Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Serendipitous Beneficiaries and the Economy of Needs

In Africa, in an interconnected, interdependent world, the mismatching of needs, resources, opportunities, competition and accountability is undermining the perceived value of education, of labor markets which cannot absorb the vast pools of skilled and unskilled labor, of social infrastructures which cannot at present maximize the multifaceted resources of human capital. Inequality of access and value-of-outcome for individual, or group, efforts and achievements very often lead to financial hardship, gender-based deprivation, perceived/actual disenfranchisement, crime, violence, and larger conflicts.

Technologies in communication, transit, cloud-based information storage and sharing are providing unprecedented opportunities for growth in the knowledge capital of humanity. In previous centuries, humanity experienced the pseudo-sustainability of growth with the advancement and enrichment of a sheltered upper class, with acceptable numbers of jobs for uneducated, semi-skilled and skilled laborers. In the 21st Century, however, the increasing millions of educated young people eager to apply their talents and skills to forge lives for themselves have clearly demonstrated that neither private nor public sector employment landscapes provide adequate opportunity, compensation, the attainment of life-goals.

Social infrastructures, regardless of climate, location, or resources, depend upon the investment of participants, individually and as communities, to endure. Poor outcomes which commence with gender-based discrimination leading to early child-birth, low-parental education and wealth, poor nutrition, geographic factors of exclusion-by-circumstance are reinforced by the disparities in the next generation of children’s education, and the improbability or even impossibility of obtaining a well-paid job—causing productivity levels and dependency levels to become progressively imbalanced.

Social structures are straining under ever-increasing populations of job-seekers, ever-increasing deficits of funding, and the double-sided swords of instant communication and transit technologies. While communities, states and nations should be building social and economic infrastructures which amplify the rights, and the responsibilities of an interdependent human species, inequality of opportunity continues to exacerbate the poor outcomes of the non-privileged.

Clear expectations of recompense-for-effort are reinforced by media and crowd influences, yet equitable, durable opportunities for educational, economic, environmental, energy and ethical (“universal” freedoms and rights) security are ever-more threatened. At a time crucial to the development of human responsibility and investment in a sustainable, interdependent world, poverty of outcomes is impoverishing, endangering the future of our species on this planet.

From the very start, impoverishments of circumstances affect each child’s probability of receiving adequate healthcare, nutritional, and educational services to succeed in life. Almost inescapably, these same circumstances and subsequent poor outcomes affect the ability of the working generation to support themselves, their children, and their elderly. Opportunities for education and hiring based upon connections, rather than merits, undermine the whole process of building human capital, and evolving from a top-heavy distribution of wealth, resources, power, and access, to a more equitable, merit-based, sustainable assumption of responsibility and recompense.

Investment in dynamic, strategic employment and social infrastructures is essential to impartial, merit-based hiring, to widening access for qualified enterprises and individuals. Investment opportunities to encourage the increase of businesses and agencies which look beyond regional and sectarian considerations, which work together to conserve limited finite resources while maximizing the potential of renewable resource utilization would strengthen infrastructures, and encourage new ideas, and new markets for services created, offered, and utilized.

In an overhauling of current collateral regimes of protectionism and creditor rights at the expense of small-investors, wage-earners, and subsistence- or poverty-line laborers, increased understanding of the economy of needs, rather than wants, reflects a richness of social fabric, rather than a paucity of empty promises.

The concept of serendipitous beneficiaries, of responsible development which considers the interconnectedness of humankind, of other earth species, of limited finite resources, global-renewable resources, and potential for sustainability, is crucial to the “greening” of markets, services, and human occupations today. Value-adding serendipitous beneficiaries to the associated/collateral choices and activities of market-share providers of goods and services enables citizen-consumers to make responsible choices themselves, empowering those enterprises ensuring "green," sustainable practices.

For example, in many nations, young people, unable to find adequate employment in their “home” communities, regions, or nations, tend to leave, congregating in urban centers where they hope to find paying jobs. This leaves the parent-generations cope, alone, with aging grandparents. In nations where poverty and tradition caused young girls to be married to men three and four times their age, this “flight” of the young generation leaves many, many older women, without adequate education or job skills, without financial training, property rights, or any access to healthcare, adequate nutrition, transportation or services, to support aged, dependent spouses alone.

A project to address constraints of youth receiving adequate training to get a job could include considerations of what jobs, projects, products, and collaborative efforts would best benefit the communities inhabited by each group of youths. Appropriate locally- or regionally-based projects could include plans to create new, and provide access to existing education and jobs in product -creation, -sales, -utilization; in service –training, -providing; in education, heritage knowledge preservation and tech-based communications/interconnectivity; in medical services and specialties; in domestic and hospital/hospice-based care and sustainable interventions. Every community eventually will have elder-citizens requiring assistance, inclusion, active care; every community at some point has adult and youth-emergent work forces needing employment and services themselves.

Serendipitous beneficiaries of locating training sponsorship for youth development and skills/vocational training could include infrastructure, energy-and-communications grids, construction, maintenance, and transit-systems/access, water/waste management, and social-services training, as well as specialized/medical field employment. Collaborative development and endorsement of projects with applicable industry sponsors, for equipment and for training, provide opportunities for “green-minded” corporations to invest at the community level in the sustainability and serendipitous outcomes of the populations served by their market-products/services, and build their market share among the young populations to which they offer training and opportunity.  

The elder communities served by such inclusive projects have their own associations of serendipitous beneficiaries, including adult offspring who are more able to contribute in their own jobs, knowing adequate, safe care is available to/provided for the elder family dependents. With more training, connectivity, and jobs available in outspread communities, urban flight and other employment-seeking population shifts would be less likely, with less detriment to the social fabric. Upgrades to “green” and environmentally-sustainable facilities and resource/waste management practices would benefit the ecosystems of the communities served. Infrastructure and service administration practices could become more transparent, as communities actively collaborate with funding sources on the projects undertaken, and employed participants contribute to the longevity of the program(s).

The concept of serendipitous beneficiaries as a measure and enhancement of social responsibility and sustainability could add to the flexibility of social infrastructures, educational programs, to the accountability and responsibility of service, commercial and industrial providers. In an interdependent humanity, on an interdependent planet of limited resources, a “green” approach which includes associated industries and efforts as serendipitous beneficiaries of planned output can result in alleviation of “poor outcomes” for all strata of society, for our shared environment and pool of resources, and can result in a raised quality of sustainable lifestyles for humankind, and our millions of fellow-earth species.