Peaceland. A Sustainable World is Possible
Sunny Choi. Peaceland. A Sustainable World is Possible. 2008. New Century Publishing, Bangkok, Thailand.
Peaceland is a treatise proposing a bright, new future for the world. It offers a utopian vision for future generations in which people joyfully participate in every aspect of society. Every person’s contribution and place is valued, social responsibility is given the highest priority and positive peace is at the core of everyone’s existence. It is part poem, part guidebook to the future, part framework for peace building. Most significantly it supports several of the key points in the Letter of Peace addressed to the UN.
The book opens in 2012, when the world is crumbling. Natural disasters, environmental destruction, violent conflict and the structures of society that encourage selfish accumulation of wealth have brought mankind and the earth to a critical tipping point. The planet is collapsing. There are mass migrations of populations fleeing the effects of global warming. Greed has brought humanity to the brink of self-destruction.
Humans decide to change the world when they realize that greed is the sole cause of wars, envy, destruction and conflict. They recognize that the only way to a positive future is through peaceful coexistence. This awareness of the fundamental fraternity of existence is what is spoken of in point V of the Letter of Peace. The sense of interconnection between all people and social structures demands that we all think about our impacts on other people around us and on our environment.
Peaceland proposes that radical new social structures are necessary for this change to be effective. The book suggests a social capital model where everyone is equally responsible for their community and industry cares for society and the environment. A basic living wage is paid to every citizen and the people own the means of production. Citizens have free access to quality education, healthcare, transport and public services such as cheap, nutritious food. People are freed from the obligations of unfulfilling, undervalued work and given the freedom to contribute to society using their talents
Social mindedness is valued. To think about others and work and act with them in mind is considered the ultimate virtue. In Peaceland there are no public cars. Everyone travels by bicycle, public transport or walking. All technology and intellectual property is owned by society. There is no competition for resources or to accumulate wealth to buy better things than others because everyone has equal access to a satisfying existence. Material wealth is not the goal. Point VI of the Letter of Peace talks of a similar rejection of old social structures. It also proposes a construction of new structures based on human geographic units.
The final point of the Letter of Peace addressed to UN is synonymous with the message in Peaceland about our responsibility to future generations. Both texts speak of our duty as citizens of the world to ensure that the future will be more peaceful, harmonious and caring place. Peaceland may be a work of fiction but the ideas on which it is based: social capital, social wellbeing, social values and social participation and responsibility are achievable.