EUROPEAN PAPERS ON THE NEW WELFARE

Jobs-led development incorporating svecchiamento as an asset?

6. Vision and the plan of action

Knowledge and politics are two necessary tools in addressing the problems, dangers and threats facing the contemporary world. It is the only approach realizing the opportunities we are being offered. Politics should not be striving solely for political power, it should not be reduced to obtaining a ticket for power, grabbing it and keeping it. Politics, just like science, should be mainly the art of problem solving. Opening the Indira Gandhi conference ‘India — next decade’ in November 2004, Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh said that the political process has to find its true role and that is not just power grab. He pointed out that politics has to rediscover — should we say find — its role as a purposeful instrument for managing — and we should add stimulating — social change. In order to be capable of solving problems, the political process has to be intertwined with knowledge and creativity. In parallel with the Indira Gandhi conference in New Delhi there was a conference “Uncommon opportunities: A Road for Employment, Food and Global Security”. This was one of the pre-conferences preceding the World Academy of Art and Science general assembly to be held in November 2005 in Zagreb focusing on the future of knowledge and covering among others the following topics: politics in knowledge society, uncertainties and policy making, changing our minds: electronic and chemical modifications of our cognition and emotions, revolution of rising expectations and how to provide a constructive response, jobs and employment in a global society, demographic transition, jobs or jihads as a security issue, and the changing role of science and scientists.
Svecchiamento will be specifically addressed at the Zagreb WAAS General Assembly. Jobs-led comprehensive sustainable development appears as a strategy for reaching a goal of prosperous, employed, healthy and happy people regardless of their age involved in accomplishing tasks that each one of them can do in the best way. Sustainable development implies constantly increasing human options. Freedom — as emphasized by Amartya Sen — is an essential ingredient of development. It is necessary that the knowledge-based economy encompasses not just the elite, or only a middle-class, but everybody. Knowledge-based society cannot be an island in a sea of mediocrity. The spirit of knowledge has to permeate the entire society, the entire nation, the entire country, and — of course — the entire world.
Certainly, knowledge and creativity have been at the basis of our evolution, but so have also been solidarity and compassion. These characteristics are also necessary today as we build a knowledge-based society. Solidarity and compassion will help each one of us to find his/her best place and — at the same time — will provide support for those who are presently in need — disabled, underprivileged, presently unhealthy and uneducated, all the exploited and particularly women and children, all oppressed minorities, so that eventually everybody would make a significant contribution to comprehensive sustainable development.
The development of the strategy of realizing job-led growth is one of the primary goals of the Zagreb World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS) general assembly. “Employment has to be recognized as a fundamental human right, the economic equivalent of the right to vote. Access to gainful employment constitutes the economic franchise that lends legitimacy and functionality to a market economy.”25 Employment cannot be restricted to a specific age group. Actually, it is necessary to be able to have the first employment not later than in the early twenties, so that families can be formed thereby enabling them to have offspring. On the other hand, even very old persons can be usefully employed, as we emphasized particularly in jobs requiring risk taking based on credentials and experience. Prime minister Singh spoke of about 100 million new jobs in India by 2010, and normalizing according to the size of the population means that e.g. Croatia should create about half a million new jobs. This could bring the total employment in Croatia to about two million persons, which was reached at the peak of industrialization in the late ’80s of the 20th century.
Creating new jobs requires initiatives, innovation, knowledge and proper political action. However, jobs are open in a global market influenced by migration and outsourcing. This implies that each country and each region have to find their specific niche of excellence and at the same time secure the exportation of their products. Though we speak about knowledge-based economy and though we emphasized that education, research and healthcare are domains requiring large human resources, jobs have to be created in various activities and this is where the bottom-up creativity is best manifested. It has to be allowed to flourish and it has to be supported. Each country has to establish and maintain an innovative, creative and competitive climate and this requires political action which is culture sensitive.
Obviously, this cannot be left just to one event, e.g. the general assembly. It is necessary to establish a continuous task force. We have already pointed out that neither the political structure nor the political process alone can secure the realization of jobs-led growth, and that an academic-research system alone does not achieve it either. Actually, international, global and European dimensions have to be built in from the start. Building a knowledge-based society implies an intertwining of excellence, general lifelong education of everybody, politics with all its uncertainties and interest and knowledge with its characteristic search for truth. All European countries, specifically countries in South East Europe (SEE) are integrated internationally and in various European associations. Their academies and universities are integrated in Allea (All European Academies) and in the InterAcademy Panel (association of all world academies), as well as ICSU (International Council for Science, an association of most of international scientific unions, e.g. IUPAC — International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry, and similarly IUPAP for physics). In various ways these countries are integrated in the European Research Area and European Higher Education Area. In addition, scientists and scholars from Europe and SEE are individual members of Academia Europaea, of the European Academy of Science and Arts and of the World Academy. Various international non-governmental organizations, like Pugwash and The Club of Rome, have their national chapters in many European and specifically SEE countries.
A permanent task force embedded in the international and European system would be a combined structure involving national fellows of the WAAS, members of all European academies, possibly national chapters of The Club of Rome and Pugwash. Such a structure in SEE could be based on Forum Bled, Inter-university centre Dubrovnik, Black Sea University, and particularly the impressive structure of international institutes in Trieste, and on national academies, universities and research institutes. These structures would have from the start international and specifically European dimensions, they would have significant scientific and scholarly credentials, and through their membership particularly in WAAS, The Club of Rome and Pugwash and through their multiple connections, would have necessary political impact. The first, specific task of such a structure in SEE would be to initiate a jobs-led comprehensive sustainable development including everybody.

25 Uncommon Opportunities, An Agenda for Peace and Equitable Development, Report of the International Commission on Peace and Food, Second edition, November 20, 2004.


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