When churchgoers drop a few bucks in the collection plate, they provide for the hungry, homeless and disabled. Charity is a noble tradition in such religions. Why can’t we copy that sense of giving at the global level?
For any nation, the fastest form of support usually comes after a disaster. Many foreign neighbors pledged money and material to the United States after Hurricane Katrina. Their efforts, described in an article by Wikipedia, are a moving statement on the value of helping those in need. The list below is only a small part of this wellspring of kindness:
- Afghanistan: $100,000
- Albania: $300,000
- Austria: IT/communications support, pumps, camp beds
- Belgium: medical teams, civil engineers, divers, pumps and lamps
- Cambodia: $40,000
- Finland: $100,000 plus supplies and a cruise ship used as a medical platform; Finnish Nokia provided cellular phones
- India: $5 million plus 25 tons of supplies
- Israel: Doctors, psychologists, search-and-rescue divers, and 80 tons of supplies
- People’s Republic of China: $5 million with 104 tons of supplies
- Taiwan: $3 million with supplies
This is the kind of assistance you can expect in a world of rapid mobilization and mass media. It’s what we do. We “pass the plate” for hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes. We hold drives at work, go to fundraisers, and donate online. With such earnest giving, we can help a ravaged land escape from mass trauma, economic ruin and despair.
Could this support system help more than just natural disasters? Imagine a world where regular donations from citizens lead to monetary and material superfunds, the kind that can augment cancer research or elementary education. Imagine active contributions from people around the world in the name of humanitarian improvement. A global coalition could manage and implement each charity superfund, rapidly increasing our chance to solve major problems. A global collection plate could lead to benefits across the board:
- A mega-dam over a major waterway that could channel hydroelectric power to millions
- A global intelligence network that can pinpoint terrorist acts and provide rapid response
- Immediate vaccinations for epidemics in any country with programs for disease prevention
- Orbital relays to enhance global communications, with emphasis on regions with poor coverage
- Active monitoring of human rights violations, including trafficking and abuse
Such initiatives must be done through international networking—any interface with a national budget or policy could impede the drive—and the wireless age will have no problem keeping up with the motions.
Perhaps the dreamer slumbers far from reality. But why not push the dream? In this new century, we are hardly restrained by borders. Our planet is covered by a moving web of communications, trade, diplomacy, transportation and knowledge. No part survives alone. This is the foundation of a real global coalition. And one day, its leaders and people will need more than random acts of goodwill to survive.