Man should enter into a contract between the living, the dead and the unborn

The Four Icebergs: The world's greatest challenges
Forfatter: Per Stig Møller
Forlag: Gyldendal (Danmark)
Denmark's former Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller has authored a book on the world's challenges. It is dystopian, but Møller also offers suggestions for solutions.


Cultures come and go. Just as peoples come and go. For a moment they are here, magnificent and dominant – and then drift away. Like the snow that dries or leaves that fly away in the wind. This is how the Roman Empire went. This is how the Egyptians, the Ottomans and the East
rich Hungarian Emperor. This is how Hitler's millennial and British empire went. Mighty Soviet Union also disappeared. And China disappeared – just to rise again some time later. Everything has its time, the dominant point seems to be in the first pages of former Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller's latest book, which deals with the greatest challenges the world faces today. But if everything has its time, should we just leave? A resounding no sounds the answer, for the challenges are now to an extent where not only cultures and peoples are at risk, but where the entire globe and thus humanity are staring into a possible downfall.

European starting point

Møller is based on Europe's stagnant position and changing role in the world community. With this in mind, he then goes into the four "icebergs" that he sees as the greatest challenges the world faces.

The first iceberg is the demographics. Møller is trying to draw a clear connection between population growth and the heyday. If the population grows, yes, then the wealth, creativity and with it the technology, development, the military and the thought business grow. Many people become equal to long, good times. Conversely, a declining population only hurts and creates discouragement and poverty. Seen from a European perspective, the population continues to grow, but the primary growth comes from immigrant people who have more children than the ethnic groups.
to Europeans, Møller points out, thus emphasizing that not all population growth is equal. Because if the immigrant people are not integrated, major conflicts will ensue.

The whole globe and thus humanity is staring into a possible downfall.

Furthermore, Europe's population growth is marginal compared to territories such as North Africa and the Middle East, which is likely to increase immigration pressure on Europe. A similar situation is facing the United States, for although the United States population is also growing in strength, it does not happen with the same force as in the countries of Latin and South America. And since the world no longer offers sparsely populated territories, where especially young people, full of extravagance and perhaps driven by poverty and lack of prospects, can take on, it will be Europe and the United States to accommodate them. This is the kind of prospect that will cause Trump to build walls and to proclaim that now Europe has to fend for itself. This is a rather dyspoptic reading, as Møller largely refrains from making suggestions for solutions.

After reading about the first iceberg, one might be led to believe that Møller was (still) an old junkie with a tendency to xenophobia, but this is put to shame while reading the second iceberg, which is the economy. Here Møller begins by praising immigrants for having largely saved both the economies of Europe and the United States. Møller also has a strong point when he emphasizes that we cannot both demand assimilation of our own immigrants, while we demand that, for example, the regime in Myanmar protect its Muslim minority. So that kind of double bookkeeping doesn't work. But good integration requires a balance in the volume of immigrants, and here we are, then, the country in the economic. For without a good economy and thus just about any prospects, immigration will escalate from especially the African countries. And here Møller is more solution oriented than was the case at the first iceberg. He thus pleads for major cooperation agreements with the EU and the AU (African Union) that European companies must move their production from Asia to Africa and encourage women's involvement, as this will reduce fertility and thus reduce the demographic imbalance between Europe and Europe. Africa.

Ecology and growth

Ecology is the next focal point of the book and is projected into a natural extension of the economic iceberg. Thus, economic growth is required to solve the ecological problems, says the slogan from Møller. And here some will disagree. For is not the eternal demand for growth just part of the ecological problem? Initially yes, says Møller, but this does not change that we must seek growth – albeit in a more sustainable form – in order to mobilize the necessary investments in technology, education and innovation needed to muster a green revolution and thus just roughly dealing with the climate change that everything else seems to be at least partially man-made.

Finally, it applies to democracy. Møller addresses Edmund Burke's 18th-century formulation that man should enter into a contract between the living, the dead and the unborn. So we have to think for several generations to come. Think about having a planet that is also habitable for the great-grandchildren and their children. That is why the backing of democratically elected governments is essential and therefore it is extremely necessary to think long term. And it is precisely with the inclusion of this democratic element that Møller strengthens its analysis. Long-term thinking is precisely to the extent challenged by populist politicians and, not least, by the masses of voters who want to see results here and now, and that still means that they want to see their own life situation improved.
justice and immigration diminished. It is therefore the battle between the populist and the long-term that will determine the outcome of our time to such an extent.

Insightful reading

The four icebergs is a concise book with a lot on heart. It is written in a well-spoken and sometimes poetic, almost sensuous language. It is clearly felt that the politician Per Stig Møller is also a literate. However, the book could have benefited from a slightly tighter editing. For example, the book seems to begin itself two or three times over the first 30 pages, with some fairly consistent sections on the evolution of world history in broad outline. However, this does not change because the work is insightful reading that can be recommended to those of us who have this world and its future in mind.

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