Simon Anholt /
independent policy advisor,
founder of the good country party
What´s wrong with the world?
Simon Anholt: We live in an age of globalization where everything is connected and everything is mixed. At this point in time it looks to me as if globalization has done more for the problems than it has for the solutions. We are facing a gigantic global challenge – whether it is human rights or human trafficking or drug trafficking or slavery or pandemics – all of them have been facilitated by globalization because we are now connected everywhere.
We have reached the stage where individual nations can no longer solve those challenges individually as we are dealing with 21st century globalised problems, but nations still behave the way they did in the 17th century after the treaty of Westfalia. They are competing against each other. As long as countries compete against each other, our problems will continue to get worse. The way to fix the world’s problems is to tell politicians, that there is a new way to run a country. To run it in collaboration and cooperation and much less in competition. Competing less will not weaken the economies, in fact the opposite will happen. The new networks will benefit from collaboration. That´s how we unfuck the world.
That means a worldwide cultural change?
Simon Anholt: Yes. This is why I introduced the idea of “the good country”. Good is not a moral judgment. Good is the opposite of selfish. A good country is a country that doesn’t just worry about its own citizens and about its own problems. It acts on something I call the dual mandate. According to the single mandate the politicians are only responsible for their own people and their slice of the planet – this is the way it has always been, but that has to change.
The dual mandate means that anybody in a position of power has two sets of responsibility: the responsibility for the own people and the responsibility for every single human being on the face of the earth.
So you founded the ‘Good Country Party` – What is it about?
Simon Anholt: The good country party is this: it’s a non political, non party. It can’t be a political party because it’s not based in any country. It’s based in the spaces between countries because it doesn’t represent any individual nation. According to research 10% of the world´s population feel more part of the world than of their own country and that humanity is more important than nations. That’s 700 million people! 700 million people around the world who are global citizens. Who really, really want to to produce some change and don’t want to be alone any longer.
Simon Anholt: We are collecting about 5.000 members every week, so the word is beginning to spread. I did not want to write a manifesto from day one and ask everybody to come along and follow my ideas, because that´s what politicians do. I want to decide together concretely what we are going to do. The basic principle is very simple: the reason for the good country party is to establish the dual mandate. And we just need to think of ways of doing that by using the existing ways of democracy to pursue this. It´s not difficult – we can do that.
What is your vision?
Simon Anholt: My vision is of a world where nationalism becomes as tabu as racism and sexism. Ten years ago it was perfectly possible in a government meeting to hear people being demeaning about foreigners and to hear them being demeaning about women. Now there are many countries where you go to prison, if you say something like that. I would like to see the same thing happening with nationalism. It´s a cultural change that needs to happen. Unless that happens, we will not be able to tackle the global problems we are facing.
About Simon Anholt:
Simon Anholt is founder of the Good Country and publisher of the Good
Country Index. He continues to work as an independent policy advisor with
the Heads of State, Heads of Government and administrations of nations,
cities and regions worldwide to develop and implement strategies for their
enhanced economic, political and cultural engagement with other countries.