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Hope Perhaps, Despair Yes

Bharat Wariavwalla

By Richard Falk
Orient Longman, Hyderabad, 1975, 500, 80.00

Edited by Saul H. Mendlovitz
Orient Longman, Hyderabad, 1975, 302, 50.00

By Rajni Kothari
Orient Longman, Hyderabad, 1975, 173, 35.00

VOLUME I NUMBER 2 April - June 1976

It is noble to think of utopia and nobler still to believe that it can be realized. The authors of the above works have chalked out—with conviction and imagination that at times verges on fancy—the future world orders which would permit the realization of four central values: (I) minimization of large-scale collective violence, (2) the maximization of social and economic well being, (3) the realization of fundamental rights and conditions of political justice, and (4) the rehabili­tation and maintenance of environmental quality. The urge to build utopias—relevant utopias as these authors would say—is seated either in despair or optimism. Thomas More's Utopia captured the Renaissance exuberance. For these authors too, despite their seeming pessimism about the present world, science holds out hopes for ordering a just and peaceful world by around the year 2000. Thanks to the revolution in communications, man the world over is more conscious of the problems of the world than he ever was in the preceding ages. Between 1958 and 1966 the number of radios in India quadrupled from 1.5 million to 6.4 million. Thus there are increasing numbers of Indians, Nigerians, Egyptians or Columbians who are aware to some degree of their national problems and to a lesser degree of international problems. It is this growing global consciousness that can perhaps lay the basis of a global order. Besides the problems of poverty, pollution and population increase can only be meaningfully tackled on a global and not national basis. The present order, or disorder that is seemingly stable as I would say, faces as Von Weizacker says, col­lapses by a cataclysmic war. In a world of 130 odd na­tion states in which only two, the United States and the Soviet Union have the power to destroy the world and in which a few enthusiastic nuclear novices like China and France, who would like to possess this awesome power, peace rests on the fragile mechanism of deter­rence. As the distinguished German scientist, Carl Von Weizacker, writing in anguish says ‘with continuing technical progress and the current world-political constellation, it is highly probable that there will be an atomic world war before the end of this century.’ It is symptomatic of a fatuous age that it believes peace can be permanently maintained by a balance of terror. Balances degenerate into imbalances that often lead to war, as history shows. Violence, injustice and inequality are built into the present ...

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