This writer is considering a more comprehensive introduction to this concept; but here he offers some parts of his thinking so far, to share something of his ideas, and to see if some constructive discussion can help define the concept better, and make it more useful. The parts offered are organized into the following sections: Definitions, Propositions—and a Conclusion; An Example Transition; and Concluding Comments.
[Special Note: This 5 page introduction to the PRORI concept is p. 35-39 in The IPCR Journal/Newsletter (Winter 2010-2011 issue), and will be best understood in the context of what is presented in that 48 page issue. A post I made on Jan. 12, 2010—in this Worldpulse journal—provides a brief description of that Winter issue, and includes the Table of Contents. The IPCR Journal/Newsletter (Winter 2010-2011 issue) can be accessed for free at the website of The Interfaith Peacebuilding and Community Revitalization (IPCR) Initiative, at www.ipcri.net ]
A. Definitions, Propositions—and a Conclusion
There are countless numbers of “things people can do in the everyday circumstances of their lives” which will contribute to peacebuilding, community revitalization, and ecological sustainability efforts, in their own communities and regions—and in other parts of the world.
At this point in time people who are not sufficiently informed about critical issues are everywhere, and they are investing their time, energy, and money—voting—all the time.
Community Visioning Initiatives can be described as a series of community meetings designed to facilitate the process of brainstorming ideas, organizing the ideas into goals, prioritizing the goals, and identifying doable steps.
An expansion of the concept of “Community Teaching and Learning Centers” (created by the “Teachers Without Borders” organization) so that such local community points of entry function as information clearinghouses, meeting locations, educational centers for ongoing workshops (on a broad range of topics related to the Community Visioning Process, and building the local knowledge base), practice sites for developing “teacher-leaders”, a location for an ongoing “informal” “Community Journal”, a location for listing employment opportunities—and so that such community centers provide a means of responding quickly (by changing the emphasis of workshop content) to new urgencies as they arise
The job fairs which come at the end of the Community Visioning Initiative process provide opportunities for all key stakeholders in the community (businesses, organizations, institutions, government, etc.) to demonstrate their upgraded awareness—and their interest in the welfare of the community—by offering and facilitating new employment opportunities… and thus helping with a just transition from patterns of investment which in only limited ways represent solutions to prioritized challenges to patterns of investment which in many ways represent solutions to prioritized challenges.
- Thus, the ways we “invest” our time, energy, and money have a direct impact on the “ways of earning a living” that are available.
B. An Example Transition
These propositions will be easier to understand within the context of an example transition from patterns of investment which in only limited ways represent solutions to prioritized challenges to patterns of investment which in many ways represent solutions to prioritized challenges.
In this example, there are statistics brought forward which are not meant to be authoritative. The statistics are drawn from sources which this writer thinks are credible sources—but much more rigorous research and documentation would be necessary for most of these statistics to be called authoritative. The point of bringing the statistics forward is to provide an example of a transition in patterns of investment.
As a part of this example transition, this writer also suggests that readers consider the following two questions:
a) Are there ways of identifying which investments of time, energy, and money give the best returns when the desired return is peace for both the individual and society?
b) What are the best means of creating positive movement in people’s investments of time, energy, and money (i.e. from less solution-oriented activity to more solution-oriented activity)?
This writer’s hypothesis relating to “Peace Returned on Resources Invested” is then as follows:
Hypothesis--Practical and verifiable answers to the two questions above will give life and meaning to the concept “Peace Returned on Resource Invested” (PRORI).
Here is the example of a transition in patterns of investment.
First, consider the following patterns of investment (illustrated by way of statistics…)
1) Worldwide and U.S. Military Expenditures
Worldwide Military Expenditures (2009)-- $1,531 billion
U.S. Military Expenditures (2009)—Over $663 billion
2) Global Entertainment and Media Expenditures (Worldwide)
“PricewaterhouseCoopers' Global Entertainment and Media Outlook: 2010-2014 (Outlook), forecasts that global entertainment and media spending is expected to rise from $1.3 trillion to $1.7 trillion by 2014.”
Worldwide Advertising Expenditures (2009)-- $421 billion
3) Alcohol, Tobacco, Gambling (United States)
United States retail sales of alcoholic beverages (2003)-- $115.9 billion
United States Casino Gambling Revenue (2007)-- $92.27 billion
United States expenditures on tobacco (2005)--$88.8 billion
4) Lottery (United States)
U.S. State Lottery Revenues (2007)
43 states—Total Revenue: $21 billion
5) Maintaining Prison System (United States)
“U.S. has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world.”
“On any given day, 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the United States…. 750,000 men and women work in correctional facilities.”
The annual cost: $60 billion
6) Professional Sports (United States)
National Football League (season ending 2010)—$7.8 billion
Major League Baseball (season ending 2010)—$6.8 billion
National Basketball League (season ending 2010)—$4.0 billion
7) Elections (United States)
Election Campaigns, United States (2000-2010)
2000—$3.1 billion 2002—$2.18 billion 2004—$4.14 billion 2006—$2.85 billion 2008—$5.3 billion 2010—$4.0 billion
Then, contrast those investments with the following….
Total Expenditures represented by the above investments (conservative approximation): $3 trillion. In contrast, here are some potential outcomes from carrying out a combination of Community Visioning Initiatives, “Community Teaching and Learning Centers”, and sister community relationships (as discussed in the context of the paper “The IPCR Initiative: Creating a Multiplier Effect of a Positive Nature”).
(Estimated cost for one comprehensive and time-intensive Community Visioning Initiative: $3 million).
1) An increase in the use of comprehensive Community Visioning Initiatives (with preliminary surveys, “Community Teaching and Learning Centers”, and sister community components) as a way of maximizing citizen participation in solution-oriented activity becomes widely recognized as community education which creates a full range of peacebuilding roles
2) The creation of regional teacher training centers, as a way of meeting an increasing demand for teachers [associated with the “117 Related Fields of Activity”—and along the lines of the Worldwatch letter (see p. 31)]—for all kinds of educational institutions, especially “Community Teaching and Learning Centers”
3) Local “Community Teaching and Learning Centers”, in cooperation with the above mentioned community colleges, universities, Balle (“Business Alliance for Local Living Economies”), permaculture guilds, community supported agriculture projects, etc offering workshops along the lines of the 117 related fields of activity, etc
4) Sister Communities—relationships between communities with the resources to do so, and those with well documented calls for assistance with basic human needs—provide more and more evidence that people from diverse religious, spiritual and moral traditions can work together to channel surplus resources into emergency assistance for communities with basic human needs
5) Decreases in conflicts requiring military intervention result in widespread conversion of military expenditures into channels for emergency humanitarian assistance
C. Concluding comments
As a result of the unprecedented opportunities created by the expansion of the Internet, we have now arrived at a very auspicious moment in time… for at no other time in the course of history has so many people had access to so much in the way of time-tested guidelines, inspiring role models, and service-oriented initiatives.
Even now, as you are reading this, truly inspiring contributions of genuine goodwill are being generated in a variety of ways—and in a variety of circumstances—by countless numbers of people in communities around the world.
There are countless numbers of ‘things people can do in the everyday circumstances of their lives’ which will contribute to peacebuilding, community revitalization, and ecological sustainability efforts, in their own communities and regions—and in other parts of the world.
We have the resources necessary to overcome the challenges of our times.
One way of affirming that we have such resources is to look at the investments of time, energy, and money represented by the statistics in the first part of section B. The money investments alone (just the money investments, not other investments such as time and energy) could be somewhere near $3 trillion.
In contrast, if a local community invested $3 million (a rough estimate used for the purposes of this example) on a comprehensive and time-intensive Community Visioning Initiative, it could be possible for a transition—in patterns of investment—to result in the outcomes listed in the second part of Section B. Wouldn’t such a transition [brought about at least in part by re-directing resources from fields of activity in the first part of Section B to fields of activity in the second part of Section B] be a transition from investments which produced a lower “Peace Returned on Resources Invested” to investments which produced a higher “Peace Returned on Resources Invested”? And wouldn’t such outcomes demonstrate that Community Visioning Initiatives, “Community Teaching and Learning Centers”, and sister community relationships represent one way of creating positive movement in people’s investments of time, energy, and money (i.e. from less solution-oriented activity to more solution-oriented activity)?
And then: what if 1000 communities each invested $3 million on comprehensive and time-intensive Community Visioning Initiatives? (This is the “1000Communities2” proposal).
1000 X $3 million = $3 billion. $3 billion represents .1% of the investments described by the first part of Section B. This writer believes that a significant majority of people surveyed would say they support shifting .1% of the investments described by the first part of Section B to carry out 1000 Community Visioning Initiatives. Why does he believe this? Because it is clear to him—and he believes it would be clear to most other people, if they were asked—that such a shift would be a transition from patterns of investment which in only limited ways represent solutions to high priority challenges to patterns of investment which in many ways represent solutions to high priority challenges.
End of introduction to PRORI concept
With Kind Regards,
Stefan Pasti, Founder and Outreach Coordinator The IPCR Initiative