Is it possible to transform politics around values such as empathy, solidarity and love? Many progressive commentators think so, and have laid out different plans to put these ideas into practice. But empathy and love seem in short supply in the actuality of politics today, crowded out by hate and intolerance. In one society after another fear-mongering proceeds apace against poor people, immigrants, minorities and anyone else who is not part of the dominant group.
This article first appeared on Open Democracy Transformation.
The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed at the U.N. in September 2015, together set out a vision of a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable world.
The vision is of a world in which no one is poor or hungry, where a sustainable model of economic growth benefits everyone and combats climate change, where there is greater equality within and between nations, and where every individual is treated equally regardless of gender, race or religion. Achieving such a vision will, in turn, require national and global institutions that are capable of delivering greater equality and fairness for all.
Unfortunately, however, our major political and economic institutions have been moving in the opposite direction for decades. As a result, inequalities have increased and self-interest now dominates societies, to the neglect of the common good.
A central challenge posed by the SDGs is to shift the cultures of our political and financial systems from self-interest to concern for others, and demonstrate once again that morality is a viable option in the modern world. Continue reading