Who do you trust? I trust Johan Galtung.


In June last year I was on my way to Bucharest to the World Futures Studies Federation XXI World Conference & General Assembly. Mainly to get to hear Johan Galtung‘s keynote.

I was quite sick at the time, but went to the airport anyway as I thought I would get better. In the terminal building everything was a struggle. I couldn’t find my way around, got lost, couldn’t make fast decisions, ran out of time and eventually realised that I had forgotten my passport at home. I also realised that I was exhausted and in very bad shape. So I decided to catch the train back to Stockholm and stay in bed instead of going to Romania and Galtung’s talk.

But recently I listened to an interview with Galtung from the conference. He was asked which the most urgent problem is for our planet right now. He mentioned four huge challenges (listen here), but said that he considers the global financial system our most urgent issue now, as it kills so many people every day.

I trust Galtung. He has the scientific credentials; he’s got a PhD in mathematics and one in sociology, has written over 100 books and more than 1000 articles, and is the principal founder of peace and conflict research. The economist and peace researcher Kenneth Boulding said of Galtung that his “output is so large and so varied that it is hard to believe that it comes from a human”.

He’s got the planetary credentials; he founded the Peace Research Institute Oslo in 1959, he received the Right Livelihood Award in 1987, and has been a professor for peace studies at universities all over the planet, including Columbia (New York), Oslo, Berlin, Belgrade, Paris, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Cairo, Sichuan, Ritsumeikan (Japan), Princeton, Hawai’i, Tromsoe, Bern, Alicante (Spain) and dozens of others on all continents. He has mediated in over 100 conflicts between states, nations, religions, civilizations, communities, and persons since 1957.

He’s got the multi-disciplinary credentials;  he has contributed to, among other things, human rights, basic needs, development strategies, a world economy that sustains life, macro-history, theory of civilizations, federalism, globalization, theory of discourse, social pathologies, deep culture, peace and religions, social science methodology, sociology, ecology, future studies.

He’s 83 years old and is still going strong.

So, I trust Galtung.

I believe in Galtung.


“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”

Mahatma Gandhi

I ‘d like to change my behaviours so that my actions are aligned with my beliefs. This is hard as we all know. It’s all about trade-offs. Comfort, practicalities, family, work, sanity etc might suffer if we start to act according to our beliefs in those we trust.

If I would really act in accordance with my beliefs and trust in Johan Galtung I would do something about what he considers the most urgent problem right now; the global financial system.

So how can I go about this without too many life changing trade-offs?

Well, all institutions which maintain the current financial system must basically change or disappear. So the most urgent aims to address are:

  1. The disappearance of banks in its current form
  2. The disappearance of money in its current form
  3. The substitute of the current exchange system

But I’m not in a position to change these or make them disappear. But I can stop giving them my support, i.e. being their client and using them.

(I can actually do more, but don’t feel like it – I have more exciting projects on the go in building new systems than trying to make the old systems fail.)

This is a simple, practical thing I can do and it won’t take much of my time. First I can for example stop being a client of any of the big banks.

The next two steps are harder. To stop using money and to stop using the current exchange system.

But I guess I’ll have to take those steps sooner or later if I’m going to be true to myself.


Who do you trust and believe?

What can you do to align your actions with those beliefs?


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