In September, The UN Launches A Major Sustainable Development Agenda For The Entire Planet

United Nations General Assembly.The UN plans to launch a brand new plan for managing the entire globe at the Sustainable Development Summit that it will be hosting from September 25th to September 27th.  Some of the biggest names on the planet, including Pope Francis, will be speaking at this summit.  This new sustainable agenda focuses on climate change of course, but it also specifically addresses topics such as economics, agriculture, education and gender equality.  For those wishing to expand the scope of “global governance”, sustainable development is the perfect umbrella because just about all human activity affects the environment in some way.  The phrase “for the good of the planet” can be used as an excuse to micromanage virtually every aspect of our lives.  So for those that are concerned about the growing power of the United Nations, this summit in September is something to keep an eye on.  Never before have I seen such an effort to promote a UN summit on the environment, and this new sustainable development agenda is literally a framework for managing the entire globe.

If you are not familiar with this new sustainable development agenda, the following is what the official United Nations website says about it…

The United Nations is now in the process of defining Sustainable Development Goals as part a new sustainable development agenda that must finish the job and leave no one behind. This agenda, to be launched at the Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, is currently being discussed at the UN General Assembly, where Member States and civil society are making contributions to the agenda.

The process of arriving at the post 2015 development agenda is Member State-led with broad participation from Major Groups and other civil society stakeholders. There have been numerous inputs to the agenda, notably a set of Sustainable Development Goals proposed by an open working group of the General Assembly, the report of an intergovernmental committee of experts on sustainable development financing, General Assembly dialogues on technology facilitation and many others.

Posted below are the 17 sustainable development goals that are being proposed so far.  Some of them seem quite reasonable.  After all, who wouldn’t want to “end poverty”.  But as you go down this list, you soon come to realize that just about everything is involved in some way.  In other words, this truly is a template for radically expanded “global governance”.  Once again, this was taken directly from the official UN website

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

3. Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages

4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all

9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation

10. Reduce inequality within and among countries

11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts (taking note of agreements made by the UNFCCC forum)

14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss

16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

As you can see, this list goes far beyond “saving the environment” or “fighting climate change”.

It truly covers just about every realm of human activity.

Another thing that makes this new sustainable development agenda different is the unprecedented support that it is getting from the Vatican and from Pope Francis himself.

In fact, Pope Francis is actually going to travel to the UN and give an address to kick off the Sustainable Development Summit on September 25th

His Holiness Pope Francis will visit the UN on 25 September 2015, and give an address to the UN General Assembly immediately ahead of the official opening of the UN Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda.

This Pope has been very open about his belief that climate change is one of the greatest dangers currently facing our world.  Just a couple of weeks ago, he actually brought UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the Vatican to speak about climate change and sustainable development.  Here is a summary of what happened…

On 28 April, the Secretary-General met with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican and later addressed senior religious leaders, along with the Presidents of Italy and Ecuador, Nobel laureates and leading scientists on climate change and sustainable development.

Amidst an unusually heavy rainstorm in Rome, participants at the historic meeting gathered within the ancient Vatican compound to discuss what the Secretary-General has called the “defining challenge of our time.”

The mere fact that a meeting took place between the religious and scientific communities on climate change was itself newsworthy. That it took place at the Vatican, was hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and featured the Secretary-General as the keynote speaker was all the more striking.

In addition, Pope Francis is scheduled to release a major encyclical this summer which will be primarily focused on the environment and climate change.  The following comes from the New York Times

The much-anticipated environmental encyclical that Pope Francis plans to issue this summer is already being translated into the world’s major languages from the Latin final draft, so there’s no more tweaking to be done, several people close to the process have told me in recent weeks.

I think that we can get a good idea of the kind of language that we will see in this encyclical from another Vatican document which was recently released.  It is entitled “Climate Change and The Common Good”, and it was produced by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.  The following is a brief excerpt

Unsustainable consumption coupled with a record human population and the uses of inappropriate technologies are causally linked with the destruction of the world’s sustainability and resilience. Widening inequalities of wealth and income, the world-wide disruption of the physical climate system and the loss of millions of species that sustain life are the grossest manifestations of unsustainability. The continued extraction of coal, oil and gas following the “business-as-usual mode” will soon create grave existential risks for the poorest three billion, and for generations yet unborn. Climate change resulting largely from unsustainable consumption by about 15% of the world’s population has become a dominant moral and ethical issue for society. There is still time to mitigate unmanageable climate changes and repair ecosystem damages, provided we reorient our attitude toward nature and, thereby, toward ourselves. Climate change is a global problem whose solution will depend on our stepping beyond national affiliations and coming together for the common good. Such transformational changes in attitudes would help foster the necessary institutional reforms and technological innovations for providing the energy sources that have negligible effect on global climate, atmospheric pollution and eco-systems, thus protecting generations yet to be born. Religious institutions can and should take the lead in bringing about that change in attitude towards Creation.

The Catholic Church, working with the leadership of other religions, can now take a decisive role by mobilizing public opinion and public funds to meet the energy needs of the poorest 3 billion people, thus allowing them to prepare for the challenges of unavoidable climate and eco-system changes. Such a bold and humanitarian action by the world’s religions acting in unison is certain to catalyze a public debate over how we can integrate societal choices, as prioritized under UN’s sustainable development goals, into sustainable economic development pathways for the 21st century, with projected population of 10 billion or more.

Under this Pope, the Vatican has become much more political than it was before, and sustainable development has become the Vatican’s number one political issue.

And did you notice the language about “the world’s religions acting in unison”?  Clearly, the Vatican believes that it has the power to mobilize religious leaders all over the planet and have them work together to achieve the “UN’s sustainable development goals”.

I can never remember a time when the United Nations and the largest religious institution on the planet, the Catholic Church, have worked together so closely.

So what will the end result of all this be?

Should we be concerned about this new sustainable development agenda?

Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…

The Pope Is Completely Wrong About Capitalism And Inequality

Pope Francis - Photo by Tania RegoOn Monday, the following message was posted on the Pope’s official Twitter account: “Inequality is the root of social evil.”  This follows on the heels of several other extremely harsh statements that he has made about capitalism over the past year.  The Pope appears to believe that inequality is one of the greatest evils that humanity is facing.  So if we redistributed all money and all property and made sure that everyone had an equal amount, would that wipe out social evil?  Of course not.  Such a notion is absolutely absurd.  Being the Pope, he should know that the evil that we see all around us is not the result of the distribution of wealth.  Rather, it is the result of humanity’s deep rebellion against God.  Yes, the fact that the wealth of the planet is being increasingly funneled to a very small minority at the top of the pyramid is a major problem.  This is something that I have written about repeatedly.  But the answer is not to make sure that everyone has the exact same amount of money and property.  In the end, that would only turn us into North Korea.

In case you missed it, here is the tweet by the Pope that is causing such an uproar…

By itself, that statement could perhaps be “interpreted” a number of different ways.  But this follows other statements by the Pope that make it exceedingly clear what he is talking about.  Here is one example

Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “Thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality.

Yes, the Pope is correct to highlight the plight of the homeless and the needy.  Even in “wealthy America”, we have an epidemic of hunger.  This is something that I wrote about yesterday.

And yes, the Pope is correct to point out society’s obsession with the stock market.  Personally, I have been relentless in criticizing the big Wall Street banks.

But the solution is not to take everything away from everybody and put it into a giant pile and redistribute it equally.

History has shown us what happens when a society adopts an extreme form of socialism or communism.

The incentive to work is destroyed, the incentive to create new ideas and new businesses is destroyed, and living standards for everyone go down.

Please don’t think that I am defending our current system.  What we have in the United States today is not the kind of pure capitalism that our founders intended.  Instead, it is a form of collectivism where nearly all of the economic power is now in the hands of giant collectivist institutions.  That includes public collectivist institutions (the government) and private collectivist institutions (large corporations).  In this type of economic environment, it should not be a surprise that government dependence is at an all-time high, the number of Americans that are self-employed is at an all-time low and millions of small businesses are being regulated out of existence.

Collectivism, socialism and communism are all close cousins.  People are promised that such systems will result in greater “equality”, but it never seems to actually work out that way.  Instead, the small elite that hold all the power usually end up enjoying the vast majority of the benefits.

And without a doubt, as the power of the government and the power of the corporations has increased, inequality has been rising.  Just check out the following chart from a new book by 42-year-old French economist Thomas Piketty entitled “Capital In The Twenty-First Century“…

Thomas Piketty Inequality

As I write this, Pinketty’s book is the number one seller on Amazon.  That is pretty remarkable for an economics treatise.  But Pinketty fails to realize what actually caused U.S. income inequality to start skyrocketing in 1971.  As Brian Domitrovic recently detailed, that was the year when the U.S. completely went off the gold standard and the Federal Reserve started running wild…

The big switch to the foundation of the American financial structure at the advent of this period was the U.S. decision in 1971 to go off the gold standard. Before that time, it was basically clear that outside of wartime (when gold-standard conventions were often suspended), you could basically count on the dollar holding its value against major things like the consumer price level, foreign currencies, and commodities such as gold itself.

After 1971, in contrast, it became basically clear that you could count on no such thing. The CPI might go up 125% in one decade (as it did 1971-1981), the dollar could permanently lose 66% against major currencies (as it did against the yen in this period), and commodities could shoot up ten-to twenty-five fold (as was the case with oil and gold).

Therefore a new day in financial planning also arrived. Suddenly the importance of simply saving money diminished. Money that was saved also had to be hedged. If you simply saved money after 1971, you stood to get killed as the dollar lost value against things it was supposed to be able to procure in the future.

This is where the financial services industry began its long march upward in the share of U.S. economic output it gobbled up. People who had significant money—the rich—threw their money into the products offered by the financial sector, in that the worst thing to happen to a fortune diligently built up over the years would be to see it frittered away on account of currency depreciation.

So much has gone wrong since 1971.  Out national debt has gotten more than 40 times larger, our economic infrastructure has been absolutely gutted and the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by well over 80 percent.

Once again, we need to go back to a system that much more closely resembles what our founders intended.

Did you know that the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was when there was no income tax, no IRS and no Federal Reserve?

We could have such a system again.

But the solutions being proposed by the mainstream media, our politicians and even the Pope involve even more centralization of economic power.

If we follow this path to the end, we will ultimately become like North Korea.

It is hard to describe the crushing poverty that exists in that hellhole of a country.  In North Korea, there is so little electricity that the country appears almost totally dark from space at night.  Just check out this picture taken by NASA…

North Korea At Night

North Korea may have more “equality” than we do, buy in that country “a ballpoint pen is considered a luxury item“.  Here is much more on what life is like for ordinary people inside North Korea from the New York Post

Jobs often come without salaries. Those who do get a paycheck, earn, on average, between $1,000-2,000 a year. Food and clothing are rationed by the government.

Most North Koreans have access to that one TV station and one newspaper, both state-run; they are told that their country is the only functioning and prosperous nation on Earth and that outside rages an apocalypse. Only elites are allowed cellphones, but they can just make calls or text — there is no Internet.

Would you like to live in such a society?

When you take away the incentive to work and the incentive to create, you end up with a much poorer society.  Without outside help, much of North Korea would have already starved to death by now

“The majority of North Koreans believe completely in the regime,” says Barbara Demick, a Seoul-based journalist and author of “Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea.”

“They are barely surviving,” she says. “Only the rich can afford to eat rice. They’re in a chronic state of food shortage.”

The average citizen eats twice a day — a manageable state of affairs for citizens who lived through the great famine of the ’90s, which reduced millions of people to eating tree bark and plucking undigested kernels of corn from animal excrement.

Yes, something needs to be done about the rising level of income inequality in our country.  The middle class is being systematically destroyed and most of our politicians do not seem to care.  Some big steps in that direction would be going back to a much purer form of capitalism, shutting down the Federal Reserve, changing laws to shift power much more in the direction of individuals and small businesses, and ending the practice of shipping millions of our good paying jobs to communist nations such as China.

We also need a massive shift in our culture.  We need to shift away from a culture of greed and selfishness to a culture of love, compassion and generosity.  Those that have been blessed have a responsibility to be a blessing.  That is something that we have largely forgotten.

But trying to use government and taxation to wipe out inequality never works and will only make society poorer.  This is a lesson that Barack Obama, the Democrats, the Republicans, the mainstream media and the Pope all desperately need to learn.

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