A Swedish Billionaire Will Award $5 Million For Reimagining Global Governance

We urgently need fresh new thinking in order to address the scale and gravity of today’s global challenges, which have outgrown the present system’s ability to handle them. 

Yes, you read that right. The Global Challenges Foundation, founded by the Swedish billionaire László Szombatfalvy, has launched an international competition in order to find a better system for world governance. As Szombatfalvy writes in a letter published on the Foundation's website:


The greatest threats we face today transcend national boundaries; they therefore need to be addressed jointly by all countries based on an increased realization of our mutual dependence. [...] Our current international system – including but not limited to the United Nations - was set up in another era following the Second World War. It is no longer fit for purpose to deal with 21st century risks that can affect people anywhere in the world. We urgently need fresh new thinking in order to address the scale and gravity of today’s global challenges, which have outgrown the present system’s ability to handle them. 

The Global Challenges Prize 2017: A New Shape is calling on individuals, groups of individuals, universities, companies or associations from anywhere in the world to submit proposals outlining an alternative world governance model – either by revising the present UN system, or by proposing completely new forms of governance. The new model should be able to effectively address some of the most pressing global problems (like climate change, population growth, extreme poverty) by making it possible for nations to make collectively binding, long-term decisions that take into account the interests of all those affected, including future generations.

After the submission deadline on September 30, 2017, a panel of academic experts and respected global figures will assess each entry according to already specified criteria, which include core values, decision-making capacity, resources and financing, accountability and transparency. A total of US$5 million will be distributed amongst the shortlisted entries and The Foundation is committed to supporting the winning ideas towards implementation.

László Szombatfalvy was born in 1927 in Budapest. At 29 he fled from Hungary arriving to Sweden as a refugee. Starting with nothing and working odd jobs, he gradually developed an interest in the stock market and developed his own model for the valuation and risk analysis of shares. He became a successful investor (with 30% return per year for 46 years) and eventually became interested in applying his risk assessment method to the challenges currently facing humanity. He started The Global Challenges Foundation in 2012 with the aim to “incite deeper understanding of the most pressing global risks to humanity - and to catalyse new ways of tackling them.”

The Foundation’s website also provides a section with interesting resources, such as materials for educators and quizzes, like an Internet Governance Quiz that checks how much you actually know about who runs the web. 

Photo: Tushar Dayal via Flickr and The Global Challenges Foundation

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

(MPH Photos/giphy/yShutterstock/Big Think)
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
Keep reading Show less

In Switzerland, gun ownership is high but mass shootings are low. Why?

In the face of seemingly unstoppable gun violence, Americans could stand to gain by looking to the Swiss.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • According to a recent study, the U.S. had the second highest number of gun-related deaths in 2016 after Brazil.
  • Like the U.S., Switzerland has a high rate of gun ownership. However, it has a considerably lower rate of deaths from gun violence.
  • Though pro-gun advocates point to Switzerland as an example of how gun ownership doesn't have to correlate with mass shootings, Switzerland has very different regulations, practices, and policies related to guns than America.
Keep reading Show less

Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

Videos
  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.