Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Stepping Back And Taking Two New Views

As I have watched and participated in the start-up of Elevita, I have been struck by many realizations. Two of these realizations are as follows. One of Elevita's goals is to constructively address a basic problem: members of our species are not able to live out their lives because their time here on earth is cut short because of the poverty they experience. For me, there is a very profound disconnect inherent to this fact about our species. The disconnect is that almost anyone who has studied the issues related to poverty agrees that there is not a shortage of resources. There is enough food. There is enough medical care. The problem, and I realize that I am simplifying a very complex set of issues, is that we choose, as a species, to not work out the policy and distribution mechanisms that would make food and healthcare available to all.

The second realization is that governments are less and less able to take the steps necessary to help our species alleviate the poverty that influences so many people. I am not going to speculate about why this is. While Elevita is a non-profit, it functions through markets. It buys from companies. It sells through market-based mechanisms.

My sense is that if our species is likely to ameliorate the influences of poverty in the next few generations, the main driver of this change will be that we accept that markets are the main driver of economic change and innovation. I congratulate Elevita for accepting this basic assumption and applaud the fabulous efforts of those who have helped build this entity and those who are supporting its development.

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