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Towards a New Sustainable Economy: The Role of Education

12 Feb

What is Wealth?

Hazel Henderson, Futurist and founder of Ethical Markets Media, LLC  advocates for new thinking on what constitutes wealth and how we measure it.

Hazel Henderson was interviewed by “The Money Fix” below. In this video Ms. Henderson says:

“The real wealth of nations are the population and its talents and resources and of course the resources of the earth. Those are the real assets of any nation.”

The Money Fix podcast #1 Hazel Henderson

Henderson claims that money initially was a way of tracking various transactions between people. However, when the system grew people equated money with wealth. This philosophy of wealth and money according to Henderson created problems in “every local social system on the planet.”

More Paper Assets than Actual Goods and Services

One of the major problems with our current economic system is that we have 9 times more paper assets than people on the ground producing useful things like clothes and food according to Henderson. Before the major 1929 Depression Henderson said that the huge mountain of paper assets piled on top of paper assets resulted in eventual economic collapse. She predicted that there would be a similar collapse of the economy based on the imbalance in the economic system.

Hazel Henderson was interviewed for the above video in 2007. Her prediction about the U.S. economy tanking occurred. The U.S. economy went into a deep recession starting in 2007 and 2008 primarily due to wild speculation by Wall Street on exotic CDOs related to mortgage backed securities. The securities were packaged to appear healthy by major brokerage firms like Goldman Sachs. In reality these “securities” were toxic waste dump booby-traps waiting to go off. Companies like Goldman Sachs deliberately encouraged some of their clients to purchase these toxic waste dump financial products knowing that they would most likely fail. They bet against the very securities they sold to their clients in order to reap profits.

How Do We Achieve A Sustainable Economy in Harmony with the Environment?

Hazel Henderson says that 50% of all countries have a cooperative economy not necessarily based on money transactions. Instead it is based on caring and sharing. She calls it the “Love Economy.” In developing nations, 75% of their economies may be considered “Cooperative” economies.

How do we measure national well-being? The Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators include a systems approach that takes into account the dynamic state of our social, economic and environmental quality of life. Henderson promotes “Ethical Markets.”

Hazel Henderson offers 21st Century Strategies for Sustainability. In her article she says:

Reintegrating human knowledge, systems thinking and multi-disciplinary approaches to public and private decisions are widely recognized as necessary to address the human condition in this new century.

Why is our equal genius for bonding and cooperative behavior – even altruism not taught in business schools as the true foundation of all human organizations and our greatest scientific and technological achievements?

If a doctor makes a patient sick, a malpractice suit can be filed.  Economists’ bad advice can make whole countries sick – with impunity, as, for example, IMF economists’ advice worsened Indonesia’s economic woes in 1997.

How can we provide excellent education and jobs for the Youth of the World?

On Feb. 12, 2011 NPR had an interesting program from America Abroad Media, “The Arab World’s Demographic Dilemma: Young, Unemployed and Searching for a Voice,” about the problem in the Middle East of a majority of unemployed youth with little or no job prospects. There is a cycle of lack of good education for Youth in countries like Yemen, Jordan, and Egypt combined with a reduction of jobs provided in the public sector and small growth of jobs in the private sector. No wonder these youth are prime targets for extremist groups.

Where are the leaders of the world thinking about the future generations? The present generations have a responsibility to:

  • Educate the next generation to be well-prepared to tackle the realities of the world
  • Educate the next generation of youth to be critical thinkers who are problem-solvers
  • Provide dignified job opportunities for youth

This is a worldwide issue, not just something occurring in the Middle East. U.S. corporations have kept wages the same for over a decade and cut jobs. Many young graduates apply to hundreds of positions before getting even one interview. Is this reasonable?

It is time to rethink the economic ecosystem and create healthy economies that will employ the Youth of the World in every country. Simultaneously there is a need for providing better quality K-12, college and post-graduate levels of education to the world’s future generations. Creating a new sustainable economy involves preparing the next generation to meet the challenges they will confront. A healthy economy is based on good education of present and future generations.

The world is interconnected, we have a joint interest in helping the Youth of every country succeed.

What are your thoughts on the role of education and jobs in your country towards creating a new sustainable economy?

Egypt, Social Media Connections, Human Rights and Dialogue

30 Jan

"Seems like the whole world is a 'twitter...and it's starting to scare me," said Egyptian President Mubarek. Photo by Pete Simon from flickr on creative commons

Just a Tweet Away from Democracy

Twitter, Facebook and You-Tube are powerful democratic social media tools for mobilizing people around various causes. However, not everyone agrees on what really caused the large passionate demonstrations by Egyptians this past week. Even though social media is important, some analysts claim widespread unemployment and years of repression were the primary reasons Egyptian protestors took to the streets. Then, through flyers and word of mouth, from home to home, people urged each other to join the demonstrations.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet…

According to January 2010 statistics of the growth of Twitter, comScore said nearly 75,000,000 people visited Twitter worldwide. Those stats are from 2010. Twitter has continued to grow both in unique visitors and people visiting Twitter worldwide. Twitter makes it easier to connect with people, organizations and movements. The interconnections of people have unlimited possibilities.

In spite of the Egyptian government’s attempt to shut down social media sites and cell phone airwaves, the Egyptian people still found ways to circumvent anyone trampling on their human right to free speech about their dissatisfaction with the status quo in their country.

Movements.org offers suggestions on how people around the world can help Egyptians.

People returning from Egypt give their experiences to ITN News:

Tourists witness Egypt Protests

Egyptian protests enter fifth day


ITN News reports that 74 protestors are reported killed with more than 1500 people injured. The police also suffered casualties with 3 people dead and more than 700 police injured. It’s now reported that some military troops have joined forces with protestors.

President Obama urges Egyptian Leaders to Respect Human Rights:


President Obama urged President Mubarek to respect the human rights of his citizens, particularly the right of assembly and the right of free speech. He called upon the Egyptian government to prevent loss of live and allow its citizens to engage in peaceful protests. President Obama stated:

“The people of Egypt have rights that are universal, that includes the right of peaceful assembly and association. The right of free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights and the United States will stand up for them anywhere.

I also call upon the Egyptian government to reverse the actions they have taken to interfere with access to the internet, to cell phone service and social networks that do so much to connect people in the 21st Century.”

President Obama urged protestors to protest peacefully without violence. He acknowledged the call of the Egyptian protestors for economic and other reforms.

President Obama urged Egyptian President Mubarek to create meaningful dialogue between the government and its citizens in order to creatively solve their problems together. President Obama stated:

“Suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.”


Pakistan Needs Massive International Assistance

21 Aug

Six to Eight Million Flood Victims in Pakistan Require Emergency Assistance.

According to reports from non-gonvermental organizations like Taangh Wasaib Organization (TWO) in Pakistan, there are millions of people suffering from lack of food, water, lack of shelter and from water borne illness and other medical problems.

Rubina Feroze Bhatti from Taangh Wasaib Organization http://www.taangh.org.pk/ reported the need to reach people in the high flooded areas such as Kalabagh, Mari Indus, Wandha Kukran Wala, Moch, Watta Khel, Daud Khel, Kamar Mashani, Tarrag, Kaloor Shareef, Khagian Wala and Essa Khel. The TWO provides Flood Updates on its website. In addition, TWO has assisted flood victims by providing needed food, water, shelter and medical assistance. TWO needs financial assistance and supplies to continue their work of helping people not being reached by larger non-governmental organizations like the Red Cross.

According to the United Nations, 6 to 8 million of the 20 million affected people in Pakistan need emergency assistance aid.

More Aid Begins to Flow into Pakistan

Here is a Map of the area affected and who still needs aid:

According to  ABC News the amount of people affected by the flood, 20 million people, is the same size as the number of people in Australia.

Pakistan Map: Flooded Affected Areas. Photo Credit: Map provided by the World Food Program (Click on Image for Larger Map)

This article reveals new Satellite Images of the Pakistan Flood on 8/16/2010. The images were taken by NASA’s Aqua Satellite “which uses a combination of infrared and invisible light to increase the contrast between land and water.”

The Tonic website provides a list of organizations that are helping the Flood victims of Pakistan.

Recent updates to the status of the Pakistan Flood are provided by the experimental Global Flood Detection System which is a joint initiative of the Dartmouth Flood Observatory and the European Commission. See the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System website at www.gdacs.org.

What Aid is Needed Now for Flood Victims

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has a website devoted to updates regarding the Pakistan Flood coordination efforts on the ground.

On August 15, 2010 United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the people of Pakistan affected by the surging waters from the Indus River. The UN Secretary General said of the destruction and human suffering caused by the floods:

”These unprecedented floods demand unprecedented assistance. I pledge my commitment and the support of the UN through this difficult period and on every step of the long road ahead”.

According to the OCHA website the following aid is urgently needed to help the people in the flood affected areas of Pakistan:

Water:

Clean water is an “urgent priority” especially due to the danger of diarrhoeal and other water-borne illnesses like cholera on the rise.

Food:

Millions of women and children urgently need food to survive the raging floods which have destroyed over 720,000 homes in Pakistan. More than half a million people have received food assistance through the World Food Program and other partners. However, this is only a fraction of the 20 million people affected by the flood. Hundreds of villages are still only reachable by air due to the flooding of roads. These and other areas require food and assistance with keeping livestock alive in order to prevent longer-term food assistance issues.

Shelter:

Even though more than 100,000 households have some form of shelter of either tents or plastic sheeting, more than 620,000 shelters are still needed due to the destruction of nearly 800,000 households from the floods.

In addition, the people need:

Clothing

Medical Assistance

Financial Assistance:

According to the Pakistan One Response website, as of 8/21/2010, the Pakistan Initial Floods Emergency Response Plan (PIFERP) is only 55% funded. Funds of $460 million have been requested to provide needed relief aid to victims of the Pakistan flood disaster.

The World Food Programme website reports that at least 40 helicopters are needed to bring food and water to people stranded by the flood waters in locations inaccessible by road in Pakistan.

According to the Boston Globe, Karen Allen, a UNICEF official in Islamabad said:

“The Indus River is at 40 times its normal volume. Whole cities of up to 250,000 people have been evacuated, and people have lost everything.”

More coordinated information about the Pakistan Flood situation and aid response can be found at the One Response-Pakistan website.