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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?

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