Seven Policy Switches for Global Security

  • James Greyson
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security book series (NAPSC)


Everyone desires a secure life. Yet the security of more and more regions is undermined by unreliable and unequal availability of basics such as energy, water, food, natural resources, funds, co-operation, trust and hope for the future. Shocks such as the credit crunch, infectious diseases, climate instability and ecological collapses are converging towards a ‘planet crunch’ where security would become a fond memory. Traditional policy-making, that manages problems separately and incrementally, offers only the illusion of protection against impending unaffordable and irreversible shocks affecting all people. Future security anywhere requires all facets of security everywhere. This ‘global security’ ambition can be sought with a new era of policy-making that encompasses the indivisibility, scale and urgency of all planet crunch issues. This paper offers a selection of seven simple ‘policy switches’ (or ‘leverage points’ in complex systems). Each policy switch offers an expanded vision of people’s role on Earth and a whole-system change to implement it. Together the switches define a practical strategy for global security, for a serious attempt at revival of co-operation, ecosystems and prosperity. The proposed policy switches are: (1) The strategy of aiming to reduce problems can be switched to reversing them with ‘positive development’. Less bad is not good enough. (2) Education can inspire a culture of joined-up thinking and engagement by switching from predetermined to curiosity-led learning. (3) Economic growth can be switched from consuming the basis for further growth to building it by correcting markets with ‘precycling insurance’. (4) Rapid global disarmament can be launched by switching from Gross Domestic Product to ‘Gross Peaceful Product’, that omits weapons-related transactions. (5) Exploitive commodification of the Earth’s surface can be switched to guardianship by international treaty that interprets ownership in terms of responsibility to future generations. (6) Surplus accumulations of financial wealth, which would be wiped out by the planet crunch, can be switched by the wealthy into investments that sustain all forms of wealth. (7) Global financial stability can be regained by switching money creation from the private sector to central public authorities and local currencies.


Energy climate regional security global security credit crunch planet crunch revival policy switches vision positive development joined-up thinking systems thinking curiosity-led education precycling insurance Gross Peaceful Product ownership guardianship wealth philanthropy money creation money tree local currencies 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BlindSpotLewesUK

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