"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Friday, August 10, 2007

Juraj S. - What Will Be your Legacy?

Organizational behavior has stressed the importance of preparation for us future leaders of the 21st Century. However, the course has also emphasized the changes in human behavior from micro to macro and has used complex, conceptual models to explain human nature in its evolutionary form. The focus on change in human nature and the examination of core values are the basis for theories such as Spiral Dynamics and panarchy.
The quality of life in many third-world countries is well below par and because society places such tremendous importance on economic growth, it forgets that economic and technological developments are not measurements of quality of life. The basic indicators
to evaluate the aforementioned correctly are mortality rates, life expectancy and adult literacy. These statistics are concrete and verifiable, but when discussing human rights or the degree of satisfaction of the population, there are no sound methods of measurement. This is the focal point behind new paradigms emerging and replacing old ones in response to global complex problems such as hunger, poverty and violence. Dealing with these challenges requires 21st Century leaders who can deal with the chaos and change through the application of 21st Century concepts or through the development of personal creative roles explained by Prof. Karakas as being a social artist, a spiritual visionary and a cultural innovator. The following project will highlight global issues with respect to the importance of a great leader.

Over a billion people are missing essential needs like water. Furthermore, the richest six per cent of the world’s population consume a third of the world’s energy. To put this into perspective, one American consumes as much as fifty Haitians. It is not farfetched to argue that if third world countries could consume as much as the rest of the world, the planet would be on the brink of survival. It is for this reason one must consume responsibly and do his or her share to make the world more equitable. Equitable trade is an alternative form of commerce benefiting human resources in third-world countries as well as the environment, plunged by over consumption. Better working conditions and greater monetary compensation are some couple of the main benefits of equitable trade. It is a means of “hitting the brakes” on human and environmental exploitation for the countries South of the equator. This type of trade allows families to setup and organize their own community projects in the field of health, education and environmental protection. Equitable trade is a solution to the neoliberalist push for globalization whose primary goal is the increase of profits at the expense of the most basic human rights.

The new emerging paradigms developed in response to shared values of global consciousness such as cooperation, compassion, arts, honesty and universal ethics have taken shape in many micro and macro global awareness projects. Equitable trade is a large scale project in effect that has proven results that look even more promising for the future. This wide scale project is an example of the projection one individual or a group of individuals can accomplish through with the right mentality and dedication.

The theory of Spiral Dynamics is renowned worldwide for its progressive forces of core value systems referred to as “Memes”. Each Meme represents a different theme of existence including cultures and mental attitudes. Don Beck believes that different cultures and societies in the world can achieve completely different levels of Meme, but he asserts that it is preferable to be at the higher 2nd Tier Memes.

The focus of my project is urbanization defined as an increasing concentration of a population in a city, which induces the progressive discretion of the rural character of a region. This local project is based on the idea and success behind Sao Paulo from which many other overpopulated cities today such as Jakarta and Mexico could tremendously benefit from. During its economic boom, Sao Paulo attracted millions of people seeking prosperity. Contrary to their aspirations and ambitions, many residents found themselves living in one of the 12 000 shantytowns located in Sao Paulo. The government tried to expel the families, but they built more houses and even though this population had no service, the city had to eventually accept its provision. Through the resale of land, the population double, and even tripled in a few short years. Transport became an even greater problem with over four million cars circulating in a city of 18 million.

Sao Paulo’s situation is similar and can be recognized in many different major cities across the globe today: bad management and inflation on debt make it impossible to finance any public projects.
To reinstate culture and humanize the city, a little project took place in one of the poorest areas of Brazil. The idea was to gradually reinvent the local community and transform it by bringing together artists and intellectuals who have the ability to do so. Gilberto Dimenstein used the creative spirit of street gangs to inspire an organization called Aprendiz. It consisted of getting the younger people involved in the promotion of their district through spray painting. Today, Aprendiz engages several hundred young people who paint the city walls. The project was so successful, it earned UNESCO’s educational project by excellence.

Having visited the overpopulated city of Jakarta many times, I do believe there is a distinct resemblance to the case of Sao Paulo. However, Jakarta is overpopulated because of the mentality that more children earn more income, but when your average citizen earns four dollars a day, it is impossible to provide five children with education.

My legacy lies in building a community center where the youth of an Indonesian community

could enjoy gym and sports programs, general recreation and after school programs as well as

social events. These education and social facilities could increase the quality of life in the

community and if successful in its conception, could spawn more community centers moving the

project from micro to macro in a city in dire need of guidance. I believe that getting the young

people engaged in their community would be their method of repayment. I do not believe this to

be too much to ask in return and would be rewarding enough for me. In one sentence, my legacy

will be to take a local Indonesian community and have them achieve a higher level Meme.

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