Technology is the Main Driver for Socioeconomic Change
By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR
Earlier this month Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals, was a guest speaker at St. Francis College to talk about how we can end extreme poverty. According to Sachs we have the means to bring extreme poverty to an end through our knowledge, technology and tools. He defined extreme poverty as the kind of poverty that is so severe that it threatens survival. Today, still one billion people worldwide, one of seven people, earn less than $1.25 a day and struggle for survival.
Looking at the past 20 years, there has been good progress in reducing poverty, especially in China. However, even with the economic progress, Sachs said, we are not making it work. We are still facing income inequality, social unrest, and environmental degradation.
Sachs believes that this is due to a moral crisis. We have all that we need to end global poverty but not all countries and people are pursuing ending poverty and sustainable development as a common goal. So, while we have more technological tools available than ever, the “nerve wrecking reality” is we have to “find our way through the complicated terrain” with different interests and foster sustainable development in a complex world.
Sachs advocates countries to adopt a concept of sustainable development that consists of four pillars – economic, social, environmental, and governance. And technology innovation plays a critical role.
According to Sachs, the main driver of socioeconomic change, and human history, is technology. Technology advancements have trigged changes for the better in society, business and politics, i.e. through egovernment. For example, through today’s broad wireless coverage, today a health worker in a rural area is connected by cell phone even in remote areas and can call for help for children infected with Malaria.
Sustainable technologies are getting better and better. Sachs’ call for action is to take this knowledge and create new solutions to areas, such as energy, transportation, buildings, and health, and help meet sustainable development goals. If all work together, extreme poverty could be ended by 2030. That’s a good goal to have.
To watch Jeffrey Sachs’ lecture at St. Francis College, click here.