War or peace. Which future do we want?
In May 2018, for the first time for over 50 years, Sweden sent a notice to all its households on how to prepare for war.
It's hardly surprising. The USA, Russia and China are enthusiastically embarking on the New Arms Race (fueled by AI) and hawkish leaders are becoming more reckless in word and deed. If you follow the money, you'll find that global military budgets in 2017 totaled $1.5 trillion.
Most leaders say they want peace, but peace is not really on the agenda. As the great American poet Gil Scott Heron said, "The trouble with peace is you can't make no money from it". Today, there's no incentive for peace. After the next war there will be - but by then it will be too late for millions, if not billions of people.
The time to plan for peace is before the first bomb drops. Like now.
The Big Picture
Carl Sagan laid out the big picture in 1994.
His words are still profound and compelling a quarter of a century later, and worth repeating:
"The earth is a small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of all those rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we some privileged position in the Universe are challenged by this point of pale blue light.
There is perhaps no better demonstration of human conceits than this image of our tiny world. To me, this underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
All over the world, millions of people have aligned with Sagan’s sentiments and embracing that we are all in this together. They can see that whatever their creed, race or tribe, the everyday North American, African, Asian, European or South American are not so different to each other. The vast majority of people want to live in peace, take care of those they love and have some fun in their life.
But that's a long way from actually achieving it when the incentives for leaders are geared towards war. Scott-Heron again, "We gotta work for peace. Peace ain't coming this way."
How to achieve peace
There are 3 conditions necessary for persuading leaders to pursue lasting global peace:
a critical mass of people in their power domain applying pressure for peace
the incentives for peace are greater than the incentives for war
systems and structures are in place that support peace.
All are necessary and none is sufficient by itself. Which is why "the peace movement" has never been able to achieve lasting results. And that brings us to u-krew.
The ultimate vision of u-krew is peace, abundance and opportunity for all. In the business world it would be called a BHAG - a big, hairy audacious goal. In the political world, it would be called unrealistic.
But they would be wrong. To me, expecting 7 billion people to do nothing while testosterone-fueled politicians and military men blow up the world is unrealistic.
So how does it work?
The basic idea is to create those three conditions necessary for leaders to pursue global peace.
Briefly, there are three stages: u-krew, NUKO and PAO (short for peace, abundance and opportunity for all). The purpose of u-krew is to enable people to learn the skills, gain the experience and own the assets to (1) own their future; and (2) reinvent systems and structures so they support PAO. At the end of u-krew they become owners of NUKO (which stands for the New u-krew Organization).
NUKO is "we the people, reinventing systems to the benefit of all". It's purpose is to take systems reinvention to the world, build momentum, and gain the critical mass of people and systems to show leaders that: (1) the incentives for peace are greater than the incentives for war; and (2) there are millions of people who can help design systems for peace.
The PAO stage is where a critical mass of leaders adopt peace, abundance and opportunity for all as the way of the future. Where they realize that PAO is the ultimate in "national security". They can spending less on killing and more on enhancing lives.
Will it succeed?
There are a lot of known and unknown obstacles on the path to PAO - it's a long journey.
At the same time, I believe it may be easier than skeptics might think. There are not that many people who support the idea of war given the likely outcome of AI-controlled nuclear weapons.
And what of the alternatives? Let the status quo rule and countries will bankrupt themselves trying to keep up with each other - the recent increase Congress gave to the Pentagon is greater than the entire Russian military budget.
The other traditional means of promoting peace is ordinary people demonstrating in the streets - like what they have done for the last 60+ years, to no effect.
Realistically, empowering people to, individually, own their future and collectively, allow peace, abundance and opportunity to emerge for everyone is the only way to stop the rivers of blood, save the organism and create a world that we are proud to leave to our children.