A chance for optimism: Engineering the break away from the downward spiral in trust and social cohesion or keeping the fish from disappearing

Jo Ritzen & Eleonora Nillesen


There is room for optimism. There is a considerable potential to thwart the dystopias of the joint collapse of democracy and the natural environment. We know why public action remains too little too late: too little trust among substantial groups of the population that the collective response to globalization is serving them and too little broadly spread information on the pending collapse of the natural environment. We also know what increases trust: collective action towards more social cohesion, towards less income and wealth inequality, towards better chances for a quality education for all children and a more equal access to health care, funded by taxes on profits and on wealth. The chance for optimism is in the use of that knowledge in public policy. Put knowledge institutes in the position of promoting the knowledge that provides leeway for more trust in society and in Government and for better informing the public that climate change is a threat to all. Trust and information to save the fish from extinction in the 2080’s by taking decisions in the 2020’s.

Keywords: social cohesion, trust, democracy, institutions, values, social media, human rights, populism, political polarization, globalization

JEL Classification: H10, D63, D69, O43, O47, O57, Z13

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