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Competition or Cooperation?

November 9, 2011

It should be obvious that in order to achieve a sustainable future there must be a much greater degree of international cooperation than has been achieved to date. Although a number of Intergovernment Organisations exist (including the UN family), all too often international relations are dominated by nations perceived need to compete. Global trade relations and financial markets make it especially difficult for nations to cooperate and keep markets in their proper place. Failed free market economic doctrines do not help.

Why cannot governments publish and publicise two sets of policies:
a. The policies they feel they have to adopt in the current competitive global climate,
b. The co-operative policies they would like to adopt if enough other nations would agree?

This would surely encourage political parties and pressure groups to compete to improve on the co-operative policies, and to divide their manifestos into two parts.

In one sense this follows the lead taken by businessman John Bunzl in setting up the International Simultaneous Policy Organisation (ISPO) a.k.a. Simpol – However ISPO advocates that its supporters say to parliamentary candidates that they will only vote for a candidate who ‘adopts’ the ‘Simultaneous Policy’ devised by ISPO. Quite apart from the fact that many campaign groups have advocated tactical voting without getting anywhere, and that candidates will say anything before the election, it seems to betray an arrogance on the part of ISPO, that they presume to know better than anyone else what should be in the ‘Simultaneous Policy’. They have certainly succeeded in pissing off one British political party.

From → Sustainability

  1. Anne Roche permalink

    The Simultaneous Policy – that is, the actual policies it is to consist of – are, to my knowledge, not “devised by ISPO” but collaboratively and democratically by anyone who signs on to the campaign. To me this is very bottom up and democratic, and certainly not ‘arrogant’.

  2. @Anne
    You are right in theory, but that is not how things are seen in at least one political party. In consequence that party has rejected what is basically a good idea.
    I was involved in ISPO at one stage. I even maintained the adopters database for a short while. I later contributed several ideas for possible adoption as simultaneous policy.
    I see it as a question of psychology. Correct me if I am wrong but I think the number of adopters is still quite small. That being the case, the most any parliamentary candidate will do is to ‘adopt’ and then promptly forget about it. If the candidate were sincere about the simultaneous policy, then if elected he/she would ignore the Whip! If the adopter base could grow to the level of say 38 degrees or Avaaz, then it may be different, but I think in the meantime ISPO should try to work alongside political parties rather than claiming to supplant them. Let the parties ‘own’ the policies or as much of them as it feels is correct.

    I must remember to look at comments promptly in future – sorry!

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