The Cooperative Society Newsletter
March 2020, Issue 21
by E.G. Nadeau and Luc Nadeau
The Cooperative Society 2020 Report was released on March 24. Download the full report here Download
Following is the report’s executive summary:
Is the world on the verge of a new stage of human history, one characterized by cooperation and equitable access to resources rather than by conflict and extreme inequality?
We posed this question in the 2016 and 2018 editions of The Cooperative Society: The Next Stage of Human History. The purpose of this 2020 Report is to update the information presented in these two editions of the book, and to make revised recommendations on how to make our world a better place to live.
The Cooperative Society 2020 Report is organized around the same seven measures of human and environmental well-being as is the 2018 edition of The Cooperative Society: The Next Stage of Human History – Economic power, Wealth, Conflict, Democracy, Population, Quality of life, and Environment.
- 1. Economic power
Recent data indicate that the international pattern of economic concentration continues to be a major problem in the past few years. There is also inadequate evidence to indicate that more socially responsible business forms such as cooperatives and social enterprises are increasing or decreasing their role in the world economy.
The biggest factors that would alter this current stalemate are changes in the policies of international bodies such as the United Nations and the world’s most developed countries toward large, for-profit businesses. Tighter international anti-trust policies and enforcement of these policies, concerted efforts to thwart tax evasion by large companies, and progressive corporate taxation systems could reduce the inordinate influence on the world economy by large companies.
Overall, the concentration of wealth in the world continues to decrease modestly. But inequality between the rich and the poor is still dramatically high.
Economic opportunities, international and domestic mechanisms to increase jobs and financial security, and progressive taxation policies are all means to move the world toward greater equality and financial security for the poor.
In recent decades, there has been a pattern of reduced violence in the world – both from armed conflicts and from homicides – but we have a long way to go before we can claim that we live on a peaceful planet.
Available resources show there was not a resurgence of increasingly democratic governments in 2019, but some data indicate that there is a strong popular will in a number of countries to move in such a direction. 2020 may prove to be the year in which that will is transformed into an upturn in world democracy.
The UN Population Report appears to overestimate the world’s population growth rate because it underestimates future use of birth control around the world.
The World Population International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (WP) estimates the potential impact of improvements in reproductive health as they relate to significantly reducing the rate of population growth.
The results of these different methodological assumptions are dramatic. The UN projects 11.1 billion people by 2100 and WP projects 8.9 billion. What a difference comprehensive, international reproductive health programs could make!
6. Quality of life
There has been a recent slowdown in accomplishing the quality-of-life measures targeted by the UN and The Cooperative Society Project. This appears to be the result of reduced commitment by UN members; an overly ambitious agenda by the UN; and the magnitude of the climate-change crisis overshadowing other quality-of-life issues.
The recent increase in severe weather-related events around the world (at least partly attributable to global warming), slow and uneven progress in reducing carbon emissions, and the continued weak commitments of many countries to strong carbon-reduction policies are all worrying events. However, there are also some signs of optimism, such as science-based projections that we can still achieve 2030 carbon-emission-reduction goals, and increased commitments from the private sector, some countries, and sub-national government entities that are accelerating their involvement.
We conclude The Cooperative Society 2020 Report with cautious optimism. The increased political participation in many countries, mentioned above, may be a precursor to increased democracy and positive movement toward other components of the cooperative society. However, there is no guarantee that the recent uptick in political participation will result in widespread political reform.