The image above was taken in the grounds of an orphange in Ukraine.
“There remain approximately 90,000 children in orphanages, 10,000 in the ‘gulags’. Another 200,000 children live on the streets because state-care options have been less tolerable than street life. Because street children are most visible and therefore obvious, other organizations notice them and are making at least token efforts to help them. Nevertheless, the overall problems are systemic. It is not enough to help these kids without dealing with the causes — primarily corruption and displacement of Ukraine’s cash and resources — that put children in such conditions to begin with.” – Terry Hallman, deceased
It was an echo of the conversation that we began 22 years ago about Ignorance and Want:
“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”
“If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population”.
It’s always a pleasure to read a positive review. Last week something surprised me. An article that must have published 10 years ago and I’d never seen it before.
The concept of People Centered Economic Development has been in operation for more than 15 years and while it began in the USA in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the organisation moved to the UK in 2004. Jeff Mowatt is one of the most important advocates of this concept and the director of the organization. P- CED is now a profit for purpose organisation in the UK, which allows it to be able to invest profits for social purpose as well as to conduct small business. Any money that is made is re-invested into purposes that the organisation’s management chooses.
In South Korea President Moon Jae-in says:
“We have been working to fundamentally change the economic paradigm in order to overcome the structural problems of low growth and economic inequalities,” President Moon Jae-in said. “With the people-centered economy as a policy base, we will implement economic policies under three main principles – a job creating economy, innovative growth, and a fair economy.”
In 2019 the Business Roundtable revised their statement on the purpose of the corporation.
Soon after the British Academy delivered a major new report, arguing that capitalism must be reformed to put people before profit:
It said directors must take account of the communities in which they operate, and workers in their supply chain they do not directly employ, as a matter of course and not just when it benefits their shareholders as UK law currently stipulates.
The concept of a people-centered economy has surfaced from time to time. One of the most recent and perhaps the most aligned with the original is described in this video from Vint Cerf , “father of the internet” who admits that it’s failed to serve humanity as was hoped.
As Vint says there are times when we may suffer a temporary affliction and come to understand how it feels for those with permanent disabilities.
Erich Fromm was cited in the 1996 position paper:
“Love of the helpless, the poor and the stranger, are the beginning of brotherly love. To love ones flesh and blood is no achievement. The animal loves its young and cares for them. Only in the love of those who do not serve a purpose, does love begin to unfold. Compassion implies the element of knowledge and identification. “
In 2008 P-CED founder Terry Hallman had made a similar point is describing social enterprise, The “fathers” of the internet and people-centered economics are on the same page:
Allowing that some people do not matter, as things are turning out, allows that other people do not matter and those cracks are widening to swallow up more and more people. Social enterprise is the first concerted effort in the Information Age to at least attempt to rectify that problem, if only because letting it get worse and worse threatens more and more of us. Growing numbers of people are coming to understand that “them” might equal “me.” Call it compassion, or call it enlightened and increasingly impassioned self-interest. Either way, we are all in this together, and we will each have to decide for ourselves what it means to ignore someone to death, or not.
Google as a search engine had an obvious role in the spread of this meme. It was Google that ‘alerted” me about the Papal encyclical, Caritas in Veritate to discover later that Vatican researchers had used Google to research the latest thinking in economics.
This is not merely a matter of a “third sector”, but of a broad new composite reality embracing the private and public spheres, one which does not exclude profit, but instead considers it a means for achieving human and social ends. Whether such companies distribute dividends or not, whether their juridical structure corresponds to one or other of the established forms, becomes secondary in relation to their willingness to view profit as a means of achieving the goal of a more humane market and society’
“Striving to meet the deepest moral needs of the person also has important and beneficial repercussions at the level of economics. The economy needs ethics in order to function correctly — not any ethics whatsoever, but an ethics which is people-centred.”
The connection with the UN General Assembly is fairly obvious. In 2009 General Secretary Miguel Brockmann was a Catholic Priest.
The anti-values of greed, individualism and exclusion should be replaced by solidarity, common good and inclusion. The objective of our economic and social activity should not be the limitless, endless, mindless accumulation of wealth in a profit-centred economy but rather a people-centred economy that guarantees human needs, human rights, and human security, as well as conserves life on earth. These should be universal values that underpin our ethical and moral responsibility.
Five years later a group of Catholic Bishops came up with a Blueprint for Better Business saying that the future of business lies in people not profit.
The core of it is that a business must have a purpose that delivers long-term sustainable performance. That purpose – the ‘why’ – has to meet two societal tests: respect for human dignity and serving the common good. It is through developing products and services that are true to this purpose that the business delivers a fair return to investors. There is no trade off between purpose and profit, and no outsourcing of social purpose to CSR programmes. The identity and core purpose of the whole business is clear and directs everything the business does.
Their ‘why’ alludes to Simon Sinek who is also now on board:
What Simon says about people and numbers will also be found in our 1996 manifesto which critiqued the 1971 shift from the Gold Standard at the Federal Reserve, to imagine money into existence as debt:
Economics, and indeed human civilization, can only be measured and calibrated in terms of human beings. Everything in economics has to be adjusted for people, first, and abandoning the illusory numerical analyses that inevitably put numbers ahead of people, capitalism ahead of democracy, and degradation ahead of compassion.
Coming back to what Vint Cerf says about the needs of those with disabilities. Terry Hallman died in Ukraine in August 2011. The Maidan leader who found his body wrote of his commitment to the cause of disabled orphans, saying:
The author of breakthru report “Death camps for children” Terry Hallman suddenly died of grave disease on Aug 18 2011. On his death bed he was speaking only of his mission – rescuing of these unlucky kids. His dream was to get them new homes filled with care and love. His quest would be continued as he wished.
By February 2007 a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine was in the hands of Ukraine’s government and a year later with USAID and the Council on Foreign Relations:
This is a long-term permanently sustainable program, the basis for “people-centered” economic development. Core focus is always on people and their needs, with neediest people having first priority – as contrasted with the eternal chase for financial profit and numbers where people, social benefit, and human well-being are often and routinely overlooked or ignored altogether. This is in keeping with the fundamental objectives of Marshall Plan: policy aimed at hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. This is a bottom-up approach, starting with Ukraine’s poorest and most desperate citizens, rather than a “top-down” approach that might not ever benefit them. They cannot wait, particularly children. Impedance by anyone or any group of people constitutes precisely what the original Marshall Plan was dedicated to opposing. Those who suffer most, and those in greatest need, must be helped first — not secondarily, along the way or by the way.
In 2008 Terry was commended in the Seen and Heard awards:
Ukraine responded. increasing fostering allowances and by 2009, an overlooked success story of an increase in domestic adoptions.
In 2010 I petitioned David Cameron:
When the BBC aired ‘Ukraine’s Forgotten Children’ in 2012. Investigator Kate Blewett said:
It is Ukraine’s secret shame – and it is heartbreaking. Across the country there are 88,000 ‘social orphans’, young disabled children abandoned by their parents and handed over to the state.
A grim hangover from the communist era, it is done in the belief that the state will do a better job of raising a disabled child.
You’ll find the same point made in the Death Camps for Children article.
In the video you’ll hear that nobody is speaking out, yet Albert Pavlov , founder of the Happy Child charity had 4 years earlier about the same orphanage in Kalinovka. “It’s not possible to keep silent” he wrote, finding himself unable save the life of a boy who starved to death. The image at the top of this article came from Kalinovka
Terry and I thought we had a purpose, the British Academy would rather we stay out in the cold:
We really thought we had a purpose
We were so anxious to achieve
We had hope
The world held promise
For a slave to liberty
Freely I slaved away for something better
And I was bought and sold
And all I ever wanted
Was to come in from the cold