In 2009, an economic development professor in Nepal contacted Ross Gray and Theresa Ruby, founders of GlobalHouse, for permission to found a chapter of their organization in Nepal and help introduce a new socioeconomic model, called Potentialism. The goal: to lay the groundwork for peace after a civil war that killed more than 15,000 people over a decade.
Despite a five-year ceasefire, Maoist rebels maintained approximately 19,000 heavily armed soldiers in 27 camps around the mountainous nation. Diplomats from the US, Europe, China, India and the United Nations had tried but failed to end the dispute. So some of the Nepalese leaders invited Gray and Ruby, American authors, consultants and philanthropists, to try to broker a peace deal.
“We were a little bit shocked by that and not too optimistic, but we decided that of course we had to go,” recalls Gray, who has worked for decades in international development. “How often do you get invited to mediate a civil war?”
After Gray and Ruby met extensively with both sides in the dispute and continued the dialog for several months, rebel leaders agreed to surrender their arms and hand control of their fighters over to the government.
“We do not claim that we solved all of those problems but we were, I think, an important catalyst,” Gray says. “We became de facto advisors to all of the different political leaders, and we made another trip back to Nepal and spent 30 days meeting with all of the leaders on how Potentialism could help the country in a way that nothing else out there can.”
Throughout history, humanist leaders have dreamed of finding a way to move humanity beyond poverty, prejudice, injustice, hate and war to a new era of equality, enlightenment and empowerment. All past efforts have fallen short, yet they have moved us – incrementally and cumulatively – forward to this moment when a quantum leap is possible.
“For the first time in history, in a single clear image, we can glimpse the dark reality of our past and simultaneously see the bright promise of our future,” Gray and Ruby say in Solving the Future, the introduction to their series of books on Potentialism.
A dynamic new approach to improving the lives of individuals and peoples worldwide, Potentialism is the first new socioeconomic model in almost 200 years. Its prime tenants are already at work, boosting the creativity and productivity of businesses and organizations in the US and giving hope for a better life to long-suffering people in developing nations. It includes two main facets: Social and Economic Potentialism.
Social Potentialism teaches that all human beings have more potential than they can ever achieve, but that people everywhere can discover better and more fulfilling lives by recognizing and understanding the forces inhibiting their growth.
“Until now, no one has really been able to help connect all of those dots in a way that can really help people,” says Ruby, who has served in senior leadership, development and humanitarian positions for more than 23 years. “That’s one of the key things that we do.”
Economic Potentialism combines the creativity, efficiency and productivity of capitalism with the social consciousness of socialism, while rejecting the failings of both. It is a new model that gives all people, rich and poor, male and female, a chance to succeed economically.
“Socialism has failed all over the world. The values of socialism are very good, particularly that it wants to provide for everybody, but the method doesn’t work,” Gray says. “And so Potentialism is taking the best of both market economics and the values of socialism to achieve something that is beneficial to the entire population.”
For more information: http://www.globalhouse.org/