IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Global Ethics

As discussed several times already in these pages, positive peace “rests” on supportive values.  More effective global institutions could only emerge from an enabling and supportive culture…which brings us to the subject of global ethics.  Ethics, and morality in general, have existed until now in a given country or culture.  This has, for instance, posed many problems for multinational business where a code of conduct has to span many cultural contexts.  So, logically, if we are to have a more peaceful world order, the question of global or world ethics has arisen.  Hans Kung, from the University of Tubingen in Germany (now Prof. Emeritus) is closely identified with this project, and was the author of Towards a Global Ethic: An Initial Declaration which was presented at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in 1993.  Here is an interesting page which sums up many of Kung’s ideas on the topic (it is concise, and has many excellent links). Kung emphasizes the need for peace among religions since religion has always been the main wellspring of culture.

One project to which Kung links is the World Commission on Culture and Development, and their report “Our Creative Diversity” (published over a decade ago).  This is an excellent overview of the problem of cultural diversity, its implications for development and the need for global ethics to foster the collective action necessary to come to terms with the lengthening list of global problems:

“The idea is that the values and principles of a global ethics should be the shared points of reference, providing the minimal moral guidance the world must heed in its manifold efforts to tackle the global issues outlined above.”

It seems to me that a global culture is emerging, and efforts like these (along with the work of UNESCO in general) are providing important guidance about what the elements of this culture can and should be.

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January 4, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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