At the turn of the millennium the United Nations came together to set targets to drastically reduce and eliminate the various manifestations of extreme poverty within humankind. Fifteen years was the deadline set and so this year’s end is a time of reflection. Many of the goals set have been achieved in various places while in others work remains to be done.
The goals set by the United Nations back in 2000 were:
1. To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
2. To achieve universal primary education
3. To promote gender equality
4. To reduce child mortality
5. To improve maternal health
6. To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
7. To ensure environmental sustainability
8. To develop a global partnership for development
The Question: To what end?
The purpose of this article is to publicly contemplate a question; to what end do we seek wealth and a better life for ourselves and for others around us. These eight broad goals represent a minimum starting point for each global citizen. However this is only the beginning of a long journey through life for individuals and civilizations.
To put it cynically, if we had the political will to raise the remaining one billion people out of extreme poverty in an environmentally sustainable manner; to what end would it all have been? These are the realms where morality and philosophy have their say and due to the fact that education has been invested in me and, through wealth, I have had the freedom of time to think I will posit an answer to my own question.
My Answer: To preserve humanity
The purpose of life is to live happily in accord with one’s conscience and the social contract agreed between the individual and the collective. Once life has been assured, balance with the environment is maintained through the production and maintenance of social systems. It is clear to me that as one right is recognized and guaranteed others become apparent. Yesterday I may have only seen my right to food but now today after being fed I more clearly see my right to feed others. And to have that right to feed others I must have the right to the means of production to enable that right. If I or any other person has not the right to feed others then his own right to be fed is void. And so I see that the purpose of Sustainable Development Goals is to preserve our humanity and the virtuous circle of life.
CEAC Sustainable Development Goals
I will now posit my own development goals which I believe should go beyond the basics of survival and rationalize every person’s reason for existence.
- The promotion of a balanced diet and exercise among all people
- The promotion of saving and investing at the individual level
- The promotion of idea creation and deployment among young people
- The promotion of harmony within the family
- The promotion of the need for infrastructure which maintains the health and wellbeing of civilizations
- The promotion of the rules of law and the rights and social contract of each person
- The promotion of trade as a tool of poverty eradication
- The promotion of partnerships among organizations of all types for unity, stability and holistic development
Sustainable development requires that we acknowledge and promote the systems necessary to get us to a common beginning and progress as new scenarios present themselves. We cannot build a static future which is a point to arrive at. We must acknowledge that once a goal has been set and reached then new goals will need to be set. To this end we progress infinitely.