future to remedy the destructive consequences of the tragic moral lapses in the past—and the destructive consequences of tragic moral lapses in our present circumstances.

Again and again, in references to the debt crises, there is mention of the need for “economic growth”… Unfortunately, the kind of “economic growth” which is most often being referred to includes a vast array of “enterprises” which require the continued exploitation of flaws and weaknesses in human nature, fragile ecosystems, and already significantly depleted natural resources—and which are much of the reason why cultures of violence, greed, and corruption have become so common that most people believe they are inevitable. (see Section IV “Cultures of Violence, Greed, Corruption, and Overindulgence”).

What might constitute a “constellation of initiatives” approach (to accelerating solution-oriented activity) is explored in more detail in Section VIII “Solutions” (108 pages long), and in the Appendices (55 pages). The six subsections in the “Solutions” section are: “The ‘Constellation of Initiatives’ Approach of The IPCR Initiative”; “Transition Ahead: Less Megacities and More Ecologically Sustainable Towns and Village”; “Increasing Transitional Employment”; “About the ‘Interfaith’ in Interfaith Peacebuilding”; “Community Service Opportunities for Local Newspapers”; and “Re-defining Wealth--and Other Community Service Opportunities for Investors”, and “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Community Visioning Initiatives”. In the “Solutions” section there are references to many service-oriented initiatives, and much detail provided about their work, to illustrate as clearly as possible that we have the necessary knowledge and resources to overcome the challenges of our times.

There are many ideas which represent solution-oriented activity—and many ways solution-oriented activity could be accelerated—but these ideas and approaches are simply not “coming through the mist as much as they should be”. The need to achieve “clear vision”, the need for affordable education systems appropriate to the tasks ahead, and the need to inspire the involvement and participation of as many citizens as possible, has urged The IPCR Initiative to advocate for a combination Community Visioning Initiatives, "Community Teaching and Learning Centers" with ongoing workshops, and "sister community" relationships as a way of generating an exponential increase in our collective capacity to overcome the challenges of our times. [Note: Regarding the complex nature of the challenges ahead, the following “rule of thumb” may be helpful: “The smaller the circumference, the more accurately can we guage the results of our actions, and (the) more conscientiously shall we be able to fulfill our obligations as trustees.” (J.C. Kumarappa) There are many more helpful suggestions along these lines in subsection B (in “Solutions” Section VIII) titled “Transition Ahead: Less Megacities and More Ecologically Sustainable Towns and Villages”—and more excerpts from J.C. Kumarappa’s book “Why the Village Movement?” on p. 281-282.]

Two Excerpts from the larger “Multi-Angle” document:

[From “Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication” United Nations Environment Programme 2011; from the Introduction, p. 14-15 (full report accessible at
http://www.unep.org/greeneconomy/GreenEconomyReport/tabid/29846/Default.... )

“Most economic development and growth strategies encouraged rapid accumulation of physical, financial and human capital, but at the expense of excessive depletion and degradation of natural capital, which includes the endowment of natural resources and ecosystems. By depleting the world’s stock of natural wealth – often irreversibly – this pattern of development and growth has had detrimental impacts on the wellbeing of current generations and presents tremendous risks and challenges for the future. The recent multiple crises are symptomatic of this pattern.

“Existing policies and market incentives have contributed to this problem of capital misallocation because they allow businesses to run up significant, largely unaccounted for, and unchecked social and environmental externalities.

From p. 2 “Key Themes Brought Forward in Many Ways in this ‘Multi-Angle’ Document”:

“If communities of people can arrive at the understanding that the whole community will be sufficiently compensated by carrying out the “constellation of initiatives” kind of solution-oriented activity advocated by The IPCR Initiative, questions regarding personal compensation will be of lesser importance… the exponential increase of solution-oriented activity will dispel the lack of trust which compels people to be overly concerned with accumulating and safe-guarding a predominantly personal definition of wealth. It is in this spirit of “contributing to the greater good of the whole, and helping to restore confidence in the higher values of life” that all documents, information, etc created by The IPCR Initiative are accessible for free, and viewed as resources which ought to be made as accessible as possible to people who can make good use of them.”

Here also, is an excerpt from the “Closing Comments” section of the “Introduction”:

There can be much very useful public discourse on how to create effective local Community Visioning Initiatives, of the kind which can succeed in turning polarizing circumstances into collaborative efforts (and thus make best use of the knowledge and skills each one of us has), and which can create, develop, and accelerate a full array of solution-oriented activity. I hope that sometime in the near future I can assist with preparing for and carrying out Community Visioning Initiatives of the kind advocated by The IPCR Initiative. If many people could see and feel the practical value of carrying out similar forms of Community Visioning Initiatives, such collaborative, solution-oriented activity could become a common experience… a common cultural tradition… a cultural tradition which can link many diverse communities
of people together, in a fellowship of people working towards the greater good of the whole… and a cultural tradition which can help pass on to future generations the best ideas humans have accumulated in more than 5,000 years of human history.

I hope this post, and the documents referred to above, and helpful to readers here at www.thesolutionsjournal.com . If readers have comments, suggestions, or questions, I encourage them to write to me, at stefanpasti [at] ipcri [dot] net . There is a challenging learning curve ahead for all of us; surely it will be better if we work together, and share both our difficulties and our ideas for overcoming those difficulties.

For a Peaceful and Sustainable Future,

Stefan Pasti, Founder and Outreach Coordinator
The Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization (IPCR) Initiative