Gayblack Canadian Man

Foreign Policy Analysis
How to make a good country | Simon Anholt | TEDxAcademy

How to make a good country | Simon Anholt | TEDxAcademy


Translator: Chryssa Takahashi
Reviewer: Yohanna Cordeiro Some of what I’m going to talk about is going to be perfectly clear
to some of you. I don’t know how many. Somewhere perhaps
between 5 and 95% of you. And the reason it will be so clear to you is because I’m going to be talking about
what it’s like to be me. And I’m just like some of you,
between 5 and 95%. Others will not understand perfectly
what I’m talking about. And they won’t feel too good about it. And they may feel a temptation to sneer. To those people I say, “Would you mind
if I just have a chat with the others? (Laughter) And I’ll come back to like in 10 minutes,
if that’s okay.” When we were growing up,
you remember what it was like. We seem to start out in life
with a feeling that other countries were somehow
just more interesting even than our own wonderful country. In other countries, there were so many exciting
different things to be discovered: new landscapes, new food, new people, new customs, new history, new language. And the people who lived
in those other countries, we expected them to be
somehow even more interesting than the interesting people
in our own country. More exotic, more extraodinary,
more wonderful. And we couldn’t wait to meet them. And we saw the whole of the Earth
as being a magical complex place, full of magical rooms
that we could walk in and out of and perhaps spend the rest of our lives
discovering that extraodinary place. And the first time we saw that photograph
of the Earth taken by NASA, that blue ball hanging in space, yes, our heads said, “Great photo,” but our hearts said, “Home.” And somehow we never had
any difficulty imagining the world. We never had any difficulty imagining the 6 billion and then 7 billion
of our brothers and sisters as brothers and sisters. Our minds could open and we could understand that,
and it felt good. But then as we started to grow
a little bit older, we discovered that
the really big issues that concerned us were being managed
by a system called politics, which kind of puzzled us. Thare seemed to be
a lot of over-grown children squabling about things
that didn’t seem to be terribly important. And just like children, instead of really trying
to reach solutions, what most of them seem
to spend their times doing was blaming the others
for the things that went wrong and grabbing the credit
for the things that went right. And we looked at these children
arguing in our parliaments and we felt at first slightly amuzed, and then slightly incredulous, and finally simply aghast that these were the people
who seemed to be running the planet. And we saw in the newspapers
and we saw on the television awful, gigantic things happening. People starving,
people killing each other, people not understanding each other,
deliberately, not accidently, and the planet melting. One day we noticed
we’d broken the weather. And the children continued to squabble
and continued to argue. And then they wanted you to join
a thing called a party. A party where you sign up
blind to every damn thing they’re ever going to do,
whether you like it or not. Now these days of course,
we don’t really like that kind of system. If we like a track,
we buy a track on iTunes. We don’t buy the whole album. And yet politics seem to be like that. You had to buy the whole album, in fact you have to buy
the artist’s entire career, whether you liked it or not. And when they failed or made a mistake, you had to pretend
that it was the fault of the others. And at times it started feeling
even really rather like a nightmare. You had this reccurring nightmare
that you were on a ship and the ship was being blown
towards the rocks and towards disaster, and you somehow were the only passenger
that could see what was about to happen. And yet the captain and the crew
were fighting about who should hold the steering wheel. And as in all nightmares,
you try to shout and you try to warn them that we were being blown
towards the rocks. And no sound came out. Nobody could hear you. That was my nightmare, too. Well, it all sounds pretty bad,
doesn’t it? But one thing I can say
to reassure you and reassure myself, there are at the very very very least
350 million of us in the world today who feel exactly like that. You’ll forgive me if within
my short alloted time span I don’t explain exactly
how I got to that number. But 350 million
is a very conservative minimum, and actually in reality
there are probably several billions who don’t need very much encouragement
really to understand that the world is the way that we see it. The world is the thing that counts. Humanity is the thing that counts. Now, I have spent a bit of time
thinking about what is the problem and trying to figure out
what is the solution in the simplest possible way. Last June I created this index,
called “The Good Country Index.” I won’t spend time on it now but you can look at it
on goodcountry.org and what it tried to do,
for the first time, was to measure what every country
on Earth or at least 125 of them, for which there were sufficient data, contribute to humanity and to the planet. Not what they do at home
but what they do for all of us because we do now live,
whether we like it or not, in a single system
and we’ve always lived on a single planet. And so what countries do,
not just for their own citizens but for every man, woman
and child on Earth, is incredibly important as never before. And it seemed to me
that it would be a good idea to try to measure,
to do a balance sheet for every country and to look not at how successful
they are at home, but what exactly
is their contribution to humanity. And I released that back in June, and it’s the beginning
of a series of initiatives that I’m going to be announcing
over the next few years, to try to achieve something
really very ambitious. Now, it is ambitious. But to the number of you who
I mentioned right at the beginning, the cynics, the realists, the hawks, the ones who I said at the beginning maybe sneering a little bit
at what I’m saying, well, I want to say
a couple of things to you. First of all, I’d like to ask who have you been mixing with
all of this time that you have formed
that view of humanity, that they are selfish,
that they are self-interested, that they will grab for themselves
given the chance rather than give to somebody else? Which planet have you been living on that you formed that view,
that humanity is like that? Certainly not the same planet
I’ve been living on. Every day that passes
I’m more and more confirmed that it’s better to see the good in people
than to see the evil. And I think the other thing
that I would like to say to the cynics and the hawks
and the realists, is, we’ve tried in your way
and it doesn’t work. So let’s try it the other way. The big problem in the world
as I see it is selfish nations. When a child is born, we are born with loyalty
only to ourselves. We are perfectly selfish beings. That’s the way biology works. And then as we grow, we gradually learn to transfer
some of that loyalty to our mother, and then to our father,
and our siblings, and our blood tribe. Where we’ve got to in the 21st century, is that most of us have learned
to transfer our loyalty to an invention called “the nation state.” This is, I hope, a temporary,
because a pathological situation where nations tend to look inwards and consider only the selfish cause of their own selves
and their own citizens. We’ve heard a lot about that
in the other talks. That I think is the problem. And I think the solution
is pretty straightforward. And I want to tell you
about that very briefly. The solution is what I called
“The dual mandate.” All governments, whether
they’re governments of nations, of cities, of regions, of villages, or the management of companies, the management
of civil society organizations, they all operate according
to this understanding of a single mandate. And the mandate is
they’re responsible for their people, and they’re responsible for the slice
of the world’s territory that they occupy. That’s their job. That single mandate, I think,
has now run its course. It’s no longer sufficient. If we’re going to tackle
the gigantic problems that face the humanity today the shared, borderless problems
of climate change, and human rights,
and terrorism, and economic catastrophy,
and all of the other things we are going to have to learn
to operate in a different way, and we are going to have
to tell our governments that they need to operate
in a different way. The dual mandate is pretty simple. What it says is this. Yes, you are responsible
for your own citizens, but you are also responsible for every human being
on the face of the Earth, the entire 7 billion. Yes, you are responsible
for your own nation, your own slice of territory, but you are also responsible
for the entire planet. That’s the dual mandate. Now obviously the proportions
will change from case to case. Most of the time, governments will have
to prioratize their own citizens. That’s normal and it’s natural. But the dual mandate requires that one day in 5 years,
in 10 years, in 100 years time, – I hope it’s not a hundred – governments will understand
that no matter what the priority, no policy discussion
will ever take place again where the international dimention
is left out. Whether we’re discussing
something at a village level, whether we’re discussing
something purely domestic, we must always remember
the external factor, the rest of humanity
and the rest of the planet. This is a new habit of thought, a new culture of governence,
which we need to adopt and we need to adopt it worldwide. Now, that’s not going to happen just because I tell governments
that it’s got to happen. Governments will only adopt
that new culture which is a difficult and painful process
to go through, if you, we tell them to. We, the demos, have to demand that. And the sentence I used
in my last TED Talk was the very simple one, the cry
that we have to let our governments hear, which is,
“I want to live in a good country.” It’s not enough to live
in a successful country, it’s not enough to live
in a happy country. We have to live in a good country, so that we know that our contributions,
the things we are proud of, are contributing something
not just to us, but to everybody on the planet. This is where we need to get to. And this is, I think,
where we will get to. I think it’s already where we are going, but we need to push it along a bit. Now, there is a good way and a bad way of encouraging politicians
to do this. The bad way, I think, is by critisizing
and protesting, and harrassing them. Trying to embarrass them, trying to shame or mortify them
into changing their behaviour. Take it from me, that’s my job,
I advise politicians. And what I’ve discovered,
is that if you try to critisize, or shame, or humiliate them, they will just carry on
doing the same thing, but they’ll just do it in secret. That’s what happens. So what we need to do in order
to encourage politicians to fulfill the dual mandate,
is we have to love-bomb them. We have to project fantastic creative
policy ideas at them. Twenty three hours out of every 24. We have to form competent teams
all around the world who can actually produce better solutions, who can prove that the domestic agenda is not incompatible with
the international agenda. In fact, quite the contrary. An international solution
or an internationally informed solution to any domestic problem will be ten times more powerful
than simply a domestic solution because all problems today are global. And we need to find the means
and build the systems that will enable us to give our politicians and our managers fantastic, imaginitive, creative solutions that manage to combine
the domestic and the global, the local and the international. That’s the way we need to do it. And I think that what it probably needs
is a country to take the lead. It could be almost any country. But why not Greece? One of the reasons why
I was particulary happy to have been invited
to this event in Athens is because I’m very interested in Greece. Greece is in a unique and remarkable
position in the world today. You’re in a position where
you are able to change. You see, when a country is doing well,
or doing normal business, it’s sailing serenly across
the smooth sea, its course is set, it’s really very unlikely
that it’s going to change direction. It thinks it knows where it’s going, and it thinks it knows
how to get there. And there is enormous resistance to change
when things are going well. But when things are going badly,
then change becomes necessary. And people’s minds are open
to the possibility of change. And when a country has actually
struck the rocks, then it has no option
but to set a new course and to set out across
what Homer called the wine-dark sea, and to find a new port
and to head for it. So Greece is in that extraordinarily
privileged position where it could make a cultural change in the way that it runs
and organizes itself. From the national government right down
to the smallest village community the smallest company, even families, and say,
“We’re going to make a policy decision, a strategy decision,
a philosophical decision, that we’re going to operate
according to the principles of good.” Greece could do that and if it did that, a great many extraordinary things
might happen. I’m not suggesting that Greece should try
to become the goodest country on Earth, just because it’s a good thing to do. And it is a good thing to do. I’m not suggesting
that Greece should do it, just because it’s the right thing to do. And it is the right thing to do. I’m not even saying that Greece
should do it because there are benefits. And there are benefits. If Greece does this,
and gives people around the world, simple reasons every day
to feel glad that Greece exists, then Greece will find
that it is admired, and respected, and trusted, and loved
by the international community in a way that it hasn’t experienced
for 2,000 years. And that will make the Greeks
feel so much better than they’ve felt in such a long time. And of course it brings benefits. If people love, and trust, and admire,
and respect you as a nation, they want to do business with you, they want to buy your products, they want to visit you as tourists, they want to invest in your economy. And that’s a pretty good reason,
but it’s not the reason. The reason why Greece should try
to become the goodest country on Earth is because one country must,
if the others are going to follow. And so, because it can, Greece must lead. Thank you. (Applause)

6 comments on “How to make a good country | Simon Anholt | TEDxAcademy

  1. I couldn't agree more. I actually made my friends see this and I got was those pesky sneers. People tend to be complacent, they always question the person who is speaking rather than focusing on the message and actually understanding it. How could someone make them think otherwise? I tried but always to no avail.

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