Bombardment. A word that describes the amount of information we receive daily about the economic crisis. We feel threatened from every side of the globe; break down of the euro, emerging markets’ growth slowing down, reforms needed in the United States…
What do people understand from these propagations? How do we feel? Especially the transformational generation; one that some coin the ‘lost generation’? The Youth. What do we think of our prospects in this uncertain paradigm that is put forward?
Sixty years ago, the world entered a new financial era, the baby boomers’ business cycle. This era can be defined as ‘mergers and acquisitions’, this term being relevant to all aspects of society during this time. How much can we get? What can we get? And can we get more? From the housewife acquiring her new vacuum cleaner to the CEO of an oil company acquiring a developing country’s fossil fuels, improvements in business mirrored onto society, developing mass consumption. People, at least in the West, were ‘living the dream’. From this expansionist era, disillusion and fallibility operated at full blown and delivered the goods; the depleted West created its wealth on disparity of resources creating a worldwide financial bubble that would serve Western prosperous ambitions.
Finally, the bubble burst. Those critical thinkers who had envisioned the housing market to erupt had done so since the 1990’s. Warning signs had been sent, think tanks had been created, and the Club of Rome had shared their concerns about our common future. Presently, we are in a plight, asking for better, playing the blame game, condemning the ones who had once misled us. In this confused ecosphere, the only thing we know is that it is the end of the hedonist business cycle. The exhilaration that people and nations needed to overcome the traumas of WWII is insolvent now. The question, we need to ask is what do we want next?
A lot of people feel sorry for our generation, and a lot of us probably would have wished for an earlier birth. I believe that we should not feel sorry for ourselves; we have one of the greatest opportunities of the century to be part of a new era. Like the late baby-boomers, we are part of a transformational generation. If we take this chance, we will get to act on what we want next. Building a stable future that lay on solid ground sounds very ideological and naïve. Nonetheless, it is possible. Politicians, economists, business leaders have understood that we need to say our goodbyes to hedonist corporate behaviours.
‘Sustainability’ is the new politically correct word that is being used to encompass all that relates to enduring human needs. Climate change, eco-systems, green energy, the economy, diversity, smarter technologies are enclosed in this expression that unifies everybody behind the subsistence of human kind. ‘Sustainability’ is and will be used in business for a long-time as we perceive changes towards responsible behaviours, business as socially involved, and a force for good. These new ideals and mottos endorsed by the very individuals who led us to this momentum do not sound realistic and viable to the ears of many sceptics. Why should we trust people who abused the system?
And this is exactly the point; we will never drive change if we follow their paths and their rules. Mirroring our beliefs onto theirs to shape our place in society will not work as the current system is gasping its last breaths; we need leaders for Tomorrow who will officially start off the race to the age of sustainability. We thought we started with the election of Obama, but electing someone who is a perfect product of his time does not bring change, it brings reassurance, it brings hope to the ones who need guidance to visualise the future.
From recent research brought about by the Apollo-Gaia project created in early 2005 which focuses on the study of the earth’s feedback systems relating to climate change, experts have found that the projected 4 degrees’ increase in temperature for 2100 by the Copenhagen Climate summit is unrealistic. The actual increase could be of 15.8 degrees taking into accounts all of the earth’s sensitivity systems. The changes that we have experienced recently with the climate and seasons are the result of a variation of only 0.8 degrees. Hence, it is not a matter of sustainability anymore, trying to respond to the changes around us, it is about survival.
Researchers from the Apollo-Gaia project state that we have seventy years to change our whole system around before the earth sets on a runaway behaviour leading us to our perdition.
Therefore, here is a call-out for real leaders for the seventy years challenge. Do we really want to be coined the ‘lost generation’? With the near-complete globalisation that we are experiencing we become more informed and better educated.
In the 50’s, you had perhaps a minority of graduates who spoke a second language, nowadays it has become usual to see people speaking more than two languages and acquiring better qualifications than ever before.
Consequently, if we have the brains, the information and the aptitude to do it, the only thing that is missing is courage. Courage to change the course of time, courage to lead creatively, courage to think outside of the box, courage to face our own vulnerability against nature.
Limitless. Is the word that should be appointed to our generation. Limitless in terms of thinking, innovation, creation and reconstruction. Leaders of tomorrow will not try to reassure the public by selling dejà-vus and dreary concepts; increasing taxes, increasing regulation, nationalising failing institutions, giving government bail-outs … and blah blah blah. Creative leaders will not be scared to ask real questions and finally fight for the preservation of human rights, human kind and the natural environment.
As young and informed individuals, we should not stand anymore for hypocritical observations of human misery caused by governments; younger we witnessed international failures in Bosnia and Rwanda, currently we are witnessing the same in Syria, literally observing massacres through the eyes of UN observers.
Winston Churchill was accused by his Conservative peers to be a traitor as he did not defend the Conservatives’ policies. Churchill followed his independence of heart and mind to serve his nation. Accordingly, this kind of independent leadership that focuses on the benefits to society is the one we need.
As George Bernard Shaw said so well; “You see things; and you say why? But I dream things that never were; and I say Why not?”
by Dea Gjinovci