The Lost Stories are Bill Mollison’s articles published in the print magazine originally named Permaculture, then International Permaculture Journal and finally the Permaculture International Journal that was published between 1978 and 2000.
All stories and other content ©Permaculture Australia unless otherwise noted.

Story by Bill Mollison, 1987. Edition 26.
Feature photo: Bill and Lisa Mollison, Australasian Permaculture Convergence 9, Sydney, 2009.
©Russ Grayson 2009

Published as an article in World visions… and realities

A KEY DISCUSSION PAPER has just appeared, authored by Marc Nerfin for the IFDA Dossier (International Foundation for Development Alternatives.
It is called Neither Prince nor Merchant: Citizen, and probably predicates a new and long-felt movement towards a single global body representing ethical associations, not governments nor corporations.
Nerfin gives references and notes on the extremely targe number and wide-ranging concerns of modern associations and groups (non-governmental organizations). He notes that by 1981 France had 300,000-500,000 associations, forming up at the rate of 100 per day!
People who join or form associations subscribe to a common aim, ethic or project, and increasingly these associations are being formed to carry out a specific role or job in relation to environmental and human concerns at a local, continental or global level. There are large dictionaries of such groups, no doubt incomplete or out of-date even as they are published.
It has long been evident that if ethical groups could combine to direct their financial and consumer power they would be the largest unified world body in history. For while the ‘moral majority’ is a fiction of right-wing politicians, the ethical majority is a reality countable by the memberships of ethical associations.

Small nations

Such associations are, in fact, small nations of peoples who subscribe to common objectives. We can only define a ‘nation’ by some common factor, irrespective of place of residence (as for the Sikh Nation, the Shoshone Nation, Jewish peoples, and so on).
If we are to support our own world body — and even an annual $100 from such groups as the permaculture and Earthbank associations would probably pay for an effective international registry and journal — we would need to define a clear project area and function for such a body.
It is certainly important for us to count our numbers and to see how many of us there are. Thus, to record, census, convene and to collate a global policy paper to guide all groups in their action would be an admirable first aim.
To set a true united body up needs an early agreement on basic ethics. Minimal ethics today, in global terms, would be about as follows:

  1. Earthcare ethics
  • groups and associations devoted to conservation, rehabilitation, protection and defense of the world’s natural, biological, atmospheric, water and soil environments.

2. Peoplecare ethics

  • Groups and associations devoted to the accountability of corporations, opposed to torture, terrorism and repression; supporting equal rights and representation, defending minority rights and caring for a defined group of disadvantaged people, health and peace etc.

3. Investment ethics

  • groups and associations ‘putting their money where their mouth is’ — associations for ethical investment, the redirection of money and resources from aggression and unethical enterprises, the application of social, environmental and fiscal audits and accounting to all enterprises, the establishment of trusts, charities and active projects; investment of human effort, resources, and capital towards all three ethics stated.

If any group feels no conflict in subscribing to the above broad ethical base, or at present have formed to act in one or other part of such an ethic, then they belong to or would be eligible for membership in such a body. Almost all governments would be excluded on the basis of ‘no common ethic’, torture, repression of minorities, non-accountability or devotion of resources to war, as would terrorist groups and exploitive industries or corporations and their members.
I would guess that within the next few years, again by co-evolution — an idea whose time has come — such a body will be put in place by a group or association formed to do just that. Even six to eight people could manage such a service to ethical associations.
All of us could then subscribe to a more detailed ethic in the areas of our interest and set the stage for the replacement of governments and corporations by a global association of small groups, trusts and charities devoted to beneficial projects.
The main role of governments to date has been to create monstrous bureaucracies, armies and secret services. None of these are needed by the world.

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