Millennium Goals, Fair Trade, and Equal Dignity

HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated). We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice." We would like to add that we believe that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential not only for public policy, but for raising awareness in general.

We look for interested people, who would like to develop this page. Please see our Call for Creativity.

More than six million children under the age of five died in 2013 (WHO), the majority from preventable diseases and malnutrition. Inequality is on the rise world-wide (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2009, Thomas Pickety, 2014).
The first paragraph of Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, reads: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." Some conclude that it suffices to regard inequality as an expression of diversity, as an expression of the freedom that every individual possesses to choose their own path, in short, that regarding those at the bottom as human beings with equal dignity, whose lot is the result of their free choice, will solve the problem.
Indeed, when we speak here of equal dignity for all, the point is not the absence or presence of sameness or that everybody should become identical and uniform, the point is the absence or presence of the ranking of human worthiness. The problem arises when some people are regarded as inherently higher beings and others as inherently lesser beings. What is obscene, in a world that believes in the human rights ideals of equal dignity, is such ranking, not difference and diversity. Robert Fuller calls the abuse of the ideal of equal dignity rankism. Diversity and difference can, without a problem, go together with sameness of value and worthiness; there is no automatism that links diversity and difference to rankings. More even, sameness of worthiness is the only constructive context, within which difference can serve as diversity that enriches everybody. Being equally different is the path to dignity.
Yet, the previous sentences also expose that we cannot disengage from the problem of inequality that easily. What does it mean to "treat the poor as human beings with equal dignity"? Does it not mean to provide them with equal chances? Indeed, as soon as human rights are defined in this way, when "equal chances and enabling environments for all" are on the table, Lévinasian "caring for the other" is also on the table. Yet, again, it is not sameness that is called for, but enabling environments for all.

The tasks to be brought about by the world community in the coming years

The following text is adapted from Humiliation - A New Basis for Understanding, Preventing, and Defusing Conflict and Violence in the World and Our Lives by Lindner, 2003:

Page 267: What are the challenges for the global village, apart from containing tyrants and terror?

The United Nations Millennium Declaration of September 2000 calls to
•  eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
•  improve maternal health
•  achieve universal primary education
•  combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
•  promote gender equality and empower women
•  ensure environmental sustainability
•  reduce child mortality
•  develop a global partnership for development

Furthermore, fair global trade is being called for by many voices, academic as well as political. Fair Trade can improve lives through fair wages, long-term partnerships, environmental stewardship, democratic decision-making, and cultural connections. Sergio Cobo is quoted as saying, "People who live in rich countries count for only 20 per cent of the world's population, yet they get most of the fruits from globalisation. The world's poor, who count for 80 per cent, receive nothing. Is this really the type of globalisation we want? Let's globalise the struggle; let's globalise hope. We want to make trade work for all."

Fairtrade Foundation, Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, Oxfam's fair trade site, these are just a few links. Philippe Legrain (2002), in his book Open World: The Truth About Globalisation (Legrain, 2002) delineates the responsibility that has to be shouldered by the World Trade Organization on the way to fairer global trade and Juliette Bennett, 2001, writes on the role of multinationals in conflict zones and how they can promote regional stability.

We live in a World Risk Society (Beck, 2000) that we have to tackle in constructive ways. Fortunately, we also live in an Information Age, where knowledge and creativity may be drawn upon to save us. With this creativity we may manage to build a global village with fair rules (Legrain, 2002) and good and transparent governance.


Equal dignity, not sameness

Page 34: I prefer to speak about the vertical ranking of human worth and value, and less about inequality, hierarchy, or stratification. This is because the significant point for my discussion is not the absence or presence of hierarchy, inequality or stratification, but whether human worthiness is ranked or not. Hierarchy, inequality and stratification can very well coexist with the absence of ranking human beings as unequal. Robert W. Fuller (2003) describes this most vividly in his book Somebodies and Nobodies; according to Fuller, humiliation is not the use of rank, but the abuse of rank. A pilot, for example, in a plane, or the captain of a ship, is the master over his passengers when in the sky or at high sea; clear hierarchy and stark inequality characterize this situation. Yet, nonetheless, the pilot need not look down on his passengers as lesser beings.

In other words, using concepts such as hierarchy, inequality or stratification, would be somewhat misleading here, because they would invite statements and objections such as, "There have always been differences between people! Human beings have never been the same and never will be! Are you a dreamer who believes that we could or should all to be the same? This is not only impossible, but also boring!" Such statements or objections are irrelevant to the discussion of this book and would represent a grave miscomprehension of its focus. The point that is highlighted here is not the absence or presence of sameness or equality, but the absence or presence of the vertical scale of human worth and value. Diversity and difference can, without a problem, go together with sameness of value and worth; there is no automatism that necessarily links diversity and difference to rankings. The vertical scale of human worthiness is conceptually independent of hierarchy, inequality or stratification. (I will come back to this point later and explain that there indeed are some links that, after all, may be conceptualized.)

The important point at this stage is that a system that condones the vertical scale of human value essentializes hierarchy, inequality, and stratification. In such a social framework, a street sweeper not only does a lowly job, the lowliness of the task is essentialized as inner core of his entire being: He or she is a lowly person. Something that could very well be peripheral to this person’s essence, namely the task of sweeping the street, is turned into her core definition: this person is deemed to be of lower human value and worth. This act of essentialization is what we find in many, if not most, traditional societies.
A street sweeper and a bank director could very well be seen as fellow human beings of equal dignity, albeit with different occupations; what differentiates them could very well be pure neutral difference and diversity. However, in traditional societies, this difference is being ranked and essentialized. Neutral difference is turned into lesser and higher. My Fair Lady, the musical, illustrates beautifully how Professor Higgins regards the poor flower girl Elisa as a lower human being, even after she has learned higher manners. Her essence, in his view, is fixed in lowliness through her initial poor status in society. For Professor Higgins nothing can turn Elisa into a human being of equal worthiness as compared to him and his higher cast.


Equal dignity and enabling environments

Page 120: Human rights stipulate that each human being possesses an inner core of dignity that ought not be humiliated. The first sentence in the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." This sentence seems to be straightforward; however, the notion of dignity is ambiguous. It opens up to both interpretations, Kantian and Lévinasian. Or, to be more precise, there is a Lévinasian connection to equality hidden in the notion of equal dignity. The notion of equal dignity is a Lévinasian "Trojan horse" that "sneaks" into the Kantian view. The "Trojan" connection is implicated in the human rights stipulation that equal chances and enabling environments for all are necessary to protect human dignity. As soon as human rights are defined in this way, when "equal chances and enabling environments for all" are on the table, Lévinasian "caring for the other" is also on the table. Again, it is not sameness that is called for, but enabling environments for all.

Please continue reading in the first draft of my book on Making Enemies, page 120.


Some Basic Principles for an Enabling Future

The Earth Charter's principles
1. Respect Earth and life in all its diversity.
a. Recognize that all beings are interdependent and every form of life has value regardless of its worth to human beings.
b. Affirm faith in the inherent dignity of all human beings and in the intellectual, artistic, ethical, and spiritual potential of humanity.
2. Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love.
a. Accept that with the right to own, manage, and use natural resources comes the duty to prevent environmental harm and to protect the rights of people.
b. Affirm that with increased freedom, knowledge, and power comes increased responsibility to promote the common good.
3. Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable, and peaceful.
a. Ensure that communities at all levels guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms and provide everyone an opportunity to realize his or her full potential.
b. Promote social and economic justice, enabling all to achieve a secure and meaningful livelihood that is ecologically responsible.
4. Secure Earth's bounty and beauty for present and future generations.
a. Recognize that the freedom of action of each generation is qualified by the needs of future generations.
b. Transmit to future generations values, traditions, and institutions that support the long-term flourishing of Earth's human and ecological communities.
In order to fulfill these four broad commitments, it is necessary to:

"Road Map To Good Governance - The Nine 'I' Model" by Syed Ahsanul Alam
Syed Ahsanul Alam, in his article "Road Map To Good Governance - The Nine 'I' Model" explains that "Democracy cannot flourish in the absence of good governance."
He explains: "The pre-condition for good governance is effective democratic institutions for democratizing the society. Improvement of the living standard of people cannot happen where people cannot participate in governance, human rights are not respected, information does not flow, and civil society and the judiciary are weak. Nine criteria of good governance may be used to determine whether any country qualifies to have good governance are:
"Road Map To Good Governance - The Nine 'I' Model" ( Syed Ahsanul Alam is Associate Professor of marketing at the Univ. of Chittagong, & Chairman - Center for Good Governance.

Eight Principles by David Held
David Held, Graham Wallas Chair in Political Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom, sets out a number of principles which he believes can be universally shared, and can form the basis for the protection and nurturing of each person’s equal significance in the moral realm of humanity. Eight principles are paramount. They are the principles of:
1. equal worth and dignity;
2. active agency;
3. personal responsibility and accountability;
4. consent;
5. collective decision making about public matters through voting procedures;
6. inclusiveness and subsidiarity;
7. avoidance of serious harm; and
8. sustainability.
Held, D. (2004a) Global Covenant: The Social Democratic Alternative to the Washington
Consensus. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Held, D. (2004b) ‘Future Globalizations’, a plenary talk given at the Inaugural Conference of
Globalization Studies Network, The University of Warwick, Coventry, UK, 20 August 2004.
Held, D. (2005) ‘Principles of Cosmopolitan Order’, in G. Brock and H. Brighouse (eds): The
Political Philosophy of Cosmopolitanism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Principles for Global Sustainability
David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and a Councilor on the World Future Council
•  Responsibility to allocate resources so that greed for the few does not eclipse need for the many.  (Survival Principle; Democracy Principle)
•  Responsibility to preserve the planet and its resources for future generations. (Intergenerational Equity Principle)
•  Responsibility to do no irreparable harm to the planet and its inhabitants. (Precautionary Principle)
•  Responsibility to foster diversity of species and ideas. (Anti-Monopoly Principle)
•  Responsibility to make war a last resort, not a first resort of the powerful. (Nonviolence Priority Principle)
•  Responsibility to hold accountable the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity, including genocide. (Nuremberg Principles; International Criminal Court)
•  Responsibility to guarantee basic human rights for all individuals. (Human Rights Principle: Universal Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Torture Convention, etc.)
•  Responsibility to cooperate across national borders to achieve these ends. (State Cooperation Principle: Global problems are incapable of solution by single states, no matter how powerful.)
•  Responsibility to choose hope over despair. (Hope Principle; Perseverance Principle)
•  Responsibility to leave the planet a better place than you found it. (Individual Action Principle; Horace Mann Principle: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”)
•  Responsibility to educate for global sustainability. (Education Principle; Critical Thinking Principle)

In sum, I would encourage you to seek to advance global sustainability by adopting a planetary perspective, doing no harm, engaging in doing good for the planet and its present and future inhabitants, choosing hope, and persisting.  If we accept these responsibilities as individuals and work to implement them in our national and international policies, we can turn Earth Day into a year-around commitment to creating a planet we can be proud to pass on to future generations.

Ten Commandments
Evo Morales appearances at American University and the OAS.
See 10 commandments.

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•  General links
•  Day-to-day links


General Links

Please note that the entire HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers, since its inception in 2003, and this is mainly done by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into this Links section. From July 2012 until 2017, she tagged interesting information on From 2017 onward, you see Evelin's personal list of interesting web links on Twitter:

The System Improvement Process
SIP was developed to solve any difficult large-scale social problem. This includes the "excessive humiliation problem." Systems Engineer Jack Harich invites all researchers to study SIP (in a personal message, 15th January 2013).

Creating an Inclusive Society: Practical Strategies to Promote Social Integration
Summary of E-dialogue, 23 May – 20 June 2007, organized by the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), in collaboration with UNESCO and UN-HABITAT.
Please

Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace
Under the name of the People's Initiative for Departments of Peace, the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace was launched at the first People's Summit for Departments of Peace, held in London October 18-19, 2005, with the intention of supporting national-level campaigns to establish departments of peace in governments throughout the world. The following articles provide background information on the Global Alliance for Ministries and Departments of Peace.

Share The World's Resources (STWR)
STWR (Share The World's Resources) is a non-politically affiliated network campaigning for justice and peace through the fair and equitable distribution of world resources. We believe the current world economic system perpetuates global poverty, denies basic human rights to many millions and damages all nations. Read more about us here.
Through this web site we seek to provide a nucleus for news, information, discussion and collaboration. We present news and commentary, a large collection of articles, including many from prominent figures, surveys and opinion polls, together with a large selection of links and calendar events.
We value your thoughts, opinions and idea's, and encourage you to share them through our many forums. You are also encouraged to use the interactive features of this web site to further participate, by taking part in our surveys, adding book reviews, events, links, and comments. Please see here The Tsunami and the Brandt Report, by Mohammed Mesbahi and Angela Paine, 2006, and World Health and International Economic Sharing, by Mohammed Mesbahi, 2009.

The Brandt Equation
Willy Brandt's panel of international leaders represented a breadth of expert viewpoints crossing every spectrum – geographic and economic, political and ideological. They produced the first agreement ever by influential statesmen and leaders from developed and developing nations on restructuring the world economy.
In the best-selling books on international development in history, the Brandt Commission set out a comprehensive strategy for food, aid, environment, trade, finance, and monetary reform – as well as global negotiations to implement those objectives.

Comparative Research on Poverty (CROP)
CROP is an international NGO initiated in 1992 by the International Social Science Council. It is now one of the major programmes of the Council.

Day-to-Day Links

Please note that the entire HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers, since its inception in 2003, and this is mainly done by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into this Links section. From July 2012 until 2017, she tagged interesting information on From 2017 onward, you see Evelin's personal list of interesting web links on Twitter:

New UN Chief Guterres Plans to Focus on Human Dignity
NEW YORK (IDN-INS) - On December 12, 2016, António Guterres will be sworn in as the next United Nations Secretary-General. In his vision for the post, Guterres - a former Prime Minister of Portugal and UN High Commissioner for Refugees - has said that the world body is uniquely placed to connect the dots to overcome global challenges and further strengthen the nexus between peace and security, sustainable development and human rights policies. [IDN-INPS – 11 December 2016]

Billions 'Wasted' by Aid System
Billions of dollars will be wasted unless there is a radical overhaul of the system of giving aid, a report from a leading aid agency warns. Care International says too much money is being spent on short-term fixes during emergencies, rather than on longer-term prevention work. The number of people living "on the edge of emergency" has nearly doubled to 220 million in two years, Care says. The report comes ahead of a high-level UN meeting on poverty goals next week. Halving poverty and hunger around the world by 2015 are key objectives of the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDG)...
Please read more at, and download the report from

World Trade Talks End in Collapse
Marathon talks in Geneva aimed at liberalising global trade have collapsed, the head of the World Trade Organisation has said. Pascal Lamy confirmed the failure, which officials have blamed on China, India and the US failing to agree on import rules. EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said the result was "heartbreaking". The talks were launched in 2001 in Doha and were seen as providing a cornerstone for future global trade. The main stumbling block was farm import rules, which allow countries to protect poor farmers by imposing a tariff on certain goods in the event of a drop in prices or a surge in imports. India, China and the US could not agree on the tariff threshold for such an event...
Please

'$100 laptop' to Sell to Public
By Jonathan Fildes
Science and technology reporter, BBC News
Computer enthusiasts in the developed world will soon be able to get their hands on the so-called "$100 laptop".
The organisation behind the project has launched the "give one, get one" scheme that will allow US residents to purchase two laptops for $399 (£198).
Please read the entire article at and on

Richest 2% Own 'Half the Wealth'
By Andrew Walker
Economics correspondent, BBC World Service
The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of all household wealth, according to a new study by a United Nations research institute. The report, from the World Institute for Development Economics Research at the UN University, says that the poorer half of the world's population own barely 1% of global wealth. There have of course been many studies of worldwide inequality. But what is new about this report, the authors say, is its coverage.
It deals with all countries in the world - either actual data or estimates based on statistical analysis - and it deals with wealth, where most previous research has looked at income.
What they mean by wealth in this study is what people own, less what they owe - their debts. The assets include land, buildings, animals and financial assets.
Please read the entire article at

World 'Failing on Hunger Pledges'
Little progress has been made in tackling world hunger despite pledges by leaders to halve the number who are underfed, the UN's food agency says.
Some 820m people in the developing world were hungry in 2001-2003, only 3m fewer than 1990-1992, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said.
Although the overall proportion of hungry people in the world has fallen, that is only down to population growth.
FAO head Jacques Diouf said the "sad reality" was that little had been done.
Please read the entire article at