Do we have the political will for waging peace? Obviously not yet. The political will for waging war required national patriotism, devotion to one's "fatherland." However, as Albert Einstein warned us back in 1946, "the unleashed power of the atom has changed the world."
In its 1987 book, Our Common Future, the World Commission on Environment and Development reported that "In the nuclear age, nations can no longer obtain security at each other's expense. They must seek security through cooperation, agreements, and mutual restraint; they must seek common security.- Interdependence has become a compelling fact, forcing nations to reconcile their approach to security."
We are just beginning to cultivate the necessary motivation for waging peace. It might be called "matriotism," perhaps - a deep appreciation and respect for Mother Earth. By assimilating this ancient, aboriginal value, we are getting ready to wage total, all-out peace to defend this planet for our own and future generations.
Will the powerful "military-industrial complex" allow us to wage peace? A critic wrote me that "The truth is that in Western countries a good deal of unemployment suits the establishment. It weakens the unions, strengthens employers, keeps inflation low. The real - human - cost of unemployment will either be ignored or left to future generations to meet."
Can we control inflation, reduce the deficit and maintain a "healthy" economy without at least 7 or 8 percent unemployment? Some influential economists say no. That means that at least a million Canadians must always be jobless. Ruben Bellan, however, says yes. He wrote, "No economy, no matter how much it produces, can be considered to be operating acceptably, to be 'recovered' or 'prosperous' if one worker in ten suffers the trauma of unemployment."
Even the most influential and wealthy people, however, must finally face the fact that their posterity as well as ours will inherit "our common future." In order to wage peace, we must interest and involve the power structure in the process of promoting the survival and well-being of all life on earth.
Many workers fiercely defend their own jobs, no matter how devastating the impact may be on worker health, public health, the environment, or the very survival of the planet. With opportunities for everyone to earn a living in challenging, planet-sustaining enterprises, no worker and no government will need to protect planet-threatening work just in order to have jobs.
An action plan to wage peace can begin in a simple way: by compiling an inventory of the world's necessary work, both local and global needs. Examples are recycling waste and solving pollution problems. Researchers doing this planning project can obtain information for the inventory of the many non-governmental organizations that do excellent work but are severely handicapped by a shortage of paid staff and excessive dependence on volunteer workers and funds.
But the question immediately arises: Where are we to get the money to pay people for these jobs? That problem never kept anyone from waging war, but peace is different. We therefore must also "inventory" the resources for doing the world's work.
As we approach what many scientists consider our last chance, a "turnaround decade" in the 1990s, unemployment is unnecessary and therefore inexcusable. Everyone needs to be needed - almost as much as we need water, food, and air. For the foreseeable future, everyone is needed!
Walt Taylor wages full-time, all-out peace in Smithers, B.C.
The Unnecessary Evil: An Answer to Canada's High Unemployment, McClelland and Stewart, 1986.
Peace Magazine Dec 1989-Jan 1990, page 19. Some rights reserved.
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