University of Earth
Projects Overview (Explanations)
Global Strategies Project (Explanations)

Global Strategies and Solutions Project

Overview: Global Strategies Project


Projects: Problems | Strategies | Values | Integrative concepts | Human development | Transformative approaches | Metaphors

Scope and rationale
Background
Organization and structure
Information content
Method and development

Explanatory comments
Context

Reservations and disclaimer
Statistics
Media used & multi-media


Scope and rationale

The purpose of this project is to identify the complete range of strategies perceived by international constituencies, whether as a focus for their programme activities, their research, their protest, their recommendations, or as part of their belief system. An entry has been established on each strategy. This provides a context within which the network of specific relationships perceived between these strategies may also be identified.

As a whole, this section on strategies endeavours to present phenomena in society that take such names as actions, solutions, programmes, campaigns, agendas and which are perceived positively by the groups or individuals undertaking them. These are initiatives which engender feelings of creativity and advancement. They are undertakings taken for the improvement, maintenance or recovery of desirable conditions. Their execution serves the interests of the strategic actors and very often are explicitly for the good of others. As such they are a major force in the development of society.

This does not always mean that all strategies are perceived by others as positive. The stimuli prompting strategic response can engender fear, irrational and destructive responses equally as well as considered, balanced and creative remedial actions. Groups may be very strongly motivated by the problems which infringe their values and arouse their indignation. Some such problems may be other's strategies.

The varying perceptions documented in this section raise useful questions concerning the nature of strategies and what is meant by adopting a strategy. Inclusion of a strategy in this section is therefore not considered by the editors to mean that the strategy "exists", but only that a functionally significant group of people in a number of countries endorse the strategy or claim that it exists on the basis of the facts available to them.

There is considerable difficulty obtaining material on strategies -- rather than on the opinions, beliefs, theories, disciplines or other frameworks through which perception of strategies is filtered. A primary aim of the editorial work has been to render strategies generic, [ie] transcending national frontiers, organization boundaries and individual philosophies and mind-sets.

Background

This project was conceived as a necessary major complement to the World Problems Project, subsequent to the first edition of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential in 1976 -- then titled the Yearbook of World Problems and Human Potential. Further explanation is provided in comments on Background and acknowledgements.

Organization and structure

The types of problems distinguished are discussed elsewhere (Global Strategies: Type Codes). As a consequence, this section contains sub-sections as follows:

Strategy Sub-sections Strategy Profiles Relationships
  1996 2000 1996 2000
Descriptive sections . . . .
Abstract strategies (A) 0 1,518 0 16,767
Basic universal strategies (B) 158 154 3,697 4,253
Cross-sectoral strategies (C) 1,100 1,089 17,096 25,206
Detailed strategies (D) 3,315 3,452 19,374 43,329
Emanations of other strategies (E) 3,008 5,298 11,092 50,677
Exceptional strategies (F) 1,382 1,972 7,015 19,580
Cross-referenced sections . .    
Very specific strategies (G)

7,685

13,107

3,604

69,059

Strategies under consideration (J)

12,850

6,105

61,129

34,070

Totals

29,498

32,695

123,007

262,941

In 1996 (as a consequence of the 1994-5 edition) this section contained entries on a total of 29,542 strategies grouping 52,406 strategy names which are indexed by keyword. The entries are linked by 84,890 cross-references. As indicated above, the section is divided into 5 major sub-sections -- B through F -- containing descriptive entries. A further three sub-sections correspond to entries which are referenced-only (by entries in B through F); they were neither printed, nor indexed. A further section (P) was an an experimental section used to cluster strategies according to 239 value polarities and 45 value clusters. For more details see World Problems and Global Strategies: statistics on profiles and relationships (1996-2000). Detailed statistics are also available in the commentary.

Information content

Profiles of organization strategies (over 32,695 entries, 262,941 links) on implemented, or advocated strategies, as indicated by international constituencies (intergovernmental organizations, international nongovernmental associations (NGOs) and other bodies -- profiled in a complementary source: Yearbook of International Organizations):

Method and development

The entries are based on information obtained from international organizations, a wide variety of reference books, or as reported in the international media. Research procedures were designed to detect both well-publicized strategies as well as little-known strategies, whether recognized by official bodies or not. The procedures include methods of handling hierarchies of sub-strategies which extend down to a level of specificity that is inappropriate to attempt to handle at this stage.

Detailed comments on methods are provided in a commentary.

Source: The global strategies profiled are those recognized by over 20,000 international organizations (profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations) and other constituencies. Some of the problems may be recognized by many organizations, others may only be recognized by loose networks, movements or isolated groups of experts.

Names: Strategies do not have unique or official names. Many of the strategies have two or more other names associated with them to reflect different keywords and ways of describing them. Some have up to ten names. Any alphabetic list, based on a single name per strategy, is therefore an essentially arbitrary ordering of the strategies. As a random presentation of the contents of the database, it has the advantage of drawing attention to the variety of modes of action envisaged by individuals and groups. Some strategies are decidedly controversial -- and may even amount to problems.

Development: It is important to recognize that the database is continually being expanded with user participation, notably through the addition of more specific problems that are aspects of those already included and the interaction between problems in vicious cycle loops.

Explanatory comments

Detailed explanations and commentary are also provided in a collection of 72 documents

Research studies on strategies (written in relation to this project, to international organizations and to the global problematique), are directly accessible from separate checklists:

A significant number of the studies on the organization of information are concerned with how it might be made more relevant to policy-making, and with how information on the multitude of strategies might be configured for more fruitful comprehension -- both by elites and by their constituencies.Many of the studies are concerned with how information on the multitude of advocated strategies might be more fruitfully organized and configured to enable more coherent action. The development of the databases and the user-interfaces on the web are being developed with this in mind.

Note that more general comments and explanations, regarding the collection of projects initiated within the framework of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential, are available in a collection of 27 documents.

Context

The contents presented by this project may be considered as complementing the other projects in ways such as the following:

Reservations and disclaimer

Reservations: The emphasis throughout this project has been placed on providing descriptions of less well-known strategies, particularly when the extensive material available on the better known strategies contained neither succinct descriptions of them nor descriptive material which could easily be reduced to succinct descriptions.

The strategy descriptions in this project represent a compilation of views from published documents (usually from international organizations) and are in no way intended as an accusation or a criticism of any particular group or country by the editors or publishers of this volume. By including or excluding particular strategies, the editors are in no way implying either approval or disapproval of the strategy as conceived or as described. The same strategies tend to be viewed differently by different groups in society. For one group a strategy is of the utmost importance and urgency, for another the same strategy is insignificant, does not exist, or is completely misconceived on the basis of available facts.

Disclaimer: This Encyclopedia necessarily includes some strategies which appear "negative," and may indeed be treated separately as problems (both by those using opposing or incompatible strategies and in the problems database of the Encyclopedia). Some strategies (including slave and drug trading), which are generally rejected by the international community today, have been actively and openly pursued by some countries in the not too distant past. Other "negative" strategies (including "political assassination" and "destabilization of foreign countries") continue to be actively pursued by some countries, if only as covert operations considered essential to their national security. "Abortion" is an example of a highly controversial strategy employed by some that is also treated and perceived as a problem by others. "Thieving", and even "blinding children" (to improve their income as beggars), may be amongst the few strategies open to the impoverished. On the other hand, many seemingly "positive" strategies (such as "the Green Revolution") may be criticized for their "negative" consequences by significant constituencies. This collection of strategies should NOT therefore be considered as a simple list of "positive" strategies recommended by the organizations providing the information.

At the same time, the majority of the strategies are indeed advocated for their constructive outcomes. Both the demo and list challenge the reader, and any policy-maker, to exercise discrimination in determining under what circumstances a strategy (such as "structural adjustment") may be used and in what way it may be "positive" or "negative" in its consequences. This is often the dilemma faced by leaders. In some demo profiles, explanatory texts are included, where available, to clarify conflicting claims as to the "positive" or "negative" function of each strategy from different perspectives. Many strategies are perceived to have both "positive" and "negative" consequences in constraining or facilitating other strategies (documented as hyperlinks in the CD-Rom version of the Encyclopedia).

The demo and list, however controversial and incomplete, therefore represent a first attempt to depict the "ecosystem" of interrelated initiatives active in society, whether actually or potentially. Inclusion of "strategies" on this list should not be considered to imply that they are advocated by the UIA.

Statistics

Statistics on strategies (and relationships between them), in the light of the methodology of this project, are provided in tables in the commentary and were published in the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. They are also also available on-line.

Media used & multi-media

The information generated by this project on global strategies (and relationships between them and with entities profiled in other projects) has been published initially in the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential; subsequently it has been made available on-line.

Networks of perceived relationships between strategies can be explored with the experimental visualization techniques associated with the on-line version of the strategies database.


From Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential

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