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  • R H
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Why do we NOT invest effectively in the poor and marginalized so they can participate in the global economy?

Nearly half of the world's population cannot effectively participate or contribute to the global economy. Basic economic theory holds that each 'participant' in the economy is a 'unit of productivity' providing a return on investment. In other words, it's more profitable to have people working and consuming than not. Yet nations continue to allow and accept that the poor and marginalized are - to borrow from another popular phrase - 'too big to succeed'.

In my view, the (relatively) small investment in infrastructure, education, and basic healthcare in the poor and marginalized will be more than made up by their increased productivity and spending. The rich think they're rich now, just imagine the wealth created by having 3 billion more people buying their stuff? I know there are obvious problems with this: corruption, unified effort, immediate ROI, etc. - but why is this such a 'tough sell' to national leadership? They're always looking for ways to increase the tax base.

3+ billion people now contribute to the world gross productivity. What if that were doubled? To me, this is the next threshold of economic growth -bringing in those who have been left out. Yet, we don't even talk about it. What do you think?

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  • Oct 25 2012: I recommend that you do research on the "Earth Summit" held in 1992 and the document it produced called "Agenda 21". The world got together after the Cold War ended and asked pretty much the same question. Instead of America getting out in front and leading, America's military industrialists and right wing paranoids did everything to kill the movement--the "sustainable development movement". It is still alive around the world and in the mind of some in the know in the US like yours truly, but there are military industrialists who depend on lack of social and progress and the conflict it tends to produce.
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      Oct 27 2012: The United States is a signatory country to Agenda 21, but because Agenda 21 is not a treaty, the Senate was unable to hold a formal debate or vote on it, nor was it ratified in any way by the executive branch. Several congressmen and senators, however, have spoken in Congress in support of Agenda 21; these include Representative Nancy Pelosi, Senator John Kerry, and Senator Harry Reid. Locally across the United States, over 528 cities are members of ICLEI, an international sustainability organization that broadly helps implement the Agenda 21 and Local Agenda 21 concepts across the world. The United States boasts nearly half of the ICLEI's global membership of 1,200 cities promoting sustainable development at a local level. As a first-world country, the United States features one of the most comprehensively documented Agenda 21 status reports.

      Perhaps you may have been misinformed on this issue.

      Bob.
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        R H 20+

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        Oct 27 2012: Thanks gentlemen for revealing and researching this effort of Agenda 21. (I assume '21' means 21st century). I take your response to indicate that there ARE efforts being made to invest in the poor & marginalized from the point of view of a possible productivity enhancement, and that this is not new. That's very encouraging for this question, but I wonder what the 'stumbling blocks' are. Is it int'l cooperation, matching gov't grants, unified focus, apathy, cultural barriers? Are there economist's researching the viability of such an investment/productivity approach to the poor and marginalized? I would like to find a research paper or read an economist's perspective on what would make this approach successful. I see this as an economic frontier with tremendous returns - on a very macro basis. I see the world getting richer - a 'rising tide raises all boats' kind of vision - with getting participation from the other half that currently can't participate. I get mired in misery, struggle, and defeat. The ability to ask such questions in this way that TED provides allows me an oasis of possibility. Thank you for participating.
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          Oct 27 2012: Agenda 21 ostensibly seeks to promote “sustainability” (environmentalism). “Sustainability” is an amorphous concept that can be interpreted to an extreme degree that would regulate and restrict many parts of our lives. When will the level of carbon emissions be low enough? How much must we reduce our consumption of fossil fuels? Preserving the environment is a dubious science, and what steps are really necessary to protect the environment are anyone’s guess. Agenda 21 goes well beyond environmentalism. Other broad goals include combating poverty, changing consumption patterns, promoting health, and reducing private property ownership, single-family homes, private car ownership, and privately owned farms. It seeks to cram people into small livable areas and institute population control. There is a plan for “social justice” that will redistribute wealth.

          The Obama administration has implemented much of this behind Congress' back through Executive Orders. Cap and Trade, which was defeated in Congress is now a EPA order and will shut down coal fired power plants throughout the US, many of the restrictive clauses in the Obamacare law reflect the Agenda 21 philosophy of control over the population.

          They are having great success convincing local governments in the U.S. to adopt their socialist and extreme environmentalist programs under the guise of feel-good buzz words. Left wing billionaire George Soros’s Open Society has provided $2,147,415 to ICLEI. Father of One Word Government.

          Obama signed Executive Order 13575 earlier this month, establishing a “White House Rural Council” prescribed by Agenda 21. The amount of government Obama has directed to administer this is staggering. Obama committed thousands of federal employees in 25 federal agencies to promote sustainability in rural areas, completely bypassing Congressional approval. Again.

          Have you heard about this on the news ... no way. Media control for the election.

          We are in trouble. Out of space. Bob.
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          Oct 27 2012: RH, the area of economic research you seek is called, or at least used to be called Human Capital. It is part of a broader field of scholarship called Labor Economics.
        • Oct 27 2012: I commend your heartfulness. Trouble is, heartlessness is becoming more and more powerful these days. Surely you must know of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement and they idea of wealth falling to 1% of the population while 99% struggle. That, I'm afraid, is the ugly destination of free market capitalism as a "TOTALITY".

          The impulses you feel to want to improve the standards of living and productivity of the poor I think represent a yearning that is part of human spirituality. It's where ideas like "communism" come from. The trouble is that idealism to change the world almost always defaults back to "winner take all" with 1% winners and 99% losers--and the cycles of resentment and revolution just repeat themselves.

          I believe that we can sustain change now through technology without it being an artificial redistribution of wealth where some overlord takes from some people and gives to others. Any hint of that kind of "redistribution or wealth" will be met with megaresistance. President Obama is on the right track in asserting that all echelons of society will be enriched if we stimulate the "middle class"--but look how vilified he is when all he is asking for is 4% more tax on people making over a quarter million.

          IMO there needs to be not just new jobs or new industries but new models of economy in which there is no need for faith or trust in a government administration because there are too many hateful ideologues around today with too much media power. I have ideas and vision on how to create new economy that "sells itself" but I am not a person of renown who can get the audience I need. Someone has to want to share my vision and accept that it's a business venture that involves risk. But there's no hocus pocus to it where I would ask anyone to suspend their disbelief while I work some magic. There are just some truths about technology and human capacity that are not being optimized and when addressed with engineering can create economy. Ask if interested.
      • Oct 27 2012: You didn't have to imply I'm "misinformed"--it's just that my history goes back way further than the players & numbers you talked about. You do not know everything just as I don't know everything. But try looking up Agenda 21 on searches today or go to YouTube and do searches. You will find way more wackos painting it as the nefarious "one world order" than you will find simple unbiased histories of it's evolution since 1992 or where and how to find some sort of "center" for the sustainable developmenent movement that common folk can tap into and support. I suggest even watching the last PBS airing of Frontline where you will see the depth and breadth of global warming deniers--you won't see their donors but suffice it to say that all these people didn't wake up with the same "mad on" for Al Gore and science at the same time. There have been camouflaged campaigns to undermine the sustainable development movement since its begininngs and your own siting shows only names associated with America's left. There is reason why there is nobody on your list from the right--but you'd have to throw yourself into the media world they have developed since 1994 and the "Republican Revolution" where as I tried to make clear is a flash point where American history split into at leat two compartments--one heavily filtered and biased by the right where science itself is portrayed as questionable theory if not worse, and the other either a somewhat neutral center or an MSNBC which is more a reaction to FOX than a station with a left wing agenda of its own.

        We both have knowledge or at least experience and that takes time to impart. I find no reason to imply that you are "mis" informed. You're apparently otherwise informed than I am--but I can say that I was at the prep-conferences for the Earth Summit as a journalist and I got to see Al Gore's presentation at the UN General Assembly in person. Putting myself there was my Idea so I deserve a little lattitude if not respect.
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          R H 20+

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          Oct 29 2012: Hello James. In response to: "...commend your heartfulness" & "...new models of economy". In response to the first one you mention the word 'communism'. I sincerely hope you don't suspect me of supporting, or even alluding, to such an utterly dismal method of social structure. I believe I have only referred to 'everyone getting richer' through an incentive based, investment and returns model towards the poor and marginalized, so that this 'half' of the world's population can participate for their own well-being, and contribute for everybody elses, therefore growing the world's productivity and the ensuing increase in broad-based wealth. My question is direct in asking why we are not investing in this 'challenged' market. 'Idealism', I believe - if I may -, is where the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights come from too. Regarding the second one, that is precisely what I'm seeking and supporting. New methods are required. My favorite analogy is that just as we cannot build or repair a super-computer with a hammer, we cannot use old methods of political infighting or wealth re-distribution with this new approach to an age-old issue. Thanks for your informed and impassioned participation.
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      R H 20+

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      Oct 27 2012: Thanks James. Please see response to Robert's reply.
      • Oct 30 2012: RH. This TED form of conversation has its limits. I don't usually do this but I offer you my e-mail address if you'd like to talk this out a little moe free form and less restrictive. You don't have to post your's here--jutt contact me through my address if you want to engage. No obligation.

        jim_mcg@verizon.net
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          R H 20+

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          Nov 2 2012: Thanks James. That's very generous. And believe me, if I wasn't working full time and had more time to devote to discussing this issue, I would love to. I did not expect so much response. I am also very grateful for the depth of info and experience that has been given. But I don't feel there's much more I can do with this subject at this point. Thanks for the offer.

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