The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH) is a Swiss foundation that makes grants to civil society movements and organisations to support their actions in favour of a social and ecological transition.
Economic, social and environmental crises are multiplying all over the world and no single governing body can handle all the challenges our global community currently faces.
Exceeding planetary limits
There is abundant evidence that the planet is incapable of supporting the societal model of what 20th century terminology calls ‘the most developed countries’. Their lifestyle simply cannot be extended to less developed countries, and even industrialized societies must make radical changes to curtail consumption.
In a context of economic globalisation, weakened economic and regulatory capacities of States—and the resulting fragilization of the Welfare State—as well as poor distribution of the fruits of economic growth, have led to increased inequality within each country. The phenomenon is now well-documented and recognised by international organisations (IMF, World Bank, OECD). This rise in inequality disproves ‘trickle-down’ economic theory and calls for new ways of redistributing wealth, in particular re-regulation of the labour market (minimum salary, control of working time and conditions) and restoration of governments’ capacity to tax.
The period we are now living in is characterised by a retreat of universalism and of the theory that humanity is on a path to unity and progress through emancipation. Thirty years of liberalism, which purported to liberate the individual, have in reality produced a form of individualism and relativism that paves the way first to intellectual, and then to moral transgressions. Loss of a common core of values, cynicism of the political class, and a breakdown of the intermediate instances required for socialisation, have turned peoples into masses, to borrow Hannah Arendt’s concept. Paradoxically, unbridling inhibition and permitting the widespread expression of scorn have led to the emergence of unscrupulous leaders and ideologies that, to gain power, encourage xenophobic behaviour and hatred. Fanaticism can be observed across the religious spectrum, along with ultra-nationalism, misogyny, racism and homophobia. An increasingly dismissive attitude toward the poor and resentment of the so-called ‘one percent’ are also symptoms of this culture crisis.
Increase in international tensions
The fall of authoritarian regimes in the 1980’s did not lead to the pacification of international relations. On the contrary, after a few years of illusions the cold war was replaced by international disorder. In the absence of international cooperation—in the areas of peace, the economy, the environment—a new and dangerously unstable balance of power arose.