Poverty is a complex concept, not to say the least culturally defined. What we should talk about is life quality in terms of happiness. And here lies a paradox. It seems that the moving from absolute poverty at survival level to the next signifies a strong increase in happiness, but when you slide up the income scale there is no direct correlation in between an added dollar and an extra smiley face. Reducing marginal returns. In this context, maybe the developed world has something to learn from the developing, with their often hard living conditions, often need to keep their spirit and creativity levels high, and ingenuity to fix the situation and then making you see another day makes you happier. I've seen this power first-hand during my stay in Uganda 2001-02. Spiritual Poverty is also worth considering a change!
But, if we talk about strictly financial poverty, there is a multitude of complex cause-and-effect loops in a systems dynamics making it hard to know where to begin. But here lies the clue - it is with this complex interdependence of mixed root causes you have to solve it in a multi-dimensional way, with many simultaneously operating sustainability innovations. Look at it this way. HIV/AIDS takes away the bread winner of the family, the teacher from the kid and the doctor from the town in Sub-Saharan Africa. Global warming and Climate Change leads to increased floods in Bangladesh and droughts elsewhere. Inequal distribution of risk capital leads to a vicious circle of low wage - low savings - low financing of ventures. Low access to Internet and cell-phones leads to extremely high transaction costs for the locally operating micro-entrepreneur and cash crop farmer. All this contributes to the status quo of an absolute poverty level kept high.
So, at the same time, we need a HIV/AIDS vaccine, distributed renewable energy, cellphones, a $100 computer not just for the school kid and micro credit. And especially a combination of all these.
And millions of sustainability innovations and ventures beyond this, both in number of innovations, and in the ventures deploying the already found innovations, franchising everywhere, to every community. Thus, my premier gift to the humanity is the development of a concept focusing the business organizing taking these problems and turning them into business opportunities: Sustainopreneurship. Business with a Cause!
On World Poverty Day, October 17, a special publishing will be done of this concept - be sure to return to this blog to see a great event, where the concept is given to the public domain in a very special context making it flourish from a very specific spot freely accessible!
A last word: Blog Action Day for this blog with the themes environment last year, and poverty this year is extended to All Media Action Year for me, since I am devoting all my days to the development and further flourishing of this concept in the virtual world and in real life - Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Sustainability - with aims to solve sustainability-related problems such as climate change and poverty.
And from now on, this blog will be starting to tell the story leading to the book (see sidebar), marking this blog as a starting point! Look out for the first post soon!