This is the text of a speech presented by the Secretary-General of PGS Model United Nations, Andrew Jones, at the PGS MUN Conference, on Saturday, 31st March, 2012
© Daniel Rollins 2012. Used with permission
So let's take it to an extreme, with a world in which only the politicians can make the decisions and the people simply accept their fate. This totalitarian regime would be governed by the views of the few, whilst the majority would be reduced to having no voice. Of course the notion of democracy would be none existent as the politicians emphatically clung to power. Could this kind of world possibly succeed?
A good contemporary example of a country in which virtually all the decisions are made by the government is Cuba. Accused of humans rights abuses, Cuba's government has a notorious level of control over its people's freedom of expression and speech. In 2008 it had the second highest number of imprisoned journalists, second only to that of China. Similarly Cuba's economy has faired little better, recently in 2011 the country was forced to devalue its currency as the economic situation took a turn for the worse. This has mainly been due to the economy's reliance on foreign credit in order to sustain growth. Is it really therefore beneficial for a country to be run by politicians? The case of Cuba would certainly suggest that this sort of system grossly reduces personal freedom. This however overlooks some of the positives of the Cuban politician led system.
The Cuban health care system has been described as their greatest triumph, performing well above comparable systems. Rates of life expectancy are ranked third in the Americas ahead of the United States a country which is keen to profess the freedoms which people enjoy under its own system of governance. In education, rates of illiteracy have steadily declined to less than 5% of the population. Remarkable for a country which has suffered set back after set back, mainly at the hands of an invasive United States. Surely therefore a system in which politicians make the decisions can succeed. Although admittedly this can come at the expense of freedom.
©Daniel Rollins. Used with permission
Turning our sights to the United Nations, the most influential politicians in the world come together in order to decide on policies. The decisions they make, good or bad have had some of the most profound effect on the world. From helping to lift the people of Libya out of tyranny to failing to prevent the deaths of over 800,000 people in the Rwandan genocide. The scale of the issue is irrelevant, as any decision taken by politicians at the United Nations have wide reaching consequences and ultimately have the greatest impact on the world. However on the whole I don't think that this world really exists. Instead the system which does exist is balanced between who has the largest voice in the decisions made however in practice this system is rarely utilized by the people and therefore instead we seem to lead the issue of decision making up to the politicians.
©Daniel Rollins. Used with permission.
©Daniel Rollins .Used with permission.
An individual. Having looked at the powers of a community to change the world, how much change can a single individual make on the world. Certainly it is undeniable that as an individual, a politician does have a greater level of impact on the world. What however about those who have not devoted themselves to the art of governance, could you or I actually make a serious difference in the world?
©Daniel Rollins. Used with permission
So could there really be a way for people to have a genuinely beneficial impact on the world? Without having to be a politician. Surely the best way for this to happen is through small actions, maybe helping a handful of people. About a year ago a video was played on Russell Howard's Good News showing the work of Patrice Mellet in helping the improverished children of Haiti through sport (see the video below)
The actions of Patrice may not be ground breaking or world changing however it is undeniable that they are having a serious impact on the children of Haiti. Not only has Patrice's work directly helped those children stricken by suffering, however he also offers a role model of an individual giving back and making a difference. One of the key principles of most philosophers is to live in harmony with society. This world is not a small place however we are all interconnected,. If people try to impact the world through good or bad actions the consequences are far more influential than many people are willing to acknowledge. An individual as we have seen can impact the world fair more easily through negative actions. However simply by acting as a member of society, living in harmony and trying to make a difference, even for just another individual we can make a serious difference. I would like to leave you with this quote from the film “Kingdom of Heaven”, “What man is a man if he does not try to make the world a better place.” Thank you.