believe as far back as the 1960s, I heard a story about an international chemical company that was operating a plant in a third-world country. I am not referring to well documented cases, such as the tragedy in India in 1984, but rather a story that was going around before that time.
It seems there was an accidental chemical leak from the plant that caused much illness and a number of fatalities. In the aftermath of the accident, the corporation that owned the facility and the government of the country faced a problem. They both wanted to continue operating the plant. The government desperately needed the tax revenue for the country and the corporation had already made such a huge investment in the plant it did not want to abandon its operation.
Everyone knew that a safety plan had to be created so that a tragedy like the one that occurred could never happen again. But who would write it? How could it be guaranteed?
The government had no way of writing such a complex technological document. The corporation worried that a book of safe operating guidelines with thousands of pages, would be hard to understand and unmanageable to implement. The lawyers alone would hold it up for decades. It was too long to wait to re-open the plant. What to do?
Great minds prevailed and a simple plan written on one sheet of paper solved everything.
The corporation was permitted to begin operations again immediately. There were no safety regulations. There was no safety plan. There were no books of operating guidelines. The corporation was allowed to operate any way they wanted, just like before.
There was just one rule.
The president, the general manager and the operation supervisors now had to live on the grounds of the plant with their families, including their children. The plant re-opened and no chemical leaks or accidents ever happened again.
Now, back in the `60s there was talk that the same plan could be put in place to solve world problems. In those days the cold war was on. The Americans and the Russians had their hands on the triggers of devastating nuclear weapons that could not only wipe out each country but also destroy the whole world in the process. But people thought, what if the president of the United States and his family had to live in Moscow and the premier of the Soviet Union had to live in Washington with his family? They would both think twice about pushing the button then, wouldn’t they?
The whole idea was laughed off at the time. The logistics were too ornery. How could the president run America from way over there and how could the Russian premier operate the Soviet Union from North America? There would be communication problems. It was technically impossible. And besides all that, they weren’t even talking to each other.
So everybody forgot about the whole idea. But I wonder if anybody has thought about it lately. Today we have the technology, the communications and the ability to operate an administrative home office from anywhere in the world.
Suppose we went to the world’s worst trouble spots and built some big condominiums right in the centre of all the trouble. Let’s face it, all political and religious disputes are about land anyway, so that’s the land we pick to build the condos on.
And then we make this rule. The leaders of all the countries, religious groups and political factions with any interest in the area have to buy a unit and live there with their families. I do not mean ambassadors and hired lackeys. I mean presidents, premiers, CEOs, head honchos, and spiritual leaders.
I can foresee a good deal of concern over which president or leader should buy what unit or how many units. Location would likely be the biggest concern. Some may want to be near sports facilities, some may want a unit with its own pool and others may desire a close proximity to meeting rooms or key communication outlets. The only people able to handle high-pressure negotiations like that and smooth all the ruffled feathers related to the purchase and inevitable resale of these units, to my mind, would be good Canadian Realtors.
Once all these folks have made their purchases, they could all run their respective countries, religious followings and political interest groups right from their condos. I am certain that we would see some immediate changes to these troubled areas. For example, I think there would be a noticeable lack of bombings and attacks in the area.
These folks may start out arguing with each other in the hallways but after a while they might end up having dinner with each other and let their kids play together. They might even come up with a plan for world peace while they’re passing the bread rolls.
Do you think that’s crazy? Oh, okay.
You must think what’s going on in the world right now is sane.
Heino Molls is publisher of REM. Email [email protected]
By: Heino Molls