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FIFA World Cup or 21st Century Social Contract – what is priority?

The consciousness crisis of humanity sits deep, so deep that I sometimes lose hope in our species. The Guardian wrote last week “Ordinarily a football World Cup would be a moment for celebration, a time to savor sport’s power to unite nations and a glorious distraction from the problems of the day.”

Whoever wrote that line, she does not realize that global competitions, which celebrate nation states, constitute an anachronism causing ecological and social destruction. It is the nation state system which we need to overcome in order to survive on this planet. 

Football as a glorious distraction. Shouldn’t we focus more on the problems of the day instead of being numbed by panem et circenses? While mainstream journalism deplores the death of 6500 construction workers and related human rights abuse, which is in itself a tragedy, I read hardly anything about the hilarious insanity to implement a tournament in a desert country where only a fully air-conditioned stadium makes it possible for 22 adult man to run after a leathery ball.

Aren’t there more important things to be done? Why don’t I read a straightforward opinion which blames the FIFA management and all corporations involved for gambling with the future of our children? How much longer will profit and power rule over purpose and responsibility?

The same edition of the Guardian reports on a country which is falling apart, a country in which Margaret Thatcher’s statement “there is no such thing like a society” has become a dreadful reality. Hundred thousands of British children are starving. The nation where the industrial revolution started gives other societies an outlook where they will end up, if they let reckless capitalism destroy a fragile social contract.

The world’s wealthy jetset to Qatar and amuse themselves while a growing number of children in one of the foremost richest nations is deprived of sleep and food. Great Britain shows us that the predictions of Francis Fukuyama about the decline in social capital in the West have come true. Like in a dejavue the ghosts of Oliver Twist return. Have we not learned from the past?

Like the plague brought about an age of enlightenment in 18th century England, when rich but not completely apathetic entrepreneurs filled the void of state welfare by starting initiatives which we now label as philanthropist, COVID could trigger a radical transformation in 21st century Europe and beyond.

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