Thomas Friedman, the American columnist says that there are three main challenges facing the world in the year 2010. The typically U S -centric list consists of regulation of banks, China- Google relationship and nuclear ambitions of recalcitrant Iran. The underlying theme in all these issues is ethics.
Banks in the U S and because of them the American financial system got trapped in a crisis on account of absence of ethics among the bankers who did not think twice about misselling their products, the credit rating agencies which readily rated and alchemised the investment options which they themselves scarcely understood, the regulatory agencies which turned a blind eye to the developing miasma, the Fedbank that kept the interest rate at perniciously low levels for too long and the hedonistic American public that was only too eager to grab any loan offer unmindful of repayment requirements.
Google whose much-vaunted motto is "Don't be evil" seems to have realised that Chinese censorship and cyber-espionage borders on evil and therefore not consistent with Google's business philosophy (one cannot so confidently say business practices). Though it remains to be seen who loses more - Google or the Chinese- in this imbroglio, one thing is certain. It is unethical to deny a vast section of humanity the benefits of digital progress by succumbing to the autocratic policy of a paranoid government.
American government considers Iran's nuclear threat as an unethical exercise of an "evil state". But Obama should know better than his predecessor that it is never too late to negotiate any hostile country into a dialogue of reason and fairness. Threats and counter-threats only lead to a more vicious environment.
Though these three are major challenges as of now, power of uncertainty is so colossal that we may be drawn into a more intractable , and as yet little understood, challenge before the year draws to a close.