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What's Happening? - Ethical Development Goals

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In spite of spectacular strides in science and technology, and still unlimited ones to come, something basic is missing. There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers - Martin Luther King

This evolving paper will examine the overall Ethical Development Goals (EDGs) that Halcyon is developing to complement the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

INTRODUCTION

The EDGs are inspired by the SDGs, officially known as ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, an intergovernmental set of aspiration Goals with 169 targets.

However, ethical considerations need to play a more central role in the implementation of the SDGs, according to a coalition of countries who co-sponsored a meeting at UN headquarters in January 2016; the meeting heard that despite unprecedented collaboration, many businesses still need key ethical reforms.

The Dalai Lama also recently told his Facebook friends that "grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate," and that religion alone cannot foster values such as integrity and compassion. He is instead calling for a global system of secular ethics. Speaking at the Mind & Life Conference in India, the Dalai Lama told attendees that a new global ethical code would be of benefit to everyone, including people who don't follow any particular religion. He said that the new ethics should incorporate the diverse set of values that people of various beliefs hold in common.

A 2016 article suggested that “ethical technology advocates” will be mankind’s go-betweens, with a wave of robots and artificial intelligence applications that will be helping to run our complex and connected world by 2025. One of their key jobs will be to negotiate our delicate relationship with the robots by setting the moral and ethical rules under which the machines and their makers operate and exist.

 

ABOUT THE EDGs

For me the purpose of life is to know other people…is to discover what life is. Who inhabits the world? What is it to be human? What can I give to the world which it doesn’t have…a gift for tolerating my presence in this world..…and unless I know the people, I can’t know what it does not have - Theodore Zeldin

Imagine balancing self-interest and caring for others. If this is possible, then:

(1) What is the approximate balance between the two today - in individuals, organisations and societies? How much time do we really spend thinking about and then acting on other people's needs?

(2) How can we start an open and ongoing debate about what the balance should be - next year, in 2020, in 2030 etc? I f we don't do this, then how can individuals really know how to lead a "good" life, how can organisations know what their wider responsibilities really are and can societies really know how to develop fair policies for all?

(3) How can we then best collaborate with one other, sharing our good practices and our ideas and reaching out for a consensus on the most effective actions, projects and policies to get us ever closer to that optimum balance between self-interest and active compassion?

What will be the best fora and media for involving as many people as possible in both the debate and the sharing?

What is short, are the human, personal, "ethical" development goals (EDGs) that we should nurture alongwide the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

Neuroscience is throwing more and more light on our true nature as human beings and has the potential to dramatically transform the way we see the world.  This is an interesting article about decision making and the research that confirms what many have intuited for a long time - most decisions are emotional - not logical. 

Halcyon intends to play a key role in starting to answer such questions.

 

TRENDS

Policymakers, non-government organisations, charities and entrepreneurs across the world are showing increasing interest in “social innovation” as a means of addressing various problems, from poverty and homelessness to environmental degradation. But what does the term actually mean, aksed The Economist Intelligence Unit? As the concept of social innovation has gained currency, more efforts have been made to bring rigour to the field by defining the term more clearly and analysing best practices in its application. So far there have been few attempts to examine how countries can encourage and enable social innovation. That is the aim of a new Index and white paper, commissioned by The Nippon Foundation.

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