Why the United Nations should create an Entertainment Empire

The United Nations needs to have its own entertainment enterprise to sustain its future operations.

The Digital Age has changed the way we produce and consume entertainment products. Everything has become faster, cheaper and more global. New digital technologies give companies and individuals the opportunity to develop, publish and distribute their creative goods to a global audience. The rise of online companies like Amazon and Netflix is a clear sign for a changing media landscape.

Which leads to the question: Why are organizations like the United Nations not seizing this opportunity to become a major player in the entertainment industry?

Movies, video games and novels should be produced and published by the UN. The net proceeds raised by the sales of these products will be used to finance the UN Development Programmes (UNDP), or programmes of other UN departments like the WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP,

Here are 5 reasons why the UN should seriously consider this proposal:

1. Entertainment is a lucrative business

The UN is frequently underfunded. Shortfalls and budget cuts for aid programmes or relief missions have become the norm. Meanwhile Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment industry report record earnings. The Disney Company has earned $55.1 billion in total for the fiscal year of 2017. The studio’s entertainment segment made over $8 billion, thanks to Marvel’s superhero universe and the Star Wars galaxy.

Rumours about a possible sale of MGM and Sony Entertainment persist. Even Warner Bros. Studios might be up for grabs, if the AT&T merger fails. The United Nations could buy at least one of them. Just imagine, James Bond, Superman and Batman fighting together under the banner of the UN!

But movies are not the only way to make big money in the entertainment industry. Net revenue for the video game giant Electronic Arts has been over $4 billion for the last couple of years. Author Earnings reports $1.3 billion in E-book sales for the last three quarters of 2017 (US only).

These numbers suggest a profitable market with potential for expansion. In the beginning, the UN would need some serious commitment to establish itself on the global market, but the gain and the benefits could easily outweigh the risks.

2. It’s (relatively) cheap

If movies and TV shows are considered to be too expensive to start with, then the UN should sell books. They can be produced and published budget friendly in electronic form. Selling E-Books online would cut the distribution costs dramatically. Additionally, many well-known books are in the public domain, therefore freely available with no license fee or any other copyright issues attached. The UN would be able to publish stories written by Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe, H. G. Wells and many more.

Even the development of video games has become affordable, thanks to the mobile phone and tablet market. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter are popular places to find supporters. While the UN is already using the website for its aid programmes, a different approach could turn out to be more successful in the long term.

Take for example the video game Star Citizen. Star Citizen is a space simulator that raised over $182 million; meanwhile an UN refugee campaign has reached $1.7 million. People would rather spend their money on the development of a video game than a charity project. Crowdfunding should be used for the production of entertainment commodities. The net proceeds from the sales of these products will be transferred to UN programmes.

3. Increasing awareness and social relevance

Brand recognition is not necessarily something the United Nations has a problem with. Celebrities like Emma Watson are already supporting UN campaigns and social causes. But entertainment products could help the organization to broaden its audience and reach people who normally wouldn’t bother with the UN and its mission.

4. The entertainment industry is recession-proof

Depressions or recessions take a toll on the economy. Many businesses are struggling to survive during such troubling times. There are few markets that are not only resilient to a downturn but actually gain from it. The entertainment sector is one of them.

Why?

Because the entertainment industry offers people a distraction and an escape from the cold, harsh world and all its tribulations. Hollywood knows how to sell dreams and illusions to the masses and so should the UN.

5. Achieving Financial Independence

The UN depends on the goodwill of its member states with their flaky leaders and unstable economy. An entertainment enterprise would not only decrease the UN’s vulnerability to unforeseen budget cuts but also secure funding for future peacekeeping efforts. The ultimate goal would be a self-sufficient and financially independent United Nations.

Conclusion:

The United Nations should act decisively and not miss the opportunity to establish an entertainment enterprise. Other NGOs like Greenpeace, Red Cross, WWF or PETA could follow its lead.

People are more likely to spend money on entertainment products than on charity. That certainly doesn’t speak for humanity, but instead of ignoring this fact, we should use it to our advantage. Why should Hollywood be the only one making profit by selling dreams and fantasies to people all around the world? The philanthropic industry should claim a piece of the pie. It’s time to give the money to those who would invest it for a better and more humane future.

A final word of warning: If the UN decides to enter the entertainment world, avoiding preachy content would be recommended. Building schools in Africa or providing food supplies to war torn areas are certainly important and admirable tasks, but people don’t pay money to watch that in a movie theatre. The audience wants to be entertained, not lectured.

by Christoph Topitschnig, BA

 

About the Author:

  • Studied Film & Media at the University of Vienna.
  • Created the “Austria Alliance”, a short-lived political party.
  • Founder of the “Reading saves Lives” – Initiative.
  • Author of “Endgame – The Tragedy of Kings and Pawns” (eBook, 2018).
  • Contact: topitschnig [AT] lesenrettet [DOT] com

Crisis of Leadership

The upcoming presidential election in Austria and America will shape the future of both nations like no other.

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Three years ago, I tried to establish a political party in Austria, but was unsuccessful. I was concerned that once again my home country would fall in the hands of the wrong leader. Since then, the situation hasn’t really improved; on the contrary, it became progressively worse in Europe and in other parts of the world. Problems haven’t been solved, just delayed. Now, we pay a heavy price for it.

German historian Oswald Spengler wrote in his acclaimed book “Decline of the West” (1918) that at the end of the western civilization, money would rule absolutely. Every democratic process and every political action would be decided and managed by money. According to the author, only a Caesar-like-figure could be strong enough to oppose and overthrow this so called money-dictatorship. For Spengler, businessman and mining tycoon Cecil Rhodes embodied such a Caesar-figure.

Today’s political elite is no longer fighting for the greater good, but for money and power. Their close tie with the financial sector has made them decadent und no longer trustworthy. They’ve become out of touch with the general public’s needs and concerns. However, people want a leader, who understands their struggles and burdens. Somebody, who will save them from the evil in the world, and make their fears go away. People call for a strong ruler; the question is – who will answer the call?

The US presidential election has brought foul-mouthed Donald Trump in the center of attention. Like Cecil Rhodes, Trump is a businessman and tycoon with political ambitions. He may share the spotlight with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, but it is Trump, who knows how to leave an impression. He enjoys shocking his audience with questionable and radical statements about Mexican immigrants and women. His showmanship of a willful autocrat has enticed a large group of voters, who desire a strong leader. A boss, who will bring back the glory of past America and who will protect them from all kinds of aliens.

But the US presidential election isn’t the only one this year. After May 22, Austria will also have a new president for the next 6 years. (Update: The Austrian Supreme Court has decided to redo the election on 2nd October.)

Among the final candidates is Norbert Hofer, member of the Freedom Party. Hofer, a right-wing ideologist, supports a restrictive immigration policy, while his opponent, left-wing liberal Alexander Van der Bellen, is an open-border advocate.

The current situation in Austria benefits Hofer, though. The country has been overwhelmed by an unusual high amount of immigrants. In addition to the refugee crisis, the nation faces the highest unemployment rate since post World War II, a stagnated economy, an ever-growing national debt and a self-destructive government. A recent series of violent incidents caused by asylum seekers has reinforced stigmas and fears.

But Austria is just one of many European states whose citizens are increasingly drawn to nationalistic parties and personalities. Like New Yorker journalist John Cassidy has pointed out, candidates such as Marine Le Pen (France) and Viktor Orbán (Hungary) have gained support for their right-wing populism. The European Union (EU) is to be blamed for this debacle.

Brussels’s inability and unwillingness to deal with conflicts is a clear indication for a leadership lacking competence and foresight. A relapse to nationalistic politics is the result. The refugee crisis, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and ongoing financial tribulations will probably be the deathblow for the EU and its ill-prepared and weak management.

Besides secular citizens, religious institutions and their faithful followers are also seeking strong guidance. They are praying for a redeemer, who will come and deliver them from their mundane plight. Christians are anticipating the return of their Savior; Muslims are hoping for the 12th Imam and Jewish communities are expecting the arrival of Moshiach.

Devine or not, the question remains: Who will be Spengler’s Caesar? Who will be the great ruler that will bring an end to the Money Age? (If something like that is even possible.) Maybe strong leadership doesn’t necessarily have to come from an individual, but can also emerge from an organization.

The United Nations has enormous potential to become a game changer for mankind, at the moment however, it’s only a toothless giant crippled by a staggering amount of corruption and scandals. Austrian aid expert Killian Kleinschmidt, a former senior UNHCR official, revealed that the UN is wasting millions of pounds on celebrity campaigns and vanity projects thanks to an inefficient bureaucratic apparatus. Hollywood stars “raise awareness” and speak about issues that are self-evident and obvious for everyone. Stroking high-profile egos in exchange for good publicity won’t help the UN agenda in the long run. Ultimately, the United Nations has to gain financial independence from its member states, only then it can achieve true greatness.

More than ever before, the world is standing at a crossroads. The middle way is blocked. Only two extreme directions – left or right – are available to choose from. Radicalization and polarization on both sides of the political spectrum have intensified. Our system is broken beyond repair. Not just in Austria or Europe, but everywhere. And like the San Andreas Fault, it’s only a matter of time, until western society will collapse. If it won’t happen in 2016, it will definitely happen in the course of the next few years. By then, a tipping point will have been reached and voters are going to unleash their wrath against the establishment.

In times of distress and chaos, people tend to follow any charlatan, who promises them security and peace. Making a Faustian bargain for prosperity and a good living is never a smart idea. It might be uncertain, what type of leader will be elected in the near future – sinner or saint -, but one thing is for sure – the outcome is going to be life-changing.

About the Author

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