How our political, economic and social systems undermine world unity?

Hand map.

Could the dream of world unity ever be realized by this world’s efforts?

Is it possible that one of the leading elements in world affairs might direct mankind toward that goal?

This world has had thousands of years to experiment with different governments, as well as economic and social systems.

Why has not any one of them ever been a force for unity?

Political system

A powerful force in human affairs is political leadership.

But, sadly, history clearly shows that this has not been a force for uniting people.

On the contrary, after thousands of years of trying every possible political ideology, the world is more divided than ever.

There are now more independent nations and different types of political systems than at any other time in history.

If human government could be a force for world unity, surely it should have demonstrated this by now.

Instead, every century has been stained with the blood of one war after another—thousands of them.

 And far from any gradual progress toward unity in modern times, our 20th century has proved to be the most disastrously divided of all.

Two horrendous world wars have been fought, with about 70 million lives cut short.

As if that were not enough, the recent book War in Peace declares that since World War II some 130 military conflicts in over a hundred countries have killed about 35 million people.

Imagine that! In a time of so-called peace!

A basic reason for this deplorable condition is mankind’s adherence to political and national loyalties.

These have kept the human family utterly divided and working at cross-purposes.

That is why historian Arnold Toynbee said that nationalism “has been in truth the master religion,” since many people give worshipful obedience to it.

Toynbee stated that this worship of sovereign states sets their respective members against one another “because this religion is an expression of self-centredness.” 

And he felt that this “self-centredness is the source of all strife.”

Political divisions are far more disastrous now because mankind is well into the nuclear age.

Nuclear war is feared in every nation, especially considering the capacity of nuclear weapons today.

In The Fate of the Earth, Jonathan Schell writes:

What happened at Hiroshima was less than a millionth part of a holocaust at present levels of world nuclear armament. Politics, accordingly, is fully stuck with the glaring absurdity that with one hand it builds for a future that with the other hand it prepares to destroy. Each time a politician raises his voice to speak of making a better world for our children and grandchildren . . . the peril of extinction is there to gainsay him with the crushing rebuttal: But there may be no children or grandchildren.”

Economic System

Could we look to any economic system of this world as a unifying force, so that the entire human family could benefit from the earth’s ability to produce bountifully? 

Again, the record of history answers no. 

Not one of man’s economic systems has ever produced a model for a unified approach so that all mankind’s best interests are served. 

Every economic system has brought great dissatisfaction and hardship to millions.

In recent years there has been one crisis after another in the global economy. 

The debts of underdeveloped lands have risen enormously, but their ability to pay has not. 

Even the debts of most developed nations have grown astronomically. 

Poverty is rampant.

Millions are unemployed. 

Every year other millions continue to die from hunger or disease brought on by malnutrition.
And French newspaper editor AndrĂ© Fontaine declared: 

I see no Government in the world today which appears capable of coping with the major economic problems of our time. That is because they are really world problems, and no country can resolve them singlehandedly.”

That is at the heart of the matter. 

The world’s economic problems require united, global action. 

But too many different selfish interests are involved for there to be any lasting solution by this world’s leaders.

Social systems 

Social problems also reflect mankind’s growing disunity. 

Hatred and prejudice, crime and violence, terrorism and armed conflict—on all continents—are symptoms of a sick world. 

Life in many big cities has become especially dangerous. 

Thus, when a police officer in Italy tried to encourage a prisoner by telling him that he might be released soon, the prisoner’s surprising reaction was, as reported by La Nazione

I couldn’t care less about getting out. These are difficult times. I prefer to stay in prison. It is too easy to get killed outside.”

There are also human weaknesses that divide families and undermine the quality of life in every type of political system. 

Divorces are on the increase nearly everywhere; in some places nearly half of all new marriages end that way. 

Escapism, too, in the form of excessive drinking affects both the Eastern and the Western world. 

One result is that each day people driving automobiles under the influence of alcohol add victims to a world slaughter that numbers some 300,000 deaths annually.

The plague of drug addiction has brought grief to millions. 

Rampant sexual permissiveness is resulting in an enormous harvest of dreaded venereal diseases, some now resistant to treatment. 

And accompanying that is a tidal wave of unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

Social problems are made worse by the 800 billion dollars a year now spent on armaments. 

That is over two billion dollars a day!

Yet, millions of children die of malnutrition every year, as do many adults. 

Thus, we cannot escape the truth on this matter: Social problems and inequalities are increasing.

Hundreds of millions of disappointed and oppressed people find themselves without hope. 

And no social system of this world can solve these problems since there is no united approach to them.

Surely, it is evident by now that no political, economic or social system of this world can serve as a uniting force for mankind. 

Indeed, just what can we look to as a force for uniting this pitifully divided human family

Unity —What it could mean

"Whether Hindu or Catholic, Jew or Lutheran, Quaker or Moslem, Buddhist, Amish or Mormon, if we put as much devotion and zeal into making a heaven right here on Earth as we do in striving to qualify for the hereafter, just think what a brilliantly clean, uncontaminated and beautiful world we would live in.”

With those words American journalist Mel Ellis expressed the desire of many people today. 

They want a beautiful world to live in. 

Yet, they continue to keep their religious, political, economic and social divisions—the very things that have led to so much hatred, strife and bloodshed throughout history.

Still, the earth could be greatly transformed if people were only united in purpose. 

One immediate result would be that wars would cease. 

Then phrases such as “armaments races” and “nuclear weapons stockpiles” would be things of the past. 

There would never again be the maiming of human bodies and the injuring of minds in warfare.

Families would not again experience the heartbreak of losing loved ones in armed conflict.

The money spent on arms and military preparation now amounts to about 800 billion dollars a year. 

If all of that were devoted to peaceful pursuits, what a transformation could take place even amid present imperfect conditions! 

Think of the necessary homes, hospitals, schools, basic sanitary needs, clean water and other things that could be provided. 

And all of that could easily result in full employment for those constructing things for the benefit of mankind. 

If the entire human family, too, worked together for the common good, there would be plenty of food for all. 

French newspaper editor AndrĂ© Fontaine stated: 

There is enough wealth for everyone if only we would use it for the benefit of mankind.”

So think about what a united human family could mean. 

It could mean:

-fellow feeling instead of blind hatred

-up-building peace instead of senseless violence

-unifying mutual respect instead of divisive nationalism.

But how could such changes ever be accomplished? 

Surely, they must begin in the minds of people. 

And to change the mind there has to be a complete change of moral ethics and education to rid humans of all influences that divide.