Taming globalization

A textual genesis of the concept, and some possible answers to questions

Part A


Taming globalization

by Bart Viaene

no ©

Original idea

Chewed upon on and off, since 1972

(since I became aware of being a thinking being)

First concept

In the plane from Brussels to Heraklion,  Summer 2005

(a mind map, scribbled on five Post-It notes)


Somewhere on Corfu,  Summer 2006

Cookie recently called me a show-off. Cookie is my sister-in-law, and she's a person to be taken seriously under all circumstances, even if she wraps her verbal assaults in irony. Moreover, she is usually dead right, so there is no escape: I am a show-off. So be it. All I can do is try and make the best of it. Prove her right of course, because the opposite would be unthinkable. But maybe get something out of this new status of being a show-off in return, something which she could graciously grant me, having proven her point.

But what?

Let's analyse this categorisation of people in a scientific way. What exactly do show-offs normally do to deserve such epithet? They show off, off course. That means there must be some instance that can be shown off. Ah, right. So to prove my sister-in-law correct, I'd better start producing some show-offable qualities. In quantity. Failing to do so might provoke disapproval, which is to be avoided at all cost.

Now let's take stock. I have a supportive family, I was able to marry the girl I love, together producing three smart, healthy and good-looking kids and renovating a stylish mansion. I drive some flashy vehicles and bikes, I own a small ranch away from the crowd, I acquired a medical education that opens doors worldwide, I taught myself extensive IT skills to diversify my abilities, which brought me professional success in a stable and intellectually challenging job.

I am active in diverse organisations, sometimes even getting some media attention. Financially, I am secure, without provoking jealousy. Many friends, no enemies. I travel widely, at my leisure. I speak five languages. I am tall, healthy and I mastered a large number of sports and skills. I am creative.

I am respected. I am needed. I like to work hard. So which possessions or accomplishments could I add, to forever earn Cookie’s show-off stamp, and get a small bonus out of it?

And then two things dawned on me: up to now I seem to have chased a series of quite ordinary, typically bourgeois dreams which almost every human being is supposed to be reaching for. I'm fifty, and I pretty much got them all. But nothing out of the ordinary.

Now what?

What am I going to do with the rest of my life? Shouldn't I try for something extra-ordinary, for a change? Something that maybe would "return the favour"? Because I can't be blind to the fact that so many others did not yet reach bourgeois Nirvana, and most never do. The Western style of life at least partly comes at the expense of developing countries, even if we are not always consciously aware of any wrongdoings. Time to take a hard look at myself.

Am I satisfied now? Am I living in a state of bliss? Certainly not. Mind you, I am not unhappy. I have felt happy after successfully finishing a difficult task. I have learned that extreme happiness is short-lived, as when scoring a lucky goal. I have experienced more lasting periods of happiness after having helped others. I am pretty competitive. Being second best was never very satisfactory. I have always been proud of my accomplishments, indeed showing them off at many occasions.

The applause was needed as fuel for tackling the next challenge. But before everything else, I have always loved a good story. The stories I tell tend to age well. I am a romantic for good stories.

So what does this all add up to?

I realise that I do not paint a perfect picture. But that's who I am. No regrets. I'm incapable and unwilling to change. I try to like myself above everything else.

I always considered myself as the centre of the world. I know I'm not, but this proved a comfortable working position.

As a kid, I didn’t much like what I saw in the mirror. So I started working on it. Improving myself. Acquiring skills and collecting good memories and stories, to wrap myself in. Until I started to like my wrapping, and could hope that some of it would rub off on me.

I defend my ideas by throwing them into battle. If assertiveness does not bring victory, I'll try some aggressiveness, and if that does not help, I'm not shy of a little manipulation.

All for the good cause, of course. I am impatient at short term, but I never give up on a bright idea. Still, I can be converted to better ideas in a matter of seconds: just throw it at me. If it is any good, I’ll adopt it in a flash.

So how could I put these traits to use in the next part of my life?

That's when I dug up my old list of far-fetched dreams:

1. Ride the Pyrenees Coast to Coast mountainbike raid to the finish

2. Restore the ruined castle of my forebears to its old splendour

3. Convince politicians to support my most daring proposals

4. Get rid of pesky thistles and horseflies at my ranch

5. Write a book that out-sells the Bible

6. Start a globe-spanning movement

7. Change the world for the better

You may notice a gradient of impossibility in this list. But I have always known that nothing is impossible. In fact, I already made some progress with the easier ones on my list.

I will need your help with the others, though.

Here is how we are going to do it:

How we are going to tame globalism, in a nutshell

At the Côte Sauvage, and at le moulin Roux, Aveyron, France, summer 2007

“Comment apprivoiser le globalisme”, dirait le petit prince

In this first chapter, I am going to try and explain the essence of my idea of how you and I are going to change the world for the better. It is a very simple idea. So simple, that I hope it will be powerful enough to convince all of mankind to participate, and that it will conquer the entire earth (and beyond). In one page:

Where do you turn to first, if you are in need of help? Who is going to support you first when things go wrong? In order of importance:

1.You yourself (if you still can)


2.Your family

3.Friends, neighbours and relatives

4.Local assistance groups

5.Governmental authorities

6.Non-governmental organizations


7.When nobody else can help: God

Note that the most effective help resources are those nearest to you!

This scheme works well when the only person in need of help is you yourself… but what with war, poverty, disease, draughts, floods, famines, epidemics, earthquakes and other natural or man-made disasters, which typically also strike all those nearest to you?

In those cases, chances are that the first five on your list are so busy helping and saving themselves, that they have no time or means help you. Number six might arrive very late, when enough media cover the disaster and enough funding has been raised, and number seven is not so dependable either, at short notice (saving miracles).

In fact, war, poverty, disease and other major disasters tend to strike entire populations at once, like a tsunami rippling through the ocean. All nearby help resources are likely to be affected, overwhelmed and exhausted, just as severely as you yourself, all struggling to keep alive.

The only resources that are unafflicted are those that are far off, beyond the disaster’s shock wave. Normally these are also far beyond your own reach, unless you yourself are a very resourceful person with far-reaching connections.

So how about assembling yourself a “global family”: a network of very diverse people, young and old, rich and poor, located all around the globe, keeping an eye out for each other, and hopefully able to mount a rescue & aid mission when one of the global family members falls victim to such an infrastructure-crippling calamity?

This is the main idea: your personal global family!

Now let me add two supportive characters in this play: a method of communication, and an incentive to get the ball rolling.

The first is of course: the Internet! I waited for decades for the Internet to happen, and it is finally there, spanning the earth already, for those who have the resources to access it.

I know it is mostly driven by porn, gaming, sports and chatter, but its infrastructure and services can be put to work on more worthy tasks, too.

The second is therefore: business! I am launching this idea the easy way, packaging it as a benevolent pyramid game, and marketing it as a Tupperware® product: those who scout new subscribers and offer communication, translation, logistics, travel, boarding and know-how services are welcome to make a profit as a reward for their work: as much as the market will bear.

But how are we to finance the core infrastructure for this global family-building process?

Each subscriber simply contributes the worth of approximately one day’s earnings as a maximum fee, with a minimum of €1, in return for a lifelong membership, plus the fee for the scout’s work, if such a scout is needed. Times 7 billion, and growing with the rate of births: that should be more than enough to cover all working costs, and establish some useful projects too.

Intelligent readers may already see most of the ramifications, and will probably be able to second-guess the strategy needed to make it work, so this first chapter is all you need to read.

Highly intelligent readers, however, may want to read the other chapters too, to correct my mistakes and misconceptions, and to offer better alternatives for reaching our goal. Because this book is only the first awakening of the global family concept.

In the next chapters, I will offer my thoughts about how to develop the idea and make it grow, but I fully realize that once this genie is out of its bottle, very little can be done to control it (at least not by me). And I surely hope nobody attempts to put it back inside.

Therefore I do not claim any copyright on this book. You are free to copy and multiply it, translate it, publish it, adapt it, improve, enhance or abbreviate it in any way you like. I sure would like a comic book version! Do send a copy of it to everybody you know. It can be freely copied from the website, so all you need to send is the hyperlink.

I don’t want to put any restrictions on my idea, except for this one:

All fees of new subscribers should be contributed to the bank account of WWW.GOOGLAID.NET

This bank account number must correspond with the number published on WWW.GOOGLAID.NET

Anything else will be considered as a criminal or malicious attempt to divert funds from our common cause, forcing prosecution.

These fees will be put in a trust fund that will be used for the following purposes only:

• Founding, running, maintaining & promoting the World Wide Watch Organization

• Assembling, maintaining and coaching well-balanced global families of subscribers

• Securely publishing the global families’ coordinates to global family members only

• Improving global prevention, support and relief infrastructures (in that order)

A steering committee will control the trust, consisting of a yearly revolving number of members drawn at random from global family members offering the necessary skills, who will elect a president as their spokes(wo)man. The steering committee as well as the organization will strictly abstain from political activities or opinions.

So that is the idea in a nutshell. Basically, I consider my task done at this point.

In the following chapters, I will offer some of my personal ideas as to how things could be organized, but none of that holds gospel value.

I wrote this book in English for two purposes: it is not my mother tongue, so I trust it will be easier to translate, and of course because I hope this will speed its distribution to large parts of the earth where English is currently spoken, at least by part of the population, so it can be rapidly translated.

I apologize for not having mastered any more widely spoken languages.

Let’s wish us all a huge amount of success !

Bart Viaene

Thoughts in the margin

Basically an expansion on my Post-It notes

(I hate explaining things in depth – and I’m not even good at it)

Here’s the mind map I noted down on the plane:

• Set-up

• Arrangements

• Participants

• The idea

• How to get there

• Organization

• Financing

• Collection of memberships

• Recruiters’ fees

• Communication of subscriptions

• The book

• The website

• The steering committee

• Political independency

• The trust

• The headquarters

• Local branches

• Copyright, IP rights

• Administration

• Use of profits

• Global family layout

• New admissions

• Demissioning from global families

• Global family functioning

• Visiting global family members

• Global family obligations to members

• How to launch it

• How to use ballooning

• Techniques to expand

• How to deal with similar attempts (copycats)

• How to deal with local authorities

• How to handle difficult languages

• Policy for cultural conflicts

• Recipe for religious support

• Evangelizing the global family

• Prevention of fraud

• Sponsoring from travel, hotel, tourism, trade, insurance organizations

• Publishing results

• Spawning new ideas

• Which principles to support and advocate?

• Getting support from authorities

• Privacy issues

• Power play issues

• Competitions between global families

• Arbitration & policing

• Rewarding positive examples

• Preventing repeats of negative examples

• Balancing out global families

• Collaboration between global families

• Distributing know-how between global families

• New tools = new weapons

• New chances = new curses

• Protecting our own family’s privacy & safety

• Time schedule

• Necessary skills

• Seeking help

• Securing support

• Tax issues

• Spin-offs

• Internal auditing & supervision

• Ensuring independence

• Change management

• Advertising issues

• Handling criticism

• Ensuring fairness

• Decision making process

• Dealing with opposition

• Providing escape hatches for excessive energy

• Choosing new officials

• Quality of service assurance

• Remuneration of officials

• Partnering with NGOs

• Protecting diversity

• The big principles

• Do’s and don’ts

• Rights and plights

• Will global family members have a vote? How to organize?

• Membership fees

• Method of payment

• Starting/ending membership

• Role of middlemen

• Financing the first years

• Penetration of “white area’s on the map”

• Completing a global family to ensure maximum spread

• Unreachable members

• Record keeping

• Multiple memberships

• Global family hoppers

• Manipulation of a global family by members, factions

• Education issues

• Balancing of global family generations

• Balancing of global family wealth, health, possibilities…

• The ideal global family’s size

• Size variations

• Contacting a global family

• Updating a global family

• Reorganizing & reassembling global families

• Failed global families: how to handle ?

• Keeping the fire burning

• Sleeping global families

• Powerful global families

• Selective global families

• Wealthy global families

• Migration policy

• Visiting policy

• Receiving policy

This is where I ran out of Post-It notes, or where my brainwave ended.

In Part B and Part C, I will give you some of my thoughts about these.