Sociological (or Social) Sustainability is by far, the most frequently overlooked aspect of Systemic Sustainability. This is understandable in some ways, as human nature is fickle even on the best of days. The psychological nature of humanity is difficult to comprehend. The same people who would risk sacrificing themselves to save one another from a natural disaster, may very well kill each other on a whim should their respective governments decide it is time for war.
Some will claim that people are inherently good, but if this is the case, why must children be taught that it is wrong to steal and to lie? Attempting to fit all of the quirks of human nature into an already complex system is … challenging to say the least … but also necessary if true Systemic Sustainability is to be a realistic goal to be attained.
Sociological Sustainability is one of the three primary tenets of Whole System Sustainable Development (or Systemic Sustainability). The other two are economic (and financial) sustainability and environmental sustainability.
The focus on economic and financial sustainability is practically a given in virtually every aspect of modern life. Will someone make more money going to work and providing a service and time in exchange for a paycheck, or make more money with the work online? Is there more money to be made starting a private business?
Is the potential for reward worth it given the risk involved in starting a new business? Is driving this far to that job which pays better going to provide more of a positive return or result in an added cost more than the additional pay will compensate? People are not necessarily driven by greed, though financial considerations are always at the forefront of reasoning and functioning within modern society.
Environmental Sustainability is something that virtually everyone agrees is needed, regardless of whether or not they may believe it is always practical or beneficial. While some are fervent believers in the need to become better stewards of the planet, others may consider it to be beneficial, but not absolutely necessary … and certainly not if there is any excessive financial burden or too much inconvenience involved.
The key to tying the environmental and economic factors together, and making systemic sustainability a global goal that is not only attainable, but beneficial, lies in the oft-ignored realm of social sustainability. The shortest, most concise and succinct version of that is, if it is beneficial to the people, and if there is a tangible or measurable benefit, people will go out of their way to ensure both the economic and environmental aspects of sustainability.
It should be noted however, and not lightly, that this does not mean merely offering someone a reduction in their tax liabilities, but the provision of viable rewards that will provide a direct benefit, not only to the individual but to the community as a whole. (Read more about the Basic Tenets of Social Sustainability here)
ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE FOR FUNDING
One of the first objections that arises in any presentation, often even before the presentation has begun, is how exactly to fund such an operation. Current methods are not only detrimental to the persons receiving social assistance, but are generally bound to taxes and placing an undue burden on those members within a societal structure that are already productive and beneficial to the community as a whole. Thus, the first point needing to be addressed is how to structure the financing without punishing the producer.
Punishing the Producer
The author has written numerous articles and reports explaining why government cannot be the ultimate solution for systemically sustainable developments. Such articles may be forthcoming here depending ultimately on the decisions of the editorial board. It can easily be noted however, that despite nearly one hundred years of governments cooperative efforts through both the League of Nations, the United Nations and all of the associated governmental bodies, agencies and others, that these programs have largely failed the individual and the global society as a whole.
Nearly one-half of the population of the world lives in impoverished conditions with nearly one third of the population living on less than two US dollars per day. (Figures of "extreme poverty are classified as those people earning less than two US dollars per day. While this is the global standard, the numbers living in actual poverty are much higher) This should not be viewed as a successful effort, especially not after nearly a century of work.
In fairness to these organizations and all of the good that they have accomplished, perhaps this lack of success can be attributed to the fact that they are unduly restricted by the limited level of tax revenue that can be successfully generated to fund these programs.
However, history also shows that once tax levels begin surpassing the benefit received, prudent business dictates the move of the companies or corporate interests to other locations with lower tax burdens. Thus, it becomes necessary to look somewhere other than to government and the taxpayers in order to fund these efforts. Enter the Incorporated Foundation.
(Read more about the Principles of the Incorporated Foundation here)
The principles of the Incorporated Foundation are, in reality, little more than an integration of the principles of incorporation with an incorporated “parent” being owned by the foundation. The foundation serves as a the primary shareholder, and as such, receives the major share of the corporate proceeds in the same way any major shareholder and/or investor would.
An amount of the proceeds would be utilized for investment in additional corporate interests to be incorporated into the foundation, while additional proceeds would be used to supplement the social assistance programs without having to increase the taxes or otherwise imposing financial burdens on the productive and contributing members of society.
Education and Opportunities
Education must focus on the ability to establish the curricula in accordance with the individual aptitudes of the students. Enough of a focus must be placed on scholastic pursuits to allow even those with more vocational or technical skills to perform within society and the workplace, but should not replace other, equally important studies. All students however, should receive at least an introduction to problem solving skills and critical thinking. Apart from this, the educational institutions must focus on the areas of strength for each student.
The focus of the incorporated interests will still be on maintaining economic sustainability, but will not by necessity be driven solely by profit margins. As such, these locations shall provide additional support to the community by providing classroom instruction, areas for study and even paid work and apprenticeship programs for the local residents. At such a time as the basic necessities of the local residents are provided for, and there is a direct and tangible benefit for the continuation of sustainable development, the process and progress of human growth and development can be pursued in a more lasting and meaningful fashion.
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