2024. Enough World for Everyone

An article by: Alessandro Banfi

The New Year opened under the banner of wars shaking different parts of the Earth. In 2024, 80% of the population will vote: solidarity, cooperation, and economic diplomacy are the means to achieve peace that today seems distant, but meets the desire of the peoples of the world that is big enough for everyone

2024 is the year of wars. Everyone wants peace, but today there seems to be no real opportunities

Julius Caesar was afraid to name that additional day the seventh, which in leap years fell on the sixth day before the March calendar. Yet his prudence did not prevent him from becoming a victim of a conspiracy on the Ides of March. This is why today we still call leap, or bissextile (from Latin’s “bisextus,” meaning “twice the sixth”), a year that has an extra day in the calendar and occurs every 4 years. Therefore, the current leap year 2024 already looks exceptional, and not only because of the abundance of almanacs, horoscopes, and predictions that the media, including digital, are filled with today. But because, unfortunately, this is a year of wars (50 of them have been recorded on Earth recently), with Israel, Palestine, and Ukraine in the foreground. Everyone wants peace, but today it seems that there are no real opportunities for this. The uncertainty of the future, so to speak, is intensified by another circumstance, completely unique in history. As The Economist wrote, “more people will vote in 2024 than in any previous year.” The full list of election events includes 76 countries around the world, in which all voters will have the opportunity to make their choice. Among them are the eight most populous countries in the world: Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, and the USA. Europe will vote as well to elect a new European Parliament, with elections for new parliaments also taking place in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Lithuania, Portugal, and Romania, with new presidents elected in Croatia, Finland, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia. Other elections are also planned in Azerbaijan (presidential), Belarus (parliamentary), Georgia (both), Moldova (presidential), North Macedonia (both). Great Britain is also participating in local elections, but will not renew its parliament and government until early 2025, while Iceland has presidential elections scheduled for June.

However, the real match of this election year is entirely cultural. Because this unprecedented (and modern) explosion of mass participation by global citizens comes at a moment in history, almost 80 years after the end of World War II, when some of the foundations of global coexistence, starting with faith in democracy, seem to have abruptly lost their relevance in the minds and hearts of voters. The “end of history” happened completely differently than Francis Fukuyama himself described it in his studies at the American Enterprise Institute after 1989. Today, in the world at large, democracy is a clouded principle, questioned not only by the “right,” various sovereignties and authoritarianisms, but also by the “woke” impulse of the most developed Western culture, the “left,” the so-called “cancel culture,” which seems to have supplanted the very concept of Voltairean tolerance. Reason, typical of the most advanced cultures, is no longer the cultural pillar of modern democracies.

We could say the same about the concept of multipolarity and multilateralism in international coexistence. Just think about the UN. When it was born in 1945, the spectrum of values that formed the basis of this institution was very clear: The San Francisco Charter was plainly stated. This is what it says, and even today it is an impressive read: “We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained…” Today the UN is mistreated, often ignored, and its ideals are betrayed. It certainly should be reformed, as demanded by the BRICS countries and the leaders of the peoples of the Global South. After Reason, it is Peace among Nations that should return to the world stage in 2024. In this “phased world war,” which Pope Francis was the first to see and condemn.

The third element that marked the history of the West in the years after World War II, namely free trade, which primarily drew its strength from the great plan of a united Europe, today seems almost forgotten. The great liberal in Italian history, Luigi Einaudi, who was the first president of the republic after fascism, liked to say in those years that “the border is dust.” The powerful desire of the democracies and states that defeated Nazi fascism between 1940 and 1945 was precisely to break the old restrictive and reductive mechanism of nationalism and colonialism. Einaudi, as a liberal, preached the abolition of duties and barriers, protectionism, and closure of territories. Economic diplomacy promoted a new brotherhood between nations. In a sense, the construction of Europe, right up to the introduction of the single currency, continued to follow these ideals for many years. But today even they, if you think about migrant policies and the construction of new walls and barriers, seem to be in crisis, if not at a loss.

And yet, even for this year 2024 that has just begun, there is hope. The great French poet Charles Péguy said: “Hope loves what will be. In time and for eternity. So to speak, in the future of eternity. Hope sees what is not yet and what will be. Love what is not yet and what will be. In the future time and eternity.” Péguy wrote these poems during the dark years of his personal history and world events. But they also seem perfect for today.

There is nothing inevitable and fatal in the history of mankind

The people who go to the polls this election year will still have to choose: they can still stand for peace, for better coexistence between peoples, they can ask for a new season of peace and dialogue between the North and South of the world. There is nothing inevitable or fatal in human history. The threats of war, technological and cultural totalitarianism, the creation of walls and barriers should not stop the aspirations of world citizens, who specifically want a better life for themselves, their children, and grandchildren. They want a world with fewer CO2 emissions and less inequality between rich and poor, less inequality between the North and South of the Earth, and more respect for the environment.

Is this hope unrealistic? In fact, there is no shortage of signs of the urgent need for change. The world does not want to put up with a “phased world war.” First of all, the peoples do not want this. Some words spoken by Chinese President Xi Jinping on November 15 in San Francisco during a personal meeting with US President Joe Biden provide a glimpse of a positive outlook. President Xi noted, according to Beijing’s final report, that there are two options: “The first is to strengthen solidarity and cooperation and join forces to solve global problems and promote global security and prosperity; the other is to embrace a zero-sum mentality, provoke rivalries and conflicts, and lead the world toward turmoil and division.” However, Xi Jinping added, “the world is big enough to accommodate both countries, and the success of one country represents an opportunity for the other.”

“The world is big enough” almost seems like a slogan. The Earth belongs to everyone, if only a path of solidarity and cooperation could be found. For us, Italians, this reminds of the old slogan of Garibaldi, coined by General Nino Bixio during the Italian Risorgimento: “There is enough fame for everyone.” We could, paraphrasing Xi Jinping in Garibaldi style and broadening the discussion from the US-China bilateral relationship to a global vision, say that today “there is enough world for everyone.” It is a positive, inclusive, peaceful, democratic, and egalitarian statement. The world is big enough for Palestinians and Israelis, Ukrainians and Russians, African and European migrants, the global North and South. We are “all brothers,” the Pope would say, and we are all brothers. If only peoples were listened to.


Alessandro Banfi