15 February 2006

Ideas into action

Translating ideas into action seems to have been the key message in the closing plenary session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos. And, what ideas were these that required action from the rest of us? Well, as you can guess, globalisation was on top of the agenda. Not to be outdone were other areas of global interest: competitiveness, education, ethics & values, financial markets, history, human rights, labour, monetary policy, NGOs, peace & security, politics & diplomacy. Climate change, global inequalities, and cultural/religious divides followed close behind.

Globalisation had taken top slot at the WEF as national boundaries were vanishing, and along with them, many of the obstacles that had prevented the idea of a ‘one world’. This was possible, thankfully, not only due to the availability of technology and telecommunication networks, but also due to the emergence of greater liberal views, visible in both political and business leaders from across the globe.

Former US President Bill Clinton summarised this feeling in his interview with Klaus Schwab, Founder and Chairman of WEF: “Because of globalization and technologies like the Internet, the opportunities for making such impact have increased… The power of private citizens to do public good is greater than at any time in history.”

Good words; good thoughts. But how would these thoughts and ideas translate into action? And, what I would like to know is, how concerned are these WEF leaders in translating their ideas into action? Would they not be more concerned about ensuring that their individual country or company becomes more prosperous in the process of globalisation, despite what happens in other parts of the world? Would any country or company be really willing to sacrifice itself for the greater good of the world?

I think not. But then, mine is a cynical view of the world. Perhaps visionaries like Bill Clinton are right when they say [as a measure of one’s final achievements], “Make sure that people are better off when you’re done.” Perhaps that’s the real objective – and the real measure – of seeing ideas into action.

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