Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An Image Makeover for Peace

Why Peace is not popular has to do with War.
I think we all know what is wrong with violence; we just can't seem to help ourselves.
I am reminded of this because today, April 30 is seminar titled "from a culture of violence to a culture of peace". Great. There are educational efforts to promote peace (Ahimsa Center and a class at Stanford are two I am involved with). But the fact remains that peace is not mainstream; it remains in the activist category. It is so because we make it abstract. The hard truth about peace is:

1. Lousy Economics: war is good business; peace is not a business - it is an NGO activity at best
2. Results Perception: violence is viewed as the weapon of the strong, peace of the weak, passive or otherwise uncool - any video games about peace out there?
3. Lacks Leadership: war is institutionalised so we know how to participate; peace is recognised as an absence of willingness to war. How to be proactive about peace? What image comes to mind? e.g. Churchill is seen as powerful, Mahatma Gandhi as saint - we can't all be saintly; it is easier to get fat and stick a cigar in your mouth.

I hope Social media will accelerate fixing the perception issue (item 2) - we can make it cool to have a culture of peace - just by hanging out together in cyberspace and sharing the sorts of content generated by events mentioned here. Re, Item 3 - I hope social entrepreneurs can begin to tackle. As for item 1 - any ideas?



Increased global and bilateral trade can certainly in help in making wars lousy economics. High bilateral trade among firms based in countries at conflict holds promise, but perhaps the highest promise is from people to people trade and connection across countries. If war impacts trade and individual well being directly, countries may be less willing to rake up issues leading to potential conflict.

Neerja Raman said...

Good point. Maybe there can be an image makeover for companies in this space by documenting which companies are doing this well Large companies going globalhas not helped the peace case.