With the current state of affairs and given some of the candidates who are running for the Presidency, it has become ever more important for USA to have more Social Entrepreneurs. What is a social Entrepreneur? It is an individual who has a vision, who has identified some social, political, economic, health, or education problem within the society and has taken upon himself/herself to do something about it.
Historically the philanthropists would fall into this categories, but there are others who clearly fall into that category, individuals such as Florence Nightingale creating the first nursing school, which lead to creating a highly trained and educated medical personnel who have helped the sick and injured throughout the world. Like Professor Mohammad Yunus a Noble Peace Prize winner and founder of micro-financing helping poor people in Bangladesh with small credit so to start a business and improve their economic conditions and get out of poverty. His vision grew and micro-financing has become popular and Grameen Bank also known as the Village Bank, was created by Professor Yunus leading the charge for micro-financing. Like Bill Drayton who created an organization called Ashoka who would identify the individuals with visions and promote them with financial support, creditbility and certain global strength. Like Ela Bhatt, founder of Self-Employed Women’s Association in India, and Wangari Maathai, Noble Peach Prize winner and founder of Green Belt Movement in Kenya saving the environment and creating a movement for women who have been marginalized in Asia, and Africa. Like Loui Pasteur who discovered Penicillin and saving millions of lives since its discoveries. Like Bill Gate, co-creator of Microsoft and former CEO of Microsoft who has initiated program to improve education and help to eradicate poverty and illiteracy in poor African nations.
Many organizations such as; Lions Clubs, the Boy and Girls Scouts, Goodwill Industries, Urban League, the Salvation Army, the NAACP, Hull House, Rotary International, the PTA, the YWCA, the league of Women Voters, and countless labor unions, all are creation of individuals who saw the need for action to eliminate the problems that they saw in the society.
It is a well-known fact that in the recent decades, the transfer of wealth has been shifted from lower and middle class to the top high income class. This top high income class is made of One Percent of the American income earners population and to make the matter worth, ten percent of this One Percent has amassed so much wealth which is equivalent to almost one half of the world’s population wealth. Unfortunately the trend is continuing and there is no serious efforts to stop and reverse this trend.
On the other hand the government’s programs which could help the poor and low income people are being tailored and reduced with the excuse of not having much budget to support these programs. Well the reason being that the millionaires and billionaires are dodging their responsibilities of paying their fair share of tax and as the result the government is having less revenue when taxes are not paid. Further, the same group strongly lobby the government to spend the budget on programs that they benefit from such as defense, incarcerations (private prison system), private insurance companies and pharmaceutical industries. No wonder many of these groups are anti Affordable Care Act (Obama Care), because by repealing the Obama Care, the private insurance company can charge whatever they want and refuse to provide health coverage to anyone they chose to.
It is unfortunate that the social entrepreneurs need to take the responsibilities that are clearly within the purview and domain of the government. It also unfortunate to witness so much of the tax payers money being wasted on programs that only benefit a very few people, the highly super rich people who for all practical purposes control the government, in not owning it outright.
What are the problems that need social entrepreneurs’ intervention? Housing, health, education, environment, liberty, and safety to name a few.
Housing, tens of thousands of Americans are literally homeless and live and sleep on the streets of the big cities. Many of them are families with small children. All one has to do to look at the public areas in particular public parks, around city government’s building, under the bridges, and in the streets of big cities such as Los Angeles. At night and early morning all one can see in these locations, people bundled up in their belongings. The richest country on earth should not have homeless people living on the streets. Most of these homeless people are not mentally sick and do not wish to be living on the streets, but due to economic hardship, high cost of housing, and lack of employment opportunities, they have become homeless. Adding insult to injuries a large number of these homeless group are veterans who were lured to join the military with great benefit, but once their services were no longer needed or become injured and had to be discharged, they were left on their own without much economic or health support.
Health, although there is Obama Care, but this health policy still lives millions of people without any coverage. Millions of others although have Obama Care coverage, but may not be able to afford the co-pay, therefore could not effectively use the benefit of this health care coverage. Need a social entrepreneur to champion national health care program where Medicare for all to be implemented without any co-payment and the coverage to include health, dental, and vision. It is ironic that both pre Obama Care as well as under Obama Care, one has to have to have separate insurance for health, vision, and dental. That means that eyes and teeth are not part of the human body and need to have their own separate insurance coverage. It is truly ODD policy.
Education, the quality of education has dramatically decreased from K-1 to K12. Many politicians and others have talked about it, but nothing has been done. In fact the education budget is the first thing that each politician in position of authority will chop. This is true for all the states of the Union as well as the federal government. Budgets have been cut, many teachers use their own money to provide school supplies for the students, teachers are expected to be the teachers, babysitters, and parents, but yet they are highly disrespected by the parents, the students, and the society as a whole. A plumber without any degree makes more money that a teacher who has to earn a degree and with teaching credentials. The plumber does his job and gets paid without being insulted, disrespected, while the teacher gets paid little, is disrespected and in some cases their properties (vehicles) and their lives are in dangers as some of the students damage the teacher’s vehicle and in some instances the teachers have been physically attacked by the students, mainly at high-school level.
Many of the right wing politicians are anti-education and as soon as anyone promotes free education for all or wants to increase the budget, they are immediately attacked by these groups. I suppose keeping an uneducated and uninformed society is much easier to control than an educated and well informed society.
Environment, while tens of thousands of scientists throughout the world have declared that the earth is getting warmer and causing the massive climate change as well as causing melt down of the icebergs and rising the sea level, many right wing politicians in the US have declared that global warming is a hoax and made fun of those scientists. It is amazing that these climate change deniers refuse to see what is happening right in front of their own eyes. The climate change has caused the severe tornados, storms, snow fall, rain in many areas of the US while other areas such as California is suffering from draught. The winters in the East have become much more severe, while the west of the USA is suffering from lack of rain and snow. In some places in the world such as Bangladesh many villagers who live by the shore have lost their land and livelihood due to rise in sea level washing their homes and lands away.
Oceans are getting warmer and more acidic causing the sea creature to suffer and losing their food source. We the human beings live off of the oceans and feed ourselves from the oceans. Losing the oceans will have dire impact on human’s lifestyle.
Liberty, while other countries are heading for human progression and freedom, in the USA, such rights are being restricted. These rights are women’s right to choose, the gays, lesbians, and transgender who are being restricted as to which restrooms they could go to relief themselves and giving the rights to the vendors to refuse service gays, lesbians, or transgender. These groups are being punished for being who they are which is not fault of their own. It is as if to pass a law to discriminate against dark hair short, bald, or tall people. We should not pass laws to punish people for what they are which is not matter of choice.
Of course discrimination based on race, ethnicity, although is illegal, but has become more common, in particular against the individuals who are either Moslem or come from Middle East region as being labeled as terrorists. The African Americans still are suffering from discrimination, in particular when it comes to their treatment by the law enforcement and judicial system.
Safety, some communities attempt to pass ordinance to force the food manufacturers to mark their product if they are genetically altered/engineered, but such labeling was fiercely fought back by special interests such as Monsanto who is one of the largest food manufacturer in the USA. Americans do not have the right to know what is in their food and how it is made which they have paid for. They are being told “Just shut and eat it”. The recent fiasco with city of Flint water contamination causing thousands of people drinking highly contaminated water which would have long terms health effects in particular on the brain development of the children, like the recent gas leak in Porter Ranch, in Los Angeles, California.
These and other issues need corrections and implementation of programs to correct the ills, defects, problems described above. The social entrepreneurs are needed urgently and immediately, unless by some miracle the government initiates programs to address these issues followed by effective solutions.