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The (Would-Be) Power of Geopolitical Intention
Today’s fodder is an article titled, “Why Covax, the Best Hope for Vaccinating the World, Was Doomed to Fall Short.” For the record, conscious politics practitioner, this is not a defense of the mechanism of vaccine for pandemic mitigation. Nor is this about the veracity of one journalist’s investigative report published last week on the front page of one newspaper. It is, simply, an exercise to compare and contrast where we are and where we could have been if Covax — as presented in the story — had been infused with and guided by conscious politics practice.
It seemed like a smart and simple idea: head off the worst impacts of a brewing pandemic that was hitting hard and fast globally by replacing a charity-based model of vaccine distribution — one that has historically exacerbated wealth disparities between rich and poor countries — with a cooperative model, pooling the resources of all participating countries to purchase vaccine en masse. Then, “Doses would be doled out evenly, so that participating countries could reach roughly 20 percent immunization around the same time and vaccinate their most vulnerable first.”
Mission not accomplished. Today, one third of the world’s population has not been vaccinated, the gap between how rich and poor countries are faring with regard to the pandemic remains vast, and “a greater likelihood that more-virulent variants will emerge” continues to hover some two years on. Several items in the story engendered the attention of this particular conscious politics practitioner but today’s focus is on, you guessed it, intention.
Remember that the law of attraction is always on, which means everything we think, everything we say, and everything we feel creates more of whatever that is. The reporting calls the project a goal — “to combat a deadly virus” — and an idea — “to coax wealthy and poor countries to pool their money.” Immediately, conscious practice would have us convert talk of goals and ideas into shiny, clear intentions. That means using positive language focused on what’s wanted like, I don’t know: “People in every type of country there is, all over the world, are banding together to boost our collective health via a novel approach to vaccine distribution.” Comparatively, words like these give me a clear picture of what’s happening, make me feel included, and create a sense of curiosity about the project. And now I’m attracting all that goes with that.
“They are right to say that the [Covax] model would work — if we were organized differently as a world. It clearly didn’t work and doesn’t work in the world in which we do live.”
Critically, an intention like this would also be derived from and and agreed to by all stakeholders/involved parties. A fatal flaw in the execution of this program, according to the story, was the failure of organizers to include officials from the developing world — ones who, ostensibly, began as equal partners. They did, however, manage to include representatives from McKinsey & Company, a global consultancy with, as reported, “close ties to pharmaceutical companies.” That is not conscious practice, not by a longshot. From the story: “The lack of full engagement with poorer countries became a problem later, as governments struggled with deliveries and complained of poor communication from Covax.” No kidding.
So a project that was intended to be equitable quickly became inequitable. When intentions are shiny and clear, however, when the dominant energy — in the form of human beings in organizations and governments — is aligned with the intention, the intention becomes the guide for decisions and actions taken every step of the way. That means virtually everyone is singing from the same hymnal all the time. In this case, “we are banding together” and “every type of country” would preclude excluding anyone. Conscious politics practitioners would have kept that intention shiny and clear, front and center, and have been guided by it as a matter of course.
Sidebar: In the lead-up to Putin’s War in Ukraine and in the weeks since it has been waged there, NATO allies have repeated the phrase “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,” meaning that decisions affecting the fate of the country and its citizens will not be made without them. This is what it means to exercise compassion in geopolitics, a consideration that was both taken and abandoned in the planning of Covax.
So yeah, the program fell far short. There were issues of countries participating in the program financially, but simultaneously bypassing it after all and securing vaccine just for their own. There were perceptions of quality disparities within the universe of available vaccines. Poor countries have refused shipments of vaccine that were due to expire before they could be distributed. There was hesitancy among pharmaceutical companies to waive intellectual property rights such that production could be ramped up in far more places far more quickly resulting in a rash of manufacturing delays. There were indications that pharmaceutical companies prioritized the demands of richer countries anyway.
None of this would have been the case if people had anchored themselves in intention from the start. Those of us who do so in our personal lives are continually — if not incessantly — tempted to abandon our intentions for all kinds of reasons all of the time. Thus, we invest most of our precious time and energy doing what it necessary to stay aligned with them. Had The Consciousness Company been at the table instead of McKinsey & Co., I assure you the outcome of this project would have been radically different. It’s OK. We’ll get there. The new consciousness is still on.
As Andrea Taylor, a researcher at the Duke Global Health Institute, said: “They are right to say that the [Covax] model would work — if we were organized differently as a world. It clearly didn’t work and doesn’t work in the world in which we do live.” Yet conscious politics is about changing the world in which we do live. Conscious politics is about organizing differently around values of cooperation, compassion, and interdependence required for this model to have worked. So we journey on, knowing full well and just how much intentions do matter.