I have lost all sense of home, having moved about so much.

It means to me now only that place where the books are kept. - John Steinbeck, novelist, Nobel laureate (1902-1968) Let me say at the outset that what follows is a huge question which has been given too little consideration and to which I have no clear answers or solutions. Just some ideas. Throughout history the greatest commitment that humankind has had was to its respective lands. Untold numbers of men fought and died, entire cultures were wiped out, families rent asunder and some put into slavery by acting to take or retake possession of their land. Almost a century after much Palestinian land was taken away from the Palestinians (who sided with Germany and lost the Second World War), the remaining Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza continue to fight to regain the land that was once the property of their ancestors. Every country except one in the Americas fought to gain independence, thus full possession, of their land from the former European colonial powers. Land represented who a people were. Empires were built by taking over land through coersion or conquest from their previous overseers. In the 21st century, imperial powers hold economic strength and do not focus on ownership or occupation of land. It turned out that the wisdom of the ages, that control over land was the ultimate power, was wrong because imperial powers went broke defending their territories from others who wanted to build their own empires or to take their land back. Today we have young people in the families of western and Asian nations obtaining university educations and taking positions all over their native countries and in nations of rising production and trading activity in other parts of the world. Families today communicate less by hugging when they meet than by exchanging email. Using VOIP technology, mothers and daughters can chat by phone from around the world as if they lived next door to each other. When land was the tie that held families together, their values and principles tended to be much alike. Now that families are not tied together by the tradition of owning the same land as their forefathers, how have values and principles changed as young people have been exposed to many other sets of values and principles of people from many other cultures? For one, people take a greater interest in what is happening in other aprts of the world. While 9/11 produced wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, peacekeeping efforts have taken place in several other places where genocide had already happened or was about to happen. Now it matters more than it used to if people somewhere else are slaughtering each other. It matters if some country wants to make war on another because they all have ties with the United Nations. It matters if a trading partner does well economically because a rich country doesn't want to just buy products from a poorer country and have nothing sold back to that country, thus generating a balance of payments problem (more money going out of the country than coming in). Health care has become an important issue, such as with the potential of AIDS to spread from its hot bases in Africa and India through genetic mutations of its causal virus. The world watches as people die somewhere from bird flu because a mutated bird flu virus (H5N1) could devastate the world worse than the 18 million who died in 1918 from the Spanish flu. Now it matters to everyone if personal

health habits of people of a distant land act to promote the spread of disease to more health conscious countries. Obseity, an enormous problem in the US and UK, is also a problem in most countries of the world, though to a lesser extent. Now everyone wants and needs answers to the causes and cures or solutions for obesity. Even poor countries have too many fat people and no one knows why for sure. Has our tie to the land of our ancestors becoming less important resulted in our sharing and caring more about the people of other parts of the world? Or has it given impetus to rich countries to control even more foreign people through economic ties making their business leaders greedier than ever before in history? I prefer to believe the former. But we must be aware that the greedy among the people of every country will always want to have power over others. So our caring and sharing must include measures of assistance beyond trade and health care. It must include education and basic services such as clean water at least. As the world recognizes fewer ties to specific pieces of real estate, its people see each other more as fellow members of a global village. DNA research has shown that there are no races among us. Climate change shows us that personal and industrial activity in even distant parts of the world can affect us in our homes. Now everyone matters. It will take world history a while to catch up with that change. Transition periods traditionally are periods of great upset. We can see the upset around us. What we may not be able to see as easily is where we are headed as a species. Bill Allin 'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to put it all into perspective. Learn more at http://billallin.com