Across the globe we face significant shared challenges, such as securing sustainable development, reducing conflict and redressing the gaps in wealth and health. Living in the west, our perspective is that of growing frustration at the ‘disconnect’ between the person on the street and the institutions – local, national and transnational – whose decisions in addressing such challenges affect our lives, a ‘disconnect’ exacerbated by the global financial crisis. These institutions, whose primary function should be to secure collective action and sustain the common good, have proven themselves untrustworthy and incapable of fulfilling this role and have therefore failed the vast majority of the global population. Such failure has been met, not by outbreaks of anger and a collective call for greater accountability, but with greater cynicism and disillusion. Yet, it does not have to be this way.
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