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In Quest of Sustainability as Holy Grail of Global Governance

Holy Grail of Governance?
Holy Grail of Finance?
Greed: the Chalice and the Trough
Holy Blood, Holy Grail: cultivating a murky world of illusion
In-forming the Chalice as an integrative cognitive dynamic

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Produced on the occasion of the G-20 Summit (Cannes, October 2011)


The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has indicated:

In these difficult times, the biggest challenge facing governments is not a deficit of resources; it is a deficit of trust. People are losing faith in leaders and public institutions to do the right thing. The forthcoming G-20 meeting in Cannes takes place against this dramatic backdrop. (The Clock Is Ticking, International Herald Tribune, 31 October 2011)

The following exploration of "belief", "confidence" and "trust" is undertaken in the light of an earlier reframing of "theology" as offering insights into worldwide tendencies towards faith-based governance, however that is understood or appreciated (International Institute of Advanced Studies in Mathematical Theology, 2011). There it was argued that:

Concern with the "divine", with which theology is conventionally preoccupied, is radically reframed in this exploration in order to encompass that to which people may well attribute the term "divine" in their lives -- in which they believe most profoundly, or in which others (including politicians and economists) call upon them to have faith. Can more sophisticated mathematics offer insights into the nature of that engagement with belief and the confidence it offers -- as previously discussed (Human Values as Strange Attractors, 1993). Are such insights as relevant to the most spiritual as to those who associate their most profound beliefs with sport, friends, music, gardening, dance, wine, and ideology -- or possibly with the exemplars of that world?

Rather than the conventional "macro-religions", these might then be understood (or caricatured) as "micro-religions", potentially limited in space, time and dimensionality. As further clarified in an annex to that argument, the current challenge -- exemplified by the financial crisis of this period -- is indeed one of "confidence", as so emphatically now emphasized by those responsible for seeking last minute remedies (Mathematical Theology: Future Science of Confidence in Belief, 2011).

According to the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, that body was to be understood as "an anchor of stability and confidence" (26 March 2010) -- a belief he stressed on retiring in October 2011. Concerns are however widely expressed regarding "consumer confidence", "business confidence", and in the confidence of chief financial officers (Confidence among finance chiefs tumbles, The Financial Times, 9 October 2011; Confidence ebbs to two-year low, The Guardian, 10 October 2011). The worldwide Occupy Wall Street movement is a popular recognition of lack of confidence in the current system. At the time of writing, the future of Greece, the eurozone, and the global economy was claimed to depend specifically on a "vote of confidence" in the Prime Minister of Greece and, more generally, "market confidence" in the future of European countries with excessive sovereign debt.

The trust deficit acknowledged by the UN Secretary-General is compounded by recognition that the massive worldwide investment in defence and security effectively derives from a profound lack of collective confidence -- so notably exemplified by the armament industries of Permanent Members of the UN Security Council. This is obscured by preoccupation with "security". The estimated wordwide annual military expenditure of over 1.5 trillion dollars (2.7% of World GDP) is therefore one measure of this trust deficit. Rather than the classic statement "it's the economy, stupid", it is now a case of "it's confidence, stupid" -- as implied by regular publication of the Capital Confidence Barometer and of the SIPRI Yearbook: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security. In the case of the USA, from such a perspective, the Holy Grail of Governance is total "system dominance" -- perhaps best understood as confidence domination, as separately argued (WikiLeaks and the First Global Condom War, 2010).

Widespread use of "Holy Grail" noted below then implies a quest, even a desperate quest, for a pattern that as yet remains elusive with respect to governance -- a form which cannot as yet be defined. The situation is exacerbated by fear of "alternatives" -- also to be recognized as a lack of confidence in those promoting them.

It is within that context that the nature of any "container" for confidence becomes of fundamental importance. As variously understood, the "Chalice" might then be said to be intimately related to the quest for the "Holy Grail of Governance" -- perhaps usefully to be understood as a container capable of holding the confidence of all. This is the focus of a further development of this argument (In-forming the Chalice as an Integrative Cognitive Dynamic: sustaining the Holy Grail of Global Governance, 2011).

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