Breaking down the barriers to solving world problems
 

Background

Why are governments and political parties no longer able to solve our mounting global problems? We explain why Simpol offers an effective means of solving them.

What prevents governments from solving global problems?

It’s a common belief that politicians and governments have the power to solve many of today’s global problems; problems like global warming, poverty, and diminishing natural resources. Solutions certainly exist in the form of taxes, regulations and a switch to new environmentally friendly technologies. All that's lacking, it is always said, is the political will to implement them.

So why don’t politicians and governments implement them?

The difficulty is that these solutions would inevitably cost businesses more. Higher taxes or regulations on businesses would make them less profitable. So, no government dares implement these solutions alone because they fear corporations and investors simply moving or sub-contracting their operations to some other country where taxes and regulations are less severe, and where costs are lower. Implementing solutions to global problems, then, would cause an individual nation to lose out against competitor nations. And every nation participates in the global economy so they all suffer from the same fear.

"The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge." [Former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair. The Guardian, 3.11.05.]

What's worse, nations often weaken social and environmental protection regulations and planning laws to make doing business in their country more attractive to global investors and corporations. The idea is that this will bring more investment and jobs - and for a while, it does. But only, of course, until competitor nations do the same!

That is why nothing changes except that our problems only get worse. It’s a vicious circle all nations are caught in; a dangerous game no nation can win and all will ultimately lose.

"There is a collective action problem internationally". [Former UK Environment Minister, David Miliband. The Financial Times, 6.12.06]

So, are corporate executives or global investors to blame?

If politicians are the victims of the vicious circle caused by the free movement of capital and corporations, surely this must be the fault of investors or corporate executives? But this is not so. Corporate executives and investment managers are forced, through competition, to seek out the most profitable investments and opportunities and this often means sacrificing social and environmental interests in order to maximize profits. Any corporation failing to maximize profits will lose out to less scrupulous competitors. As executives themselves say, “if we don’t do it, our competitors will”. The same goes for global investors who are rated by the returns they obtain for their clients. Investors and corporate executives, then, are generally no less aware of global problems than the rest of society. But they, like our politicians, are trapped in the same vicious circle of destructive competition and they have no way out.

Seen in this way, global warming, excessive corporate power, the growing energy crisis and our many other global problems are not the real issue.  Because the common underlying barrier to solutions is the same: that nations are caught in a vicious circle of destructive competition from which they cannot escape. Global warming, poverty, energy insecurity and so on are not the problem.

The problem is a lack of international cooperation!

Why do I feel so powerless in this situation and why has my vote become meaningless?

Destructive competition between nations caused by the global free movement of capital and corporations has an important effect on politics. Because any party that comes to govern has no choice but to maintain its nation’s international competitiveness and its attractiveness to global investors and corporations. Even Green parties, when they come to power, are forced to discard or severely dilute their policies to avoid capital, jobs and investment disappearing to other countries. This is why, once in government, all parties end up implementing much the same market- and business-friendly policies and why voting for one or another makes little difference. Looking to politicians and governments alone to solve our problems has thus become substantially futile. It’s also why increasing numbers of citizens realize that their votes no longer make much difference and why so many of us no longer bother to vote in national elections.

To solve global problems citizens around the world need to drive politicians and governments from destructive international competition to fruitful global cooperation. The Simultaneous Policy (Simpol) is one way – perhaps the only way - we citizens can make that happen.

But just when you thought your vote had become meaningless, the Simultaneous Policy (Simpol) offers you and citizens all around the world a way to make your vote more powerful than you ever thought possible. So please support Simpol now and make yourself part of the global political solution!

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How bad does it have to get before YOU take action?

Failed Copenhagen climate talks, 2009. [Photo: Diana Trimble]
Gap between rich and poor has grown faster in Britain than in any other developed country. [Daily Telegraph, Dec. 2011]
Austerity riots in Spain, 2012.