The 20th century brought Democracy to the world. But, we have come to realize that Democracy by itself can be an anarchist if people are not trained. Democracy is by the people, for the people, of the people. Therefore, if the "people" are not trained to run this complex system, it turns the Arab Spring into a Fundamentalist oppression. The idea is to create a benchmark of the values and a method of coaching such values to develop the "people" into citizens that can transform a global society of the 21st century into happy and prosperous place for all its inhabitants. How do we seed the minds of the people to develop into socially, economically and ecologically nurtured citizens? In a corporate world, many bright minds often do a great amount of studies to develop a benchmark of critical success in the industry. I propose a similar study to create an outline for such a character development for a Global Citizen. This would be a model for human fulfillment in a balance between the individual and the society.
The citizen needs to encompass an outlook fit for our ever shrinking world.
Fanatic ideology and its terror do not have borders: Ebola flies across the continents, technology spreads the message across all time zones, and multinationals corporate success is dependent on customers and works of 100's of nations. Today, we are at the same juncture as the time of the Meiji Restoration. Japan conducted a benchmark analysis very skillfully and revised its systems during this period. Until recently, this tiny island was the only Asian country to come to par with the economic development of the West. We can conduct a similar exercise that will get the best of practices from around the world. This will also make its adoption by all the world nations likely as they will see their DNA in it too, and it will not come as an imperial idea from a foreign land.
A character of the society is developed over time, which we call ethos. This ethos is built by the interrelation of these five factors: Geographic resources and challenges; Geo-political climate; Governance of the Society; History's carry over effect; Individuals conditioning of needs and wants. Some of these can be molded through education, and the others can be factored in and compensated for. Take the example of Japan again. A nation with no natural resources, it only grows 23% of its food needs. However, while being a tiny nation, it is the world's third largest economy, and it has one of the lowest crime rates. What Japan has is its citizens. It is time for us to analyze how this integral part of Japanese culture has been ingrained in its people.
Developing this benchmark character for the Global Citizen is quite important. Take the example of East and West Germany. Same people, same history, and the change in Governance only in 60 years changed the way people in the East behaved, and how their economy deteriorated.
Human psychology needs to identify itself with a group. This comes from the need for belonging. This sense of identity raises us to go beyond our self and do selfless deeds. To bring global peace, this identity needs to be built on multi-layers, and not on exclusiveness. As most of the societies are becoming well educated, and there is much more active and easy exchange between geographically and culturally diverse people, there is an acute need for active public policy to build multilayered Global Citizen. One needs to take advantage of the lowered interest in fundamental religious beliefs in places like Iraq and Iran which is evident in low turn-ups at the prayer times, and rise in complaints about the noise from prayer locations. This just represents backlash to the revolution, but the people still identify themselves as Muslim before their nationality. The countries where the identity is with language and culture are much more peaceful and economically better off. A separation between religion, political governance, and free economic systems create checks and balances of power for the public's wellbeing.
The balance between the individual and the societies' needs and well-being is critical. In Japan, oppression from the top of the hierarchy often gives people no place for self-expression, leading to large cases of depression and high rates of suicide. On the other hand, in Silicon Valley, an individual's skill and determination to achieve results is rewarded. People from all over the world come to set-up companies in these 36 square kilometers. Wave after wave of new technological trends is created and a new class of millionaires graduates every decade.
Coming as a preacher to nations and its people and imposing set of ideas in the style of the 20th century is not only not welcomed, but often resisted. Japan's culture of consensus can be by itself one of the characteristics of the Global Citizen. To build this citizenship benchmark, we will need to base it on analytical and consensus data.
This is a great opportunity for Japan to build its leadership position in a positive way to overcome the setback of WWII. Germany has done much better job. The difference is one confronted the mistakes and moved on to leadership positions, for example in EU and their green way of living. Japan is still struggling to go over its dark past. Every nation's history has dark days. We cannot dwell on the past as it does not build the moral of the people, but we cannot deny the mistakes, because we must learn from them, so such mistakes will never be repeated by generations to come. This is not for others, but for the wellbeing of the future generations of the nation.
Building and influencing the world for the new phenomena of Global Citizen will need leadership. Economic developmental relationships are critical for achieving this. Looking at history, one can see, English cultural and social influence was built by the East India Company; American global influence came with America's lead in postwar industrial growth. Governments and multinational Organizations will need to actively take part in designing and popularizing the Global Citizen concept. This is essential to the World peace, stability and prosperity.
In my research, I hope to develop this model Global Citizen's profile. I plan to develop a business model with economical and geo-political measures that can be easily explained to the policy makers and corporate boardrooms. It is a very critical time for such an active education for the citizens in wake of the spread of Fundamentalism. The spot is open for the moral leadership. The technological advances are bringing very diverse identities into very close proximities. Economic leadership is shifting and creating a flux for power grab between new and old powers. The new sustainable Global rhythms will need to account for that today’s societies economic and personal interests are not confined inside one political or religious territory. This calls for a Global Citizen model.
Meet the Author
Sonia Dhillon Marty
'Benchmark for the Universal Values'
The above thesis is part of Sonia's research as an International Fellow at Tokyo University. The Foundation's global citizen research tries to answer the question, how do we create a benchmark of universal values?