Posts Tagged ‘economy’
The NGO Plan International reports that sending girls to school impacts the economic growth of a country, here’s why, from the Inter Press Service:
Sending more girls to school may help poor countries get out of the economic slump faster, the NGO Plan International says in a new report. Just a one percent rise in the number of girls attending secondary school boosts a country’s annual per capita income growth by 0.3 percent.
Girls are a formidable future workforce – if they get adequate training. There are over 500 million adolescent girls and young women in developing countries, Plan estimates in its report ‘Girls in the Global Economy: adding it all up’. But many girls do not have the opportunities for good education, and the financial crisis is worsening their situation.
In times of economic hardship, girls in the poorest countries are the first to be pulled out of school, the report says. Some parents consider the education of boys to be more important, and girls often have to start working, or looking after children as their mothers try to improve household income.
“Boys are also affected,” Nikki van der Gaag, co-author of the report acknowledges. “But in a different way,” she tells IPS. “While writing the report, I was surprised to find that there are very little specific data about the situation of boys or girls. Such information is needed to adjust policies.”
The information available suggests that investing more in girls is a good way out of poverty. “Countries with the lowest number of girls in education lie at the bottom of the human development rankings,” van der Gaag says.
Investing in education promises an attractive return. “An extra year of education increases a girl’s income by 10 to 20 percent; it is a significant step in breaking the cycle of poverty,” the report says.
Sarah van Gelder, executive editor of YES! Magazine interviewed Rebecca Adamson about how to fix our nation’s little economy screw-up. She had some pretty profound things to say, I highlighted a few here for you, but I seriously recommend reading the whole interview.
Adamson is a Cherokee, and founder of First Nations Development Institute and First Peoples Worldwide. She also works with grassroots and tribal communities, sits on the boards of the Corporation for Enterprise Development and the Calvert School Investment Fund, and is an adviser to the United Nations on rural development.
Sarah: When you look ahead at the coming months, perhaps years, of economic downturn, what do you see coming, and what does indigenous experience teach us about what we should be doing?
President Obama assumes that through more spending we can stimulate the financial sector. But why would we want to save something that had no productivity for human life? Until we move away from that paradigm, I don’t hold out too much optimism for the next months, or the next years, or even the next seven generations.
Sarah: So what is an economy for?
Rebecca: The economy used to be about livelihoods and the provision of a household, but we’ve lost that purpose. We have created an economic system with a goal of material wealth, rather than human development.
Sarah: Sharing is hard when people fear that there isn’t enough to go around.
Rebecca: It is an obligation to share. So you design the economic system with an emphasis on sharing.
In modern U.S. society, individual property rights are treated as exclusive. If I own something, man, you can’t even put your foot on it. This ownership paradigm is about excluding people from resources because you’re afraid you’re going to run out.
Sarah: People are fearful because the things that they thought they could count on—retirement, or a job, or the value of their house—turn out to be unreliable. How can we move away from a fear-based system at a time when people have the most reasons to be fearful?
Rebecca: This is where I think indigenous people really hold a key: In their economies, there is a general safety net for all. There is no homelessness or grinding poverty. There is a band of general affluence and well-being which no one falls below.
We keep going into this paradigm of scarcity because fear is good for the capitalistic system. If you want to drive consumption, you’ve got to be fear based.
But God is in the space and silence. That is where it’s sacred. You look up on a starry night, and you feel yourself unfold, and that silence is where God is.
When people are consumed with filling all their space with stuff, and all silence with noise, you lose that sacredness. And then they are driven with consumption, consumption, consumption. The shopping mall becomes the cathedral. There you have capitalism. Even though it might be really good for the bottom line, it’s not good for a society.
We have to go back to the understanding that some things are sacred and cannot be profitized. No one owns Mother Earth. And living, breathing creations cannot be thrown away, or “externalized.” We have to be willing to pay the full cost for everything we use.
She ends with this…
What makes scarcity self-fulfilling? Fear. The more you’re fearful, the more you go out and buy. And pretty soon you run out of money and go into debt, and pretty soon the planet runs out of natural resources and places to put all the garbage.
Maintain the stance of abundance through tough times and through good times by having a spiritual base and good values—by caring about something other than yourself. That’s how you maintain abundance.
Abundance comes not from stuff. In fact, stuff is an indication of non-abundance. Abundance is in the sacred; it’s in the connection of love. We will find abundance through hard times when we find each other.