You have a choice

Social and economic divide continue to increase. Rich get richer, poor get poorer. Both between and within different countries and continents. Thousands of people die every day. Where will this eventually lead to? Economic growth based on ever-increasing material use and discard is inconsistent with a finite world, and finite capacity to dissipate waste. Is there a way to reconceive growth and success? Is it possible to base healthy economies on continuing increase in value created rather than on continuing increase in material throughput? Can companies keep doing their thing in the outdated Milton Friedman way and only try to maximise their profit? Is it possible to educate everybody in the world? What impact would that have? Can we stop destroying the planet we live on?

Can you just stay in your bubble and say this doesn't concern you?

Recently I've been focusing on poverty, doing reading, researching, talking to people.

Development specialists often focus on helping poor countries become richer by improving primary education and infrastructure such as roads and telephones. That seems to make sense. Unfortunately, it’s only a small part of the problem, otherwise eradicating poverty would have been done by now. So where is the proble? Studies have found that education, infrastructure, and factories only begin to explain the gap between rich and poor. Because of its lousy education system, Africa is perhaps twice as poor as it could be. Because of its terrible infrastructure, it’s roughly twice as poor again. So we would expect African countries to be four times poorer than the western developed countries . But they are 50 times poorer.

More important, why can’t the Africans seem to do anything about it? Couldn’t they improve their schools? Wouldn’t the benefits easily outweigh the costs? Couldn’t businessmen build factories, license technology, seek foreign partners, and make a fortune?

Doesn't seem to be that easy, otherwise it would have been done already. Tim Harford sheds some light:

"The rot starts with government, but it afflicts the entire society. There’s no point investing in a business because the government will not protect you against thieves. (So you might as well become a thief yourself.) There’s no point in paying your phone bill because no court can make you pay. (So there’s no point being a phone company.) There’s no point setting up an import business because the customs officers will be the ones to benefit. (So the customs office is underfunded and looks even harder for bribes.) There’s no point getting an education because jobs are not handed out on merit. (And in any case, you can’t borrow money for school fees because the bank can’t collect on the loan.)"

Everybody has a choice.

A choice to do something about the problems in our world or to concentrate only on your own well-being. Sure, it is easier to look away from what is going on in the world. Being self-centered is the easiest thing to do.

Living in this soulless city, with its obscene applause for relentless material acquisitions and standing ovations of skyscrapers do not impress me anymore. I don't want to work in a corporate machine. Why would I want to be stuck in a machinery forever with unreasonable bosses, superficial colleagues, and meaningless jobs, where nobody thinks they're ever paid enough yet would never admit to their own ineptitude? Why would I want to spend my life in an office never seeing sunlight and waiting endlessly for yet another paycheque only so I can buy the things that I don't need? Why would I want to spend my life making other people rich? How many ipods, nokias, powerbooks, four wheel drives and apartments do I need to be happy in this life? It won't matter after I'm gone. It doesn't add value to the world. And I would rather people remember me as someone who changed the world, than as someone who could afford to buy cars and wear expensive clothes.

I want my sun to be brighter and sky to be more blue. I want to do my part to drive positive change. Improve the quality of life. I want to find parts of society that are stuck and to provide new ways to get it unstuck. I want to finds what is not working and solve the problem by changing the system, spreading the solution and persuading entire societies to take new leaps. Its not just about giving fish or teaching how to fish. Its about revolutionizing the fishing industry. I don't know how, yet. But I will. I might have a job like everybody else right now. But my aspirations are somewhere else. Just give me some time. Its about the choice I've made.

“We can’t say our generation didn’t know how to do it. We can’t say our generation couldn’t afford to do it. And we can’t say our generation didn’t have reason to do it. It’s up to us, we can choose to shift the responsibility, or as the professor proposes here, we can choose to shift the paradigm”

Bono in the foreword of “The End Of Poverty” (Jeffrey Sachs).


Triinu said...

u speak my religion :)

edu sulle!

larr said...

Kui Sind selline teema huvitab, võta PMBA programmi ka Ronald H. Coase'i, Douglass C. Northi, Oliver Williamsoni ja Jüri Sepa kirjatööd. Lugemise järjekord võiks olla esialgu vastupidine.

Kaks esimest meest on Nobeli majanduspreemia laureaadid, kolmas saab ilmselt õige pea ja neljas mõistab eelnevate mõtteid. :)

Luba said...

The only books, I have read where the system of living (the way of life with positive results to all people without exceptions) different from the current World' reality is offered (with all description), are books by Vladimir Megre.
Here is one of the links to translated books (on these are just 2 books, but there are 8 books on this issue):

If you know Russian check this site: (there are all books)

These books help to see the problems and consequences of the current World' system as well as to know how you can change it.

As I know, opinion about these books are different, they were analysed by different scientists, etc.,there was a lot of discussions, but noone could give argumental reasons to say that the offered system will not work or is bad, there are more and more positive arguments. I saw on Russian website, there is a lot of people around the world (Russia, UK, USA, Germany, Egypt, New Zealand, etc.) who started to take offered system (the way of life) from these books into action.

Talking from myself, if you read carefully and analyse the text, then you can find out a lot for yourself.

sarah said...

Called to march.
I'm so lucky to know you.

marko said...

Fuck off. You made me feel useless shithead officerat again.

Peep said...

Sorry mate. But if you're not satisfied, maybe you should do smth about it?