Local Politics

Clinton: 'How generation' needed to solve world's ills

Posted January 26, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— People worldwide need to take action to help solve the global problems of political and economic instability, inequality and environmental unsustainability, former President Bill Clinton said Monday.

"I don't think it's good enough anymore to define your citizenship by being a good, honest worker and a taxpayer and someone who votes," Clinton said in a speech at North Carolina State University's Reynolds Coliseum.

Study: Moms should get whooping cough vaccine Bill Clinton addresses world's problems, solutions

Unlike his upbeat appearances in North Carolina last year for his wife's presidential campaign, Clinton was serious and matter-of-fact during his 40-minute speech about the difficulties facing the state, the nation and the world.

He related a series of current problems:

  • The global recession has destroyed wealth equal to half of the world's gross production.
  • Terrorists continue to strike at targets but are difficult to retaliate against.
  • Most of the world's wealth and access to education and health care is concentrated among a minority of its people.
  • The benefits of development have to be balanced against the cost of global warming.

Because the world has become so interdependent in recent decades, small problems in one part of the globe often affect the U.S. and other countries, Clinton said. Such interdependence means that people's fortunes rise or fall together and that "divorce is not an option" because we all continue to share the globe, he said.

"We should be trying to create a world where we share the future," he said. "We share the benefits and the opportunities; we share the burdens and the responsibilities."

One of those responsibilities is to work to solve the world's problems, Clinton said, calling on people to become part of "the how generation."

"How do you go about taking the best of intentions and turning them into positive changes in people's lives?" he asked. "You've got to say, 'I want to be a person involved in the how.'"

Some people have started the process, he said, noting about 500,000 non-governmental organizations were started in the last decade to take on specific issues. But much more needs to be done, he said.

"We have a 'crisis of doing' in the world," he said. "We have all of these problems out there that people know are problems, that they can talk about till the cows come home, but nobody knows the how – how do you turn good intentions into real changes?"

Clinton's visit was part of the university's Millennium Seminar Series.

After the speech, he attended a lunch fundraiser for western North Carolina Congressman Heath Shuler.

Clinton and Shuler have been building a relationship since Clinton reached out to the former NFL quarterback as Democrats recruited him to run for Congress in the 2006 election.

In 2008, Shuler endorsed Clinton's wife, now Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her run for the White House after she won the primary in his district.

110 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • curiousgeorgia Jan 27, 2009

    ewww!

  • Sir Freezy McQuackers Jan 27, 2009

    "Why would anyone pay good money to see him?"

    It was free....

  • ladyblue Jan 26, 2009

    I don't think it's good enough anymore to define your citizenship by being a good, honest worker and a taxpayer and someone who votes," Clinton said in a speech at North Carolina State University's Reynolds Coliseum.

    How about tell us something we don't already know. This has affected poor people for more than decades.

  • workingforthosethatwont Jan 26, 2009

    Why would anyone pay good money to see him? I guess hillary needs the money to pay her campaign debts and traveling expenses. Go home!

  • veyor Jan 26, 2009

    Government can only slow up the economy. When the private sector finally pulls out of this, the trillion unbacked dollars will cause enormous inflation.

  • colliedave Jan 26, 2009

    Most of the world's wealth and access to education and health care is concentrated among a minority of its people.

    Typical liberal whine - instead of fine wine it's more like Mad Dog - the reason for the poverty of the third world is poor infastucture and corrupt pols.

    We (the USA) feed the poor of the world b/c of our farming methods and infastructure. And the greenies of the world want us to use horse/buggy for transportation and mule/plow for framing. All due to that evil monstor called the internal combustion engine.

    Slick, how muuch did corn-based ethanol help your beloved poor? How much will Obama's energy policies help your beloved poor? Not One Whit.

    But you and your other rich, lib friends can do as you please b/c you pay for your sins against the Earth in the form of carbon credits.

  • MyNameIsMud Jan 26, 2009

    "Being a state graduate and a republican, I am a little shocked that state would ask Clinton to speak . . . "

    I didn't know that NC State only admits Republicans. I didn't see that on the application.

  • CrewMax Jan 26, 2009

    I think they ought to create a special 65% tax on speaking fees.
    If that is how you make your living, you probably don't really need the money to begin with.

  • DougWare.NET Jan 26, 2009

    retroconsultant,

    I am absolutely amazed at case you made. I was thinking along the same line of thought, but you expressed it much better than I did.

    Good job!

  • hpr641 Jan 26, 2009

    "Terrorists continue to strike at targets but are difficult to retaliate against."

    Were they still "difficult to retaliate against" even after ... they bomb our WTC in '93 killing 6 and injuring 1,042, kill 18 US soldiers in Somalia also in '93, kill 5 US soldiers in a bombing in Riyadh Saudi Arabia in '95, simultaneously bomb 2 US Embassies in Africa in '98 which killed 224 and injured 5000 (while remembering that US Embassies are considered soverign US soil), had an unsuccessful attack on the USS Sullivans in '00, attacked the USS Cole also in '00 where 17 US Navy men were killed and 39 injured, and began planning and financing the 9/11 attacks, all of which occured during your presidency?

    Since your rules of engagement for the USS Sullivans and USS Cole was "Do NOT fire, do NOT even aim a weapon, unless fired upon," maybe it really was "difficult" to retaliate.

More...