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#rethinksuccess : Name at least three conditions of injustice you would like to address in a present or future economic development activity.

by Gijs van de Fliert

The theme of ebbf’s annual conference is Rethinking Success . A necessary step to create new, better forms of success, is to understand the underlying assumptions that are sustaining old forms of success.

Injustice is one of those elements and #ebbfmember Gijs van de Fliert offered some new and interesting ways to describe conditions of injustice.

“The conditions of injustice I was thinking of all center around the role of government, which I would love to address, but not sure how to do that when I am not involved in government. So here they are and perhaps some of you will have broader ideas on how to tackle them.

Injustice of Expedience
The first condition of injustice, I termed the Injustice of Expedience. Expedience is an interesting word; it sounds efficient and direct for a government to be expedient. Unfortunately, there is a darker side to this. When governments around the world make expedient decisions, it means they choose the lesser of two evils, or they choose their nation over others. For example, it is more expedient to close our borders to refugees, possibly pay another country to hold them within its borders, than it is to establish peace and prosperity thru development and other aids in those war torn-ridden impoverished countries. Expedience also used when not investing and thinking that our infrastructures will hold for another decade, because we do not want to raise taxes. Expedience is about not raising the education budget and instead enlarging our military budget, while the former is productive, the latter is destructive. It is all about kicking the proverbial can down the road; making things worse in the long run.

Government played for Fool Injustice
The second condition of injustice, I termed the Government played for Fool Injustice. We live in a world where companies (in particular global ones) arbitrage one country against another, or one state against another, to be able to have resources and facilities at minimal costs, either in tax incentives, free land, free water, minimal wages, etc. While these companies retain the right to reduce their labor over time because of efficiencies gained and in so doing saddle governments with the social costs to the community. Costs, such as unemployment benefit or health benefit support because of unsafe working practices, or pollutions generated for the wider community for lack of strong government oversight. As such, we note that global companies amass enormous cash surplus wealth, while governments have to borrow heavily to pay for the needed social services. In fact, the US for all its might is the largest debtor nation in the world, and many, more large economies are heading in a similar direction.

Tyranny of Rules
The third condition of injustice I termed the Tyranny of Rules and Regulations. When government services only rely on the established rules and regulations, a group of people always loses out; receives the short end of the stick. Our taxes have becomes so convoluted that transparency and thus justice is totally lacking. But also with rules of immigration, people find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place, like the DACA dreamers in the US.

By the way, the Tyranny of Rules and Regulation is also found in companies and other institutions, whether it is their HR policies, the ability of management to advance, promote or not promote someone by applying the rules mostly in management’s favor. How many institutions do not have multiple tier workers, such as those with open-ended contracts and benefits, those on fixed terms with less benefits, and a contractor with a short term contract and no benefits. I only recently realized that in this country (USA), healthcare has been closely associated with paid employment, whereas in other countries, healthcare is a right, no matter whether you have a paid job. For example, family members that volunteer as care takers for their loved ones are well employed, but because they do not get a salary; they are denied the same healthcare benefits at the same price as those salaried. Is that just?”

We believe that just reading through these concepts, understanding whether/how they apply to our own working lives, is a good step to create a new awareness of what is right and fair, and what is not. What new elements of good success, one worth aiming for, arise in you now after reading this?

Looking forward to #rethinksuccess together in Lisbon :

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