Boosting and boasting about the ‘world-class’ qualities of an institution, company, product or service are vain attempts to raise the self-perceptions and that of others. Specialization and complexity create countless opportunities for claiming this honour at one level or another. To those who achieve and to those who aspire, congratulations and best wishes.
These past few months have given us the opportunity to lay claim to a more far-reaching application. We faced infection of people, infection of food, and collapse of power. During each of these and during the mass community celebration afterwards, most remarkable was the quality of community solidarity. Aside from minor incidents, we experienced, for the most part, generosity, sacrifice, endurance, creativity and peaceful partying. We made do and got along. This did not come from dynamic and inspirational leadership. It came from the fabric of everyday lives. It came from the strength of communities. This happened not in a place where everyone knows each other, but in a community of millions, composed of every distinct race, language, orientation and culture found on this globe.
Statistical claim to global leadership in diversity is only a starting point. We may be becoming world-class in our acceptance, accommodation and advancement of diversity. Communities of the most contrary views find ways of expression without violence. Popular and leading edge arts entertain and raise consciousness of the threads and boundaries in the surrounding tapestry. Public leadership in justice extends the rights and responsibilities of marriage to any two who would commit to honour the same.
While we may be a small player among the centres of financial capital, our social capital is becoming a world class example of how to prosper in an increasingly complex world. And, it may well be that some of these world class characteristics will produce genuine world class public institutions and commercial ventures.