Giving an answer to world problems

A periodic contributor to the CN&R, Tom Blodget is the Peace Alliance’s representative for California’s 2nd Congressional District, campaigning for a Department of Peace and Non-Violence.

What if you learned of a way to solve the world’s most urgent problems—hunger, housing, health care, access to clean water, etc.—with nominal sacrifice, and within just a few years create a transformed, sustainable world in which everyone felt safe, healthy, and free to be themselves? Would you participate?

If we as a people began to care for each other as an automatic cultural trait—through philanthropy, volunteerism, tithing, and simply sharing—then the world’s most urgent humanitarian problems could be solved almost overnight.

It’s totally doable. Peter Singer of Princeton University had his math colleagues crunch the numbers to answer the question of how much money it would take to solve poverty. (In an essay on, I add volunteerism—time and talent—to the equation, plus some idealistic dreaming.)

Turns out that those of us from the working poor to the upper-middle/professional classes would only need to donate 10 percent of our income (or four hours weekly) to make this happen—all by ourselves and without the rich or super-rich lifting a finger! On their own, the rich would need to give only about 30 percent of their income or assets, which would not affect their comfort at all.

What prevents us, then, from moving forward? Nothing except a lack of information and “buzz.” We could start today. All of us. Go viral. Start doing it. Lead by example. Talk it up.

Once everyone is living with dignity, the world will be transformed—unrecognizably wonderful. Imagine that. We will then be prepared for the next level of artistic, cultural and spiritual adventures.

Violence, coercion, and fear have ever been the organizing principles of civilization, whether through war, taxes or fear-mongering. If we continue our present trajectory, we shall crash and burn horrifically, thinking people agree. It is time to shed the old skin.

Fighting fire with fire just burns the house down. We need the water of sharing, forgiveness and love.

Philanthropy, volunteerism and tithing are not new ideas. What is new is the idea that these noble actions be ingrained in our culture, be automatic in our behavior, and be the hallmark of the new world that we must create if we are to survive.

We will probably kick ourselves and put our fists on our foreheads after we see how easy it was to improve the world and enter into our full potential. The new health of our communities and society at large will create the conditions for undreamt-of happiness, health, creativity, hope and joy.

Prepare for the best; you may get it. Practice sharing, forgiving and unconditional love.