And what a lovely and magical life it is despite the COVID 19 — which I am sure we will battle, even if the path seems long. Meanwhile, we remain connected in this virtual world of friendship, harmony and giving!
We completed another month! And what a month it has been — the two greatest bards celebrated their birthdays — Shakespeare and Tagore. We carried an essay on one and a discussion between two greats of modern Indian literature on the other! Other than that, more essays, stories, musings, translations and poetry took our readers globe-trotting. We are doing our best to seamlessly create a world of ideas in which we can drift effortlessly and find a whole new world where we can all meet to have exchanges beyond borders drawn by the exigencies of history, politics, economics, greed and more.
Writers are doing such a wonderful job of connecting us with similar concerns worldwide. Our experiences with COVID 19 and quarantine actually unite us in a large way as humans. One of our story writers has plucked the heart strings of readers across oceans on distant lands and received many encomiums for it. We all seem to be getting more linked by the pandemic caused by the corona virus, giving all of us time to pause and reflect on the commonality of human sufferings, as shown by the narratives from different parts of the world in the journal.
We continue to be fortunate to find many of our pieces a second home in Countercurrents.org. I am also happy to announce we have been listed again as one of the top places for submissions in an Indian site this time.
We have more happening here with all the action from our dynamic editorial board. Dustin Pickering, the editor-in-chief of Harbinger Asylum, on our editorial board, has suggested a promotion for us in his quarterly this July. So, some of our authors will be republished in hard copy from USA in the summer edition of Harbinger Asylum.
We are also starting a young persons’ section from the end of this month. This will be organised by Bookosmia, a children’s publisher. The founder of this popular children’s publishing concern, Nidhi Mishra, also on our editorial board, will be giving us the best from her blog for youngsters and we will exhibit it in our new section called Sara’s Selection.
We want this to be a family friendly journal and to nurture young talents along with established writers. You can check our submissions if you want to publish in the young person’s section, which will cater to aspiring writers under eighteen. We have an email — firstname.lastname@example.org – which will take you straight to Bookosmia and the submission of the under-eighteen’s section of both BookOsmia and ours. We will be publishing only a few selected pieces from their blog and others could just be featured in Bookosmia, the blog run by the publisher.
We welcome children from all over the world to write in to Sara. The tie has been announced by Bookosmia in The Hindu, a well-known and established newspaper in India. I am attaching a link to the news below*.
We are overwhelmed with support from all of you and are looking into the periodicity of the Borderless Journal and will be announcing more changes next month on June 14th.
As we move forward in the spirit of Ubuntu or “oneness to humanity”, towards a world filled with love and kindness, where vibrancy and positivity can wash away darkness and hatred, where the freedom of speech does not descend to narrow abuse and anger, marginalisation and boundaries, I welcome you all to write in to me if you feel we need to expand our horizons further.
As I bid you adieu for another month, I hope you will keep reading our journal and writing for us.
The date Borderless Journal completes its first month, 14th April, coincides with Poila Baisakh, or the first day of the Bengali new year, the Tamil New year, Sinhalese and Nepali New year, the second day of Songkran, the Thai new year (April 13- 15), the start of Bohag Bihu (an Assamese festival commemorating harvest and the new year, April 14 to 20), the second day of the Indian new year, Baisakhi. Let us celebrate along with the journal’s first month birthday this profusion of festivals, which would have been big with celebration for many but shrinks to online greetings because of the pandemic. Hey, did I use the word ‘shrink’? It actually grows bigger because there are so many more of us celebrating the occasion together in a virtual world.
The good news is though the pandemic continues to infect the globe, some areas look hopeful with the curve flattening. The way this virus has unified mankind is unprecedented. Bill Gates has acknowledged this in an interview with CNBC by just mentioning 7 billion doses of the vaccine… thus gathering all mankind into one-fold, beyond all boundaries. It was wonderful to have a world thought leader reach out to the whole humanity, even if for a moment — the thought of all of us being considered as part of an aggregate made for a feeling of inclusion.
Today, borderlessjournal.com completes a month of its existence in our virtual world connecting all of us beyond all borders. Hopefully, it will be a virtual journal for all seven billion people that populate this wonderful green planet we call the Earth. We have travelled with writers to various parts of the world — many still remain unexplored. When some of the contributors ask me, which country does the journal belong to — I tell them — we are where you are. When astronauts watch the Earth from outer space, what do they see? What do clouds see?
The first month of the journal has been promising with many writers sharing their narratives — poetry, essays, short stories and musings. Readers have come back to us with wonderful feedback. I hope you will keep visiting us. Our editorial board has been active sending writers and their own writing too. They are all fabulous writers much like all of you. The resultant effect is Countercurrents.org has offered content sharing — where we exchange content. A number of our essays and musings have been republished in Countercurrents.org. A couple of articles have been quoted, one was in an Urdu journal with credits acknowledged to Borderless. One of our articles was also republished in another online journal with an acknowledgement to us. We also discovered our name in a Canadian listing (Mississauga Writers’s Group) for submissions — a pleasant surprise. We are crossing borders without a passport!
We have had a good start — perhaps you can call it a beginner’s luck, or will it continue?
That depends on all of you! Because this journal is yours, ours and belongs to everyone. I wish, I dream of 7.8 billion humans living in equity with access to food, potable water, housing, education and internet — reading and contributing to Borderless Journal in the spirit of “oneness to humanity” or ubuntu.
We live in a world in extreme crisis. By the estimates of the Global Footprint Network, the human species currently consumes at a rate 1.7 times what Earth’s regenerative systems can sustain. Yet billions of people face a daily struggle for survival that strips them of happiness and fulfillment of their human potential.
A growing concentration of financial wealth puts ever more political power in the hands of fewer and fewer people. According to Oxfam, twenty-six billionaires now hold personal financial assets greater than those of the poorest half of humanity (3.9 billion people).
This rapidly accelerating environmental and social crisis is a direct and predictable consequence of global rules that facilitate a concentration of economic and political power in corporations — rules that provide minimum accountability for the consequences of how they use that power to monopolize markets, evade taxes, and operate in whatever place offers the cheapest labor and least environmental protections.
As Allen White has correctly noted, appeals to corporations to exercise conscientious self-regulation do not work. The reason is simple. Mentally healthy living humans have a conscience. Corporations are constructs of law. They have no conscience beyond whatever responsibilities the law may require of them — backed by strict enforcement.
Corporations that are under the control of individual humans — rather than the financial markets — may act responsibly when those individuals possess a deep concern for the common good. Such corporations, however, are rare — at least among those of any consequential size.
Most large corporations are captives of financial markets that drive the pursuit of short-term financial gain with no concern for the social or environmental consequences. Not only do they fail to serve the common good, but they are also driving us all toward civilizational collapse. Indeed, they are driving us toward human self-extinction.
These conditions create an imperative for urgent structural change. Fortunately, corporations are entirely human creations. Indeed, there is no equivalent in nature. If they do not serve our needs, humans have both the right and the means to change — even eliminate — them.
Allen White notes there was a time in the early United States when corporations were chartered only for a specific length of time to fulfill a designated public purpose, such as to build a bridge or a canal. The former colonies had fought a brutal war to gain their freedom from the abuses of imperial rule, including the state-sanctioned monopoly power of the British East India Company. They were acutely aware of the potentials for abuse of corporate power, and they wanted none of it.
Despite that early public awareness, corporate interests have been able to mount a relentless drive for power that has, over time, reduced US democracy to little more than an aspiration. Indeed, the United States has become a global driver of the processes by which global corporations pursue with impunity the destruction of Earth’s capacity to support life. And ironically, they do so for the primary purpose of growing the fortunes of billionaires.
It is worth remembering that a corporation exists only when a government has issued a charter. There is no legitimate reason for any democratically accountable government to issue a corporate charter other than to serve a public purpose. Similarly, there is no legitimate reason why a corporation chartered by one government jurisdiction has any inherent right thereby to do business in any other jurisdiction unless granted that privilege by the people of that jurisdiction through their government.
That current law contradicts these simple truths is a consequence of corporate interests’ ability to manipulate the legal system.
Current rules governing corporate conduct encourage and reward what should be treated as criminal behavior. Consider the following examples:
1. They allow corporations to reap the rewards of their decisions without bearing the full costs. For example, when they evade paying taxes, they evade paying their fair share of the costs of infrastructure, education, or other essentials of doing business.
2. They allow the corporation to assess value only in terms of financial costs and returns, thus ignoring the need to secure the health of Earth’s regenerative systems on which all life depends.
3. They allow corporations to use their enormous financial resources and centralized decision-making to shape public opinion and pressure politicians to assure that laws favor corporate interests instead of public interests.
Calls for corporate responsibility generally assume that those who work for corporations, especially top management, are free to exercise moral responsibility on behalf of the corporation should they choose to do so. This ignores an important reality. Unless they own the corporation, those who lead a corporation only appear to be in charge. They serve only at the pleasure of financiers who compete for control of any corporation that is not taking full advantage of opportunities to maximize profits – which often means externalizing costs.
Business in service to community
Science is coming to recognize what many indigenous people have long understood: life exists – can only exist – in diverse communities of living beings that self-organize to create and maintain the conditions of their own existence. The concept is captured by the South African term ubuntu, which translates to “I am because we are.”
This basic frame of how life organizes is demonstrated in a very personal way by the human body. For each of us, our body consists of tens of trillions of cells and micro-organisms that self-organize beyond our conscious awareness to create and maintain the vessel of our consciousness and the vehicle of our agency. On a far grander scale, the countless living organisms that comprise Earth’s community of life similarly self-organize to create the conditions on this planet essential to life’s existence.
The purpose of all human institutions—including corporations—must be to serve human well-being and the health of the planet on which we all depend.
Trying to set and enforce rules at a global level to force transnational corporations to serve the people and planet they were created and designed to exploit would be an exercise as futile as a call for voluntary responsibility. Any global institution created to implement such rules will be subject to nearly instant co-option by the very corporations it is created to control.
A better solution is to break up transnational corporations and restructure them in ways that assure community accountability. How this might be done to best serve the well-being of people and Earth is a topic worthy of serious discussion, with implications well beyond the corporation.
With few exceptions, humans have fallen into a pattern of organizing around hierarchical institutions that centralize power. Capitalism vs. socialism is a false choice specifically because both, as currently understood and practiced, centralize rather than distribute power. Thus, they diminish local control and responsibility and suppress essential local adaptation to changing local conditions. Electing the leaders who head those institutions is only a partial corrective.
Our challenge in learning to function as a global society dependent on the health of a living Earth is to learn to organize as life organizes – within holonic structures that self-organize from the bottom up in response to constantly changing local conditions, with the support of higher system levels. It is a frame for which we barely have the language needed for a coherent discussion. Yet it is the way that life has organized since life first emerged. And it is the way we must now learn to organize.
The closest human approximations would probably be the organizational forms common to most indigenous societies. In the business sector of contemporary societies, they might be the varied forms of cooperative organization based on cooperative ownership.
The work of developing creative options would be a fitting challenge for schools of management interested in creating organizational models for the new human civilization we must now create together.