Thoughts about the future By Ralf Stüttgen

June 3, 2008 at 4:27 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

 

 

 

                                                                             Abstract   

 

The key to economic development, and also to the whole future of humankind is knowledge. Formal education as well as informal of every kind – less than a tenth of the world’s people can be called well educated. They enjoy a good standard of living. The rest suffer in ignorance and poverty: from the Second World down to the Third World.

 

Only true equality in education, worldwide, can overcome this senseless injustice and dangerous situation. Education in most countries, where it is available at all, remains of poor quality and does not benefit the recipients. Their governments are to be blamed. They lack the foresight and finance to improve things.

 

Is it possible to internationalize education; take it out of the hands of individual governments, in order to enforce high quality standards and availability? The most developed nations would have to supply not only money but also the teachers. It would be to their own long-term benefit to do this.

 

Knowledge may also be the centerpiece for the world’s more distant future: Physical immortality of the individual, intelligent animals and plants, new species and the conversion of the whole universe into living beings, leading to a paradise on earth.

 

                                                                    ————————

 

Human resource development is the key to a better future for humanity. Education, knowledge and development are inseparably intertwined.

 

It is blatantly obvious that just pouring money into Third World countries is not the answer to their backwardness and underdevelopment. Financial aid to underdeveloped countries very often leads only to poor governance and corruption; whereas the Marshall Plan in devastated Western Europe after the War was financial assistance that led to an economic miracle in less than a decade. The states of Western Europe were completely devastated but unlike the rundown states of the Third World there were still sufficient numbers of educated and skillful people who could use the aid properly and rebuild.

 

 For some the resulting differences in outcomes are perplexing and are explained by a variety of supposed causes: No infrastructure, climatic conditions, ethnic, racial and cultural factors, Colonialism, poverty, famines, Communism, lack of industrialization and poor work practices. However, some realize that there is a difference between the ways people work which are largely dictated by their levels of skill and education. The key to efficiency is in the knowledge and skills of the human resources involved in the economy and it is ironic to think that this essential knowledge factor is the intangible that was recognized by cargo cultists in primitive societies, if mistakenly within their limited terms of reference and experience. They saw and knew instinctively that hard work per se was not enough to attain European manufactured goods. With their restricted insights they thought that there was a magical knowledge of formula and actions that took place in the offices and in the actions of the expatriates whom they saw. Essentially they got it right in pinpointing knowledge as the defining factor that made all the difference in the creation of goods.

 

Western powers and colonial administrations readily understood the link between education and prosperity; at least for their own citizens. Unfortunately many leaders in newly independent countries while pursuing nationalistic goals made the fatal mistake of getting rid of the skilled foreigners in their respective countries and replacing them with poorly trained locals, with disastrous results.

 

Economic injustice and inequality between the First and Third World are the direct results of the uneven distribution of knowledge.

 

Education in the Third World is largely in shambles, this directly leads to the abuse of human rights and the impoverishment of workers.

 

“Included in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Art. 26.2), reiterated in other major international instruments, human rights education is an integral part of the right to education and has gained recognition as a human right in itself.”

(UNESCO Education Peace and Human Rights Education)

 

Many politicians in the Third World and indeed elsewhere find this concept hard to grasp.

 

Education is itself a human right that should be available to all children. If governments refuse to respect this right on moral grounds the case for the practicality of providing education in economic and financial interests should be forcedly made.

 

Restrictive and manipulative government policies on populations of ill-educated peoples further retard their enterprising and entrepreneurial skills and aggravate economic disadvantage.

 

The disparity in educational standards between the Arabs and the Israelis and the corresponding wealth inequality is a direct cause of tension in the Middle East and it is in the interests of world peace that this should be addressed.

 

Professor Israel Shahak from his study of the Talmud, Jewish history and Zionism maintained that Judaism often causes “racism, discrimination, and xenophobia” among some Jews and this influences their attitude to non-Jews. This could be a problem, if true, for Israel in educating their non-Jewish citizens.

 

It is clear that many governments around the world do not understand the relationship that exists between education and their national economies. Countries that are resource rich allow outsiders to exploit their resources without any value added activities because they lack local expertise. A situation brought about by their failure to educate their people. Just educating an elite class is not the answer. Well educated citizens produce more, earn more and pay more taxes.

 

The demise of the Soviet Union was strongly related to the poor quality of general education on offer to their people. Seventy years of xenophobia and a closed mind had the country fall behind the West in many aspects, from management skills to the intellectual ability to handle dissent in a democratic atmosphere.

 

No country can be truly developed without an adequate investment in education and training. Past IBM Chief, Louis V Gerstner, Jr. once said, speaking of the need for educated workers: “We can teach them what they need to run a machine… What is killing us is having to teach them to read, compute and think.”

 

In many postcolonial countries the practice of taking loans has only left them substantially in a neocolonial-dependency situation. There is not the expertise to utilize these loans and this very often leads only to further indebtedness and corruption. Even if such loans are not repaid, the First World lenders still win with the purchase of goods from them.

 

The only way to really help these countries is to help them educate their populations.

 

Well educated people will understand the imperatives of good environmental policies and the survival of indigenous peoples depends on their ability to adapt and for them the only thing that will empower them is education.

 

The turning over of land and resources to uneducated people can only lead to disaster. A primary example of this is Mugabe removing white farmers from their farms in Zimbabwe and handing land over to people with no idea about commercial farming. From the breadbasket of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe is now practically a wasteland.

 

World history is replete with dangerous and ill-educated leaders who oversimplify problems and fall prey to adolescent ideas and solutions, like Hitler with his racism and dreams of great wars.

 

Problems of overpopulation will only be solved with sufficient education. Educated women are far more likely to restrict the number of children they have.

 

It is now imperative that a new NATO army of educators be formed to facilitate programmes of world-wide education to the masses.

 

International agencies like the United Nations and the Commonwealth will have to be utilized and be at the vanguard as the promoters and facilitators of mass education.

 

Only humankind as a whole can revolutionize and harness the ideas and will of humanity to implement global education policies. Think of the results such policies would have in terms of research and development for our planet. Problems would now be tackled by countless millions of educated thinkers.

 

Education does not belong to one country, gender, race or culture. As most national governments today neglect education for their people, it can no longer be left to them. It has to be put into the hands of an international education authority, able to enforce high academic standards for everybody worldwide.

 

The education of the masses will usher in the further development of humanity and is a prerequisite for it. Cognition and knowledge will facilitate and rescue humankind from mere survival and open up further evolutionary processes. The enhancement of thinking and brain power will remove the element of chance from so much of present day human activity and eventually lead to physical organic changes in homo sapiens and other beings.

 

It is not beyond the realms of evolutionary possibilities that with the outpouring of human intelligence the health and physical well-being of all people will be dramatically improved. With the increasing understanding of biology and non-human organisms, the prospect of human immortality and the emergence of rational animals in a world fed and sustained by plants and inorganic materials as yet unutilized and unknown offers a paradisiacal future for all life.

 

With the increasing understanding of genetics and the bodily ageing process there will be endless opportunities to reverse the ill effects of ageing and sustain life. It may be asked who wants to live for ever? Stephen Hawking has provided us with an answer: “There is so much to be done.”

 

We all want a better future. Let us decide to do something about it. Nothing else really matters. Universal education is the key. We know what needs to be done. Let others waste their time in doubt and indecision.

 

 

(Ralf would welcome feedback on his Thoughts about the future. Please leave a comment.)

Advertisements

4 Comments

  1. Damn said,

    A good site, good short contents of the good work. Congratulations ! 4b8d5e

  2. Ken said,

    Dr Taylor teaches us how to attain deep inner peace – easily, simply, without drugs, anytime we want it. Forgive me for doing everything I can to be sure everyone reads this book and sees this video, but I think all of us benefit and in the larger sense, if everyone reads this, our world will benefit in a very large way.

  3. Becky said,

    Great site! Just a simple question in mind: when people are hungry, would they feed themselves with Education? We are all in the quagmire & loop turning and moving with the cycle of wealth, education and food (to be considered first according with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs). The Paradise you mentioned would be the ideal but, where do we get the challenges in life that makes it more colourful. Just some thoughts.

  4. deberigny said,

    “Lack of education not only hurts employment, but hurts democracy as well. You can’t have good government when people don’t understand policies.” Gaurav Sodhi

    The piece below lends strong support to Ralf’s thesis.

    Aid linked to progress will not solve Pacific crisis: report
    KIRSTY NEEDHAM DEPUTY FOREIGN EDITOR
    21/08/2008 12:00:01 AM

    TYING Pacific aid to progress indicators and guest worker schemes will not solve a security crisis on Australia’s doorstep, argue the authors of a new report, The Bipolar Pacific. .

    The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, signed aid agreements with Papua New Guinea and Samoa at the Pacific Forum in Niue yesterday. The agreements tie funding to improved governance. A pilot guest worker scheme will separately allow 2500 Pacific workers to take up horticultural jobs in Australia for seven months.

    But Gaurav Sodhi,a policy analyst with the Centre for Independent Studies, said the guest worker scheme would not solve the broader employment problem in the Pacific and he was “sceptical about aid making a difference in Papua New Guinea”.

    He said that rather than trying to measure good governance, it would be better if the Australian Government targeted education in these countries.

    The report, by Mr Sodhi and Professor Helen Hughes, paints a picture of a split Pacific: a group of moderately successful islands including Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands and French Polynesia, is characterised by solid education systems bringing migration opportunities that encouraged reinvestment and economic and political reform.

    A second group, including Papua New Guinea, Fiji and the Solomon Islands, is described as stagnating at best. Against a backdrop of high unemployment, high illiteracy and rocketing population growth, corruption and violence was commonplace. Few families had running water, electricity or health care. Four in five Pacific Island men were underemployed or unemployed. In resource-rich PNG and the Solomon Islands, the education vacuum meant expatriates, not locals, filled jobs.

    Yet both groups of countries had received high levels of aid.

    In many islands, small business activity was discouraged by governments dependent on aid that favoured more formal programs, the report argued.

    “Developed countries always think the reason aid money doesn’t work is that these countries deliberately mismanage … but PNG have money flowing out of their ears with the resources boom,” said Mr Sodhi. “They need to make tough decisions on the structure of their economy.”

    The most recent PNG election campaign involved handing out beer and pigs from the back of utes to buy votes, Mr Sodhi said.

    “Lack of education not only hurts employment, but hurts democracy as well. You can’t have good government when people don’t understand policies,” he said.

    Two measures that would make a difference in Papua New Guinea were a land survey that would lead to farmers knowing how much of their crops they could keep; and road construction. He said while the Government parked mining revenues in a “future fund”, the fastest growing agricultural centre in the highlands remained unconnected to Port Moresby by good roads.

    It was only an unfortunate coincidence that Pacific nations with links to France, the United States and New Zealand had seen success, while those historically associated with Australia were in the failed group, Mr Sodhi said.

    Source: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/08/20/1218911828439. …

    © SMH

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: