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Key Issues Ethics The Basics The Toronto Appeal

The Toronto Appeal
Issued July 1, 1991

As we approach the dawn of a new millennium, we are sounding a new call for the establishment of a just and decent society for all the Earth's people.

In the past much of humanity suffered because to a large extent the Earth's resources were employed either unwisely or unfairly. In the future all humanity must benefit from a fair and

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rational use of the Earth's scarce resources.

In pursuing this ideal, we earnestly appeal to people of goodwill to support the policy of a `peace dividend'. This policy recommends that substantial portions of the world's colossal military expenditure be diverted into the civilian sector to satisfy vital human needs. This transfer of resources needs to be planned and managed equitably.

The benefits of the peace dividend can be enormous. A stream of funds can flow into fields for human betterment that are now parched by financial constraints and budget deficits.

Among developed nations, the peace dividend's considerable resources can enhance the quality of life for all people by improving services without appreciably increasing taxes or borrowing.

Among developing nations, the peace dividend can raise the living standards of billions of people, by providing much needed capital to make societies more self-sufficient and more integrated with the world economy.

Transcending all nations, there are four major problems in the world today: war and militarism, pervasive poverty, the ecological crisis, and the violation of human rights. As these problems are interlinked, the peace dividend can help fund globally interlinked solutions.

The squandering of resources has culminated in war and conflict, which have turned this century into the most violent in human history. Since 1945 trillions of dollars have been spent on the military in search of security, only to increase world insecurity. Mountains of arms have been produced which have not led to peace but to millions of graves.

We call for strong grassroots support for the peace dividend as a path to general disarmament and as an incentive for settling disputes in accordance with international law. The peace dividend can encourage policymakers to realize that national security can best be achieved as a part of the common security of all nations.

The maldistribution of resources is one of the primary causes for world poverty. It has become so severe that for millions of people, especially children, their short lives are but marches to their graves. Chronic hunger is the worst product of poverty, and poverty is one of the worst forms of human indignity. A secure world cannot be built upon a foundation of human misery.