However, he also revealed the mindset of a consummate politician: "Things need fixing all right, and we can do this by changing our institutions. We'll start with the United Nations and the IMF. We're all world citizens now. We can adopt a one-world currency and a empower a World Bank [not said in so many words; you have to listen between the lines]. Then we can all do what is necessary [sc. "print more money"] to get our way out of the current mess." For all of his smoothness, and seeming capability, that exudes from the talk below, ask yourself as you watch and listen: how does this man's proposed program for the world's current ills differ from that of President Obama's?
(When TED puts it up, you may watch the high-res video of his talk from this link.)
I find it remarkable that there have been two global gatherings of approximately the same size in the last two weeks --- one at Anaheim, and one here at Oxford --- at which the same message has been featured: one from the religious side, and one from the secular. The message from Presiding Bishop Schori in her opening sermon was: "We're all in this together. Ubuntu --- I in you and you in me makes we. The idea that any individual can save himself is the great Western heresy." Echo Gordon Brown, from the secular point of view.
What is the matter with this message, from my humble point of view, is that it is the common theme among all great collectivist leaders. "You can't do this on your own! For the good of all, you must subsume your identity into the greater identity of all." It is a call to leadership from the top down. "Trust us, your leaders. We know what we're doing, and if you simply let us run things, we'll get you to where we all want/need to go."
I can draw no greater a contrast with this top-down message than by showing you the video below, made by a wonderful speaker, Mark Johnson, who followed Gordon Brown and, as the last act for the day, was the perfect antidote to the former's speech. This video, part of Mark Johnson's Playing for Change program, shows how powerful a message truly can be when it comes from the bottom up. Mark explained (the video of his talk at TED is not yet available, but you can watch an introduction of his purpose and methods at the site I just linked) how he heard Roger Ridley's performance of the song that starts the video, and had the brainstorm of taking his recording studio to the street, instead of bringing the performer into the studio. Then he took the music he had recorded and shared it, one by one, with other musicians of all stripes and colors around the world, each one adding his or her (or their, in the case of groups) own heart-felt contribution to what they heard through the headphones. The resulting mix he finally obtained is simply inspiring (the video below has been watched, in its various forms, over 30,000,000 times). It shows the true way of making ubuntu --- "Stand by Me":