Point of Departure – Background and Introduction

Utopia or the Existential Necessity of Breaking Taboos – A Preface

As it is no secret to anybody anymore, the today globally prevailing social and economic systems and the resulting behaviors of people have driven the planet Earth and its dominant inhabitants, who have named themselves as sapiens (i.e. wise), into critical conditions – and this despite the enormous increase in recent decades of  production potentials, of money and capital assets, and the scientific and technological breakthroughs.

We know that the already partially irreversible destruction of the environment and of vital natural resources such as air, drinking water and soil fertility, is continuing in spite of all warnings. We know that worldwide about one 800-900 million people suffer from hunger or undernutrition, that more than 3 billion people live in extreme poverty, that the gap between rich and poor is becoming inexorably wider, that social and economic injustice, violence and insecurity are an everyday reality in many parts of the world, that more weapons-grade material has been accumulated worldwide than at any time in human history. We know that access to clean drinking water, to a healthy diet, to secure housing, to health care, to school and vocational training – in short, to a decent life – is an illusory dream for a large proportion of the world’s population, and will remain so (see also link..) in the absence of a decisive transformation in social mindsets at all levels of global society.

We also now that we are living in a world – or better, on a tiny planet within a gigantic universe teeming with planets – in which a few transnational corporations, which are the primary beneficiaries of the privatisation of whole sectors of society and the economy promoted by so-called democratic governments, are seizing control of ever more economic, and even social and cultural, resources and domains. We are living in a world in which these same corporations, and even individual persons, have more economic power, and hence political power and social influence, than entire states, than hundreds of millions of human beings combined.

One doesn’t need to be an economist to know that people in the developed countries, especially in Europe and North America, but also in Japan and other so called emerging nations, have achieved a relatively high standard of living (materialistically speaking) primarily because there is a global economic disparity which ensures this, and because the states of the Northern hemisphere and their allies subsidise important branches of the economy directly or indirectly and dominate the global markets with these subsidised goods, thus preventing the economically viable production of the same goods in other parts of the world. Moreover, cheap and for the most part insecure labour in third countries increasingly subsidises the (outsourced) economic sectors of the industrial countries so that consumers in the developed countries can buy cheap products at home without themselves having to forego higher wages. [1] Political and economic pressure secures cheap imports of essential raw materials / production inputs and sources of energy from third countries, often with the connivance of corrupt local governments, which among other things prevents the processing of those raw materials, and hence the creation of jobs, in these countries. In short, the much-vaunted high (material) standard of living in the Western world rests largely on the centuries-old, but nowadays increasingly subtle, exploitation of the natural resources and workforces of third countries.[2]

But we also know that even the economically advanced societies (industrial nations) are becoming increasingly sick. The level of comfort achieved, the consumption of material goods as the chief deity and justification of human existence at the heart of our materialistic, capitalist social system, is no longer enough to make us happy. The global competitive society, which measures itself primarily by material standards, is responsible for the fact that hundreds of millions of people in the economically more developed countries are suffering from chronic (egocentric) depressive syndromes, from psychosomatic – in short, sociogenic – diseases, behavioural disorders, stress symptoms and growing isolation. Increasing numbers of people are seeking refuge in egocentric self-discovery, in psychotherapy, in religious, pseudo-religious and esoteric movements – and all of this in spite of possibly still well-stocked bank accounts.

Thus, these impacts of the present global economic and social system on human beings and on the environment are evident (see details link..). The question is only: What conclusions should we draw from this? How and under what conditions, if at all, will a decisive change in course come about, and when? Who still honestly believes that the worldwide political leadership is willing, or even able, to bring about this change in course? Besides, what would such a change in course look like? Hasn’t the so-called democratic system already made itself too dependent on the economy, and especially on its values and social doctrine, to be able to bring about such a change in direction?


So-called democratic regimes have to be elected into office, and thus cannot survive without votes. Voters generally elect the party which is most successful in persuading them that it will maintain or improve their standard of living, reduce unemployment and cut their taxes and contributions. If they want to be elected and re-elected, governments are compelled to cut taxes, to privatise former public services, including social welfare systems, and inevitably to drive up the public debt. The result is a notorious and for the most part irreversible weakening of the state, and thus the automatic disenfranchisement of the citizens. Both entail serious potential risks: on the one hand, the increased fragility of the state’s social insurance systems (in particular unemployment benefits and pensions) – pivotal for averting outbreaks of violence triggered by mass unemployment due to a prolonged worldwide structural economic downturn – and, on the other, the real danger of an authoritarian seizure of power.   

The countless reforms and aid packages worked out by economic experts and democratically elected politicians, such as we have witnessed for years, and the constant tinkering with a model for global society which is threatening to break apart might rescue the system from collapse in the medium term. However, they will not be able to rectify the dramatic social abuses and injustices outlined above on a global scale nor will they be able to prevent the failure of this very system in the long run, regardless of whether its end is ultimately heralded by a global economic collapse, by the destruction of the environment or, after all, by nuclear or weapons of mass destruction and terrorism – for all three potential causal effects have their roots in one and the same context, namely the global economic, social and political model of society which we human beings have inflicted upon ourselves and on our planet.

Yet is it enough simply to stand by and watch as environmental destruction, on the one hand, and social and economic imbalances and injustices, on the other, outstrip each other in their destructiveness? Is it responsible to rely on the fact that a new post-industrial stone age will eventually be heralded by the complete collapse of the global economy – mass unemployment, an abrupt loss in value of money, stagnation of the energy supply and the energy industry – and thus inter alia also of the social systems, giving rise to a world in which there are just two fundamental values, farmland on which to produce food and weapons to defend this farmland against others?

And even if the world economy were to recover from the current financial and economic crises in the medium term – and notwithstanding all of the well-meaning labour market reforms and the movements in solidarity with underprivileged segments of society – nothing will change in the dynamics described above nor in the above-mentioned negative aspects and developments of our era until a changed global mindset leads to a complete transformation of our view of the world.


To be able to bring about such a transformation in social mindsets, mankind will have to break with rigid patterns of thought and presumed laws governing human social behaviour. The breach of taboos described in the Global Social Modernity is an existential necessity, it must take place on a global scale and in the first place target how human beings are conditioned by their education.

There can no longer be any doubt that we are all indoctrinated by the influences of our respective social environments. From childhood onwards it is made clear to us what constitute values and what do not, what makes someone a good person or a bad person, and above all what defines a successful person. Nobody seriously doubts that if a North American, a European, an African or an Asian infant were taken after its birth to be reared in a Tibetan monastery, in a kibbutz or in New York City, it would speak the corresponding language and internalise the corresponding values, completely independently of its ethnic and biological origin and genetic make-up. Values and mindsets of human beings are however not only transferable but also changeable – there is no unavertable genetic/social disposition towards for instance neoliberal capitalism, materialism or egoism, but a human being develops its beliefs and convictions predominantly based on the influences of the respective socialization.

Thus the initial transmission of values and morals is essentially bound up with the influences experienced during the early years of education and vocational training in an individual’s life. How stable a personal or social view of the world, based on education and social conditioning, is, or, on the contrary, how likely it is to be placed in question, depends, apart from possible negative developments within this world view itself, in particular on whether it deals with a monolithic and, in the best case, planetary (global) society, or whether parallel, competing social forms of society exist (in other states) which postulate different, possibly antagonistic value systems, and hence have the potential to corrupt. (example: the former antagonism between a state socialist Eastern Bloc vis-à-vis the rest of the world shaped by market capitalism).


The socio-political blueprint of the Global Social Modernity GLOSMO contains a proposal concerning how we can overcome the present value system, which is based primarily on individual economic and social prestige, and the competitive global social and economic structure founded upon it. It describes a social model to be implemented on a planetary scale which reverses the abuses outlined above, in which famine, poverty and misery are overcome, in which war, exclusion and discrimination no longer exist, and in which all human beings are ensured a high standard of living, while simultaneously safeguarding the ecological sustainability of our planet. It is not a matter of a utopian conception, but rather of an existentially necessary outcome of a possible process of social maturation. It does not involve a stereotypical political appeal either, for it rejects all forms of ideological narrow-mindedness. Nevertheless this social blueprint is presented as a basis for debate so that it can develop into a (political) program which offers pragmatic proposals for a gradual social transition as a response to the challenge to undertake a fundamental global social reform of human action and of the corresponding view of the world.

The era of well-intentioned alternative political speeches, of warnings by scientists, of disillusioned sociologists, of philosophical reflection and of intellectual critiques of society and systems must finally be followed by deeds. It is no longer enough simply to engage in criticism. Pulling Karl Marx or Immanuel Kant from the bookshelf doesn’t impress anyone any more. Taking refuge behind crackpot theories or holding forth in endless, abstruse philosophical deliberations on society without in the end proposing a pragmatic concrete model, far from promoting the development of humanity, merely prolongs its infirmity. Yet all forms of lethargic fatalism are irresponsible as well. Pointing out that human beings are by nature such and such, that they have always been like this, that history has shown that this species exhibits a corresponding behavioural pattern regardless of what is happening around it, must be rejected on both social-psychological and evolutionary grounds. It merely provides fertile ground for the continuation of the destructive, exploitative and dumbing course being pursued by our social system.

The endless wavering, the fear of taking (especially political) positions, the unwillingness to accept responsibility and to place oneself in question, the inability to acknowledge fundamental evidence – it’s time to put an end to this. Cleverly worded manifestoes, well-meaning appeals, and scientifically founded warnings alone will not divert the hulking, rusting supertanker that is our global social and economic system from its collision course. It’s time to scrap the gaping wreck and to build a solid, sustainable social system on firm ground. And this is only possible by taking a clear position and doing the utmost to convince mankind through visionary pragmatism and to promote the existential system change.

Just a few centuries ago people were convinced that the earth was a disc and when someone attempted to prove that, on the contrary, it was actually a sphere, this thinker was ridiculed. If someone had predicted a century ago that a human being would travel to the moon and back, he, too, would have been derided. The Global Social Modernity deals with something much more straightforward than providing a scientific proof or breaking new technological ground. Its intention, given the need to break certain taboos, is simply to reveal a path leading to a decent future for every human being and ensuring a sustainable future for the entire planet.


The concrete model of Global Social Modernity (GLOSMO) it goes on to portray does not claim to be original or unique, nor is it presented as a visionary new social theory. On the contrary, it is closely intertwined with past and present discussions of social ideologies, social psychology and social economics. Moreover, it is situated within the context of the current critical social and political debate and the associated need to work out concrete, pragmatic social and economic options for promoting a sustainable development of global society on Planet Earth.

The current status quo of elaboration of the GLOSMO programme does not make any claim to completeness, not to mention definitiveness, for its proposals. Instead it is the starting point for the development of a program and for a corresponding process devoted to the continual improvement, the detailed working out and the extension of its own structure and its instruments.[3]

This basic structure of the social-political programme (GLOSMO) represents the ideological base of a (perhaps inevitable) foundation of a political movement or party, which would initially operate at the local and the national level, but whose inherent goal must be to evolve into an international, and thus global, political force. This would establish the precondition for securing popular support through the democratic electoral process in the medium term, and thus for a necessary, epoch-making reorientation of human civilisation with the goal of achieving sustainable development at all levels of global society, a high universal standard of living and finally overcoming poverty, war and the self-destruction of the planet.

This represents a preliminary answer to the question Evolution or revolution?”

[1] Particularly in the industrial nations of Western Europe, and to a lesser degree in North America and Japan, partially strict social (including salaries) and environmental standards for national employment are imposed on the economic actors by legislation. Simultaneously however the same nations tolerate and/or promote the massive import of “cheaper” goods / production inputs from third countries, knowing indeed that social and environmental standards in these countries are not at all or just insufficiently applied, and that only for that reason the prices for these goods and production inputs can be maintained at a that low level – in order to thereby benefit the consumers of the importing industrial nations. If those strict social and environmental standards would be compulsorily applied worldwide, the prices for consumer goods, raw materials and sources of energy but even of services would increase substantially (most probably by several hundred percent) – a circumstance that would seriously damage the neoliberal type world economy and challenge its very rationale – and reduce considerably consumption and thereby the material standard of living, as we have been accustomed to, in the industrial nations. (see also link..)

[2] See also link..

[3] It should be noted that emphasis is put on keeping this social political blueprint intentionally short and its formulation easily to understand. The objective is to facilitate access to this document to any potential reader. In a second phase of extensive programme development, the fundamental themes for now just highlighted here and further topics would be elaborated in detail.