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Wealthy Nations No Shows at UN Financial Meeting

New York, United States - The United Nations General Assembly met in New York June 24-26 to discuss the world financial and economic crisis and its impact on development, especially on the poorest nations of the world. But the wealthiest nations in the world stayed away in droves, leaving the poorer nations to plead their case largely alone. The Universal Peace Federation certainly supports the United Nations’ call for a new era of fiscal responsibility, but it is equally important for the world body — and all governments — to reflect on the root causes of the world’s financial and economic crisis and to address the underlying ethical issues.

Good governance is a decisive factor in the proper functioning of any just economic system. It must include not only the policies, laws, and regulations governing institutions, but also the way in which individuals manage their own interests, duties, and obligations. For example, a person dominated by selfish desires is incapable of good self-governance, and therefore not likely to be able to practice good governance in other social, political, or economical contexts.

Good governance is not simply related to governments. It also applies to a wide range of social contexts, including business, schools, and civic organizations. In such cases, good governance is associated with qualities such as transparency, accountability, fiscal responsibility, and honesty.

We are all aware of institutions that are not governed according to moral principles. There are many cases in which the profit motive has caused corporations to function immorally, violating the trust and investment of stakeholders. Whether at the corporate level or the political level, corruption is widespread.

The moral foundations of good governance are rooted in human character. Any attempt to create laws, structures, and procedures for good governance that does not also address the need for personal and individual transformation will necessarily fail.

Since self-governance is the primary responsibility of each citizen, it follows that good governance can never be brought about by some external force or power. It is only as we mature and practice the principle of living for the sake of others that good governance will naturally emerge, without coercion or force, increasing trust, cooperation, justice, and economic development.

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