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Question 5  — Answers | 5-1 | 5-2 | 5-3 |

Answer 5-1.
To transform countries with high unemployment to high employment, simply get rid of the miminum hourly wage. (I don't know if this constitutes upsetting the powers that be.) Without requiring employers to pay their employees at least a certain amount of money, the employers do not have to be so picky about choosing whom to hire, and would be more willing to hire those without experience.     [ Back ]

C. Gooch, 8-12-04

Answer 5-2.
How can countries with high unemployment achieve full employment and move towards economic self-sufficiency without upsetting the powers that be?

To solve this issue I sought for a metaphor with which to compare it. I relaxed for a few minutes and simply waited for the first image to come to mind.

I saw a large open canyon, and as I pondered this, I thought, this represents all the people without jobs. You resolve a large hole by filling it in. This is the solution, but the challenge is in getting the dirt while not disturbing other areas. So go to a place where dirt is in excess.

This brought to mind the concept of volunteers and retirees. Sending retired and skilled people to these places to teach them new skills that may be employed to create jobs and generate revenue. Give a man a fish; feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.

A second metaphor came to mind — that of a giant cob of corn. Now what could this have to do with the problem? Canned corn came to mind. The kernels are on the cob, but need to be removed and put where they are useful.

Again, the abundant kernels on the cob represent the resources of retired skillful people. The cob is where they live, which is usually places of abundance. Removing them from the cob is sending them into places to teach and help people to become self-sufficient. This all speaks to my original idea.     [ Back ]

Dave Farquhar, 8-13-04

Answer 5-3.
I am experimenting with Complexity science as a method for tackling problems (especially the seemingly intractable ones). One key reason for this direction is that I believe Complexity holds certain key processes that underlie all physical, biological, psychological, and social processes. That should make it a useful problem-solving tool.

Anyway...I had a hard time wrapping my mind around this issue. Finally, I realized that it may be because it gives one parameter (high unemployment) and several restrictions (full employment, don't upset the powers, and move toward economic self-sufficiency).

Unemployment is merely a symptom. Conceivably, we might look at the cause of the unemployment — but that data is not available in this format. The "cure" for this problem would be very different if the unemployment is due to ethnic cleansing, drought, industrialization, or displacement. We also don't really know if full employment will upset the powers, or delight them!

So... My answer will have to be that an accurate and innovative answer requires the fewest possible restrictions and the greatest amount of information before we can even begin to apply any particular thinking method. Otherwise, we are engaging in wild speculation which, although it has its uses, is limited.

Thanks for the exercise!     [ Back ]

Steve Wallis, 8-17-04 Return to top of page

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