Menifee, CA , USA
Please describe your vision of a world that works for everyone.
I think that it is very idealistic to think that the world will work for everyone. I have visited over 25 countries and it will take much work to erase much of the poverty I have seen-especially in India. China is attempting to help its citizens by moving them from impoverished villages to cities where they can obtain basic services but the efforts will take a long time to come to fruition. But I think that the internet can help those who are interested to conceive of ways to aid everyone. Perhaps micro loans might be more available once everyone has a mobile device. This may be a long time coming but your website might be a beginning.
What do you see as the most pressing problems facing the world today?
I see the most pressing problems today as economic and political. It is difficult to solve economic problems unless you have a strong and corruption free legal/political system for example. If you look at a country like Mexico for example, you must look at the whole country. Mexico has very strong natural resources. Yet many of its citizens exist on very low wages. If the government would take effective means to stop the drug related business activity then the citizen would feel safe to pursue more entrepreneurial ventures. But the drug activity is very wound up in the legal infrastructure and hard to eradicate. Recent government entities have tried and failed in this task. If we look at a country like Argentina we see a different story. Argentina defaulted on its loans in the early 2000s and this has affected their perception in the world from this point forward. There are parts of Argentina which are doing very well and parts which are not. Buenos Aires, for example is one of the most sophisticated cities in the world. So, again it is the political/economic system which is one of the most pressing important to analyze for each country and can be a pressing problem for that country.
How do you feel these problems could best be solved?
The only way that these problems can be solved is for all of us to work together to influence those in power to maintain a strong economic/political system for the citizens of each country. If we utilized groups of educated individuals, NGOs, citizens of that country and others, we could influence any country-no matter what economic system they may have presently. Technology can help address these problems. Once the students throughout the world have access to the internet, they can research well regarded scholarly sites to understand the history of countries and how they evolved to their present position. Once students so this they are not bound by their textbooks which may have been written with bias.
I was born in Waterbury Connecticut. My father was an airline pilot and my mother was a homemaker. Due to the fact that I had tickets to travel at a young age I took advantage of this and have traveled to Europe, Asia, Central America and South America. I also spent some time in Turkey and Egypt.
I have been a teacher for the past twenty years. I still want to teach and travel more in Central America. I was an English major so the books I like include Moby Dick and Shakespeare plays. I love movies that deal with biography such as Ghandi and movies that deal with other country’s culture.
I have been a superintendent of schools in the United States so I have experience working with a Board of Education. This was a good way to learn about leadership, setting an agenda, leading with a vision, and the challenges of implementing a plan.
My family and I live in Riverside California. We all love the country here. I am what is known as an addicted “reader” and I have more books in the house than anything else. I have many friends who love to read also so we trade mysteries and other books.
I currently would like to get to know more about other countries-especially Central America. This would be my main dream. I have included a photo of myself and am excited to start on this new journey.
I would like to expand on several books which I have found important. One is SPELIT (Amazon-Mallette). In this text it is possible to analyze an issue, policy, or country using this model. I use it to look at countries because it forces students to research for themselves. An example I present here is an analysis of China. I will present parts of the SPELIT model and relate each to China.
Social: The Chinese people are very family oriented. It is not unusual to see whole families together. There is a one child/one family policy in China. This has affected both the rural and urban areas of China. Families have historically had large families in the rural areas. Therefore the Chinese government has relaxed some of the restrictions for rural families. It is interesting also, that the Chinese government is attempting to relocate families into the urban areas of China since this is where resources are including better jobs and health facilities. Furthermore, Americans who visit China are sometimes surprised with the friendliness of the Chinese toward American visitors. This is interesting considering the perceived harshness of the government by Americans. Of course there is a strong barrier to Internet communications. For example, tour companies who take American visitors to different cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are not permitted to take tourists into Internet cafes. So there are still barriers to free communication with the outside world and hopefully this will change.
Political: It is clear that China is still governed by the Communist Party. There are other parties which participate but are marginal. The Communist Party members number in the thousands and are from all parts of China. They meet on a regular basis and decided important policy issues that affect all parts of China. When tourists visit China it is difficult to arrange visits to the “public” schools although tourists can readily visit schools for ex-pats or government workers.
Economic: Because of the amount of exports, China has experienced unparalleled growth in the past few years. This has since slowed in the past year, but China has a higher savings rate than the United States. During the economic downswing in the United States in 2008, China held much of the mortgage paper that served to underwrite much of the housing market in the United States. China is expected of course to resume its economic strength. The government is also looking at the one child/family restrictions. They are finding that there may be a large number of male children in relation to female children and this may have a detrimental effect in preserving the family unit.
Legal: The legal system in China is a book unto itself. I am still researching the nuances of this system so I hesitate to make any strong pronouncements about it. I am looking for some good texts on this issue.
Intercultural: There are many cultural groups in China. Cultural groups tend to be organized in regions of the country. There is a long history which I will not go into here involving the Han Dynasty and where the descendants are located. Religion also plays a part in cultural issues. During my last trip I saw very few Christian churches and next time I visit I will be looking for evidence of location of religious buildings and places of worship. There is a strong Buddhist heritage which can be seen in the many Buddhist temples in evidence.
Technological: The infrastructure of many areas of China can be classified as “emerging.” The airports of Shanghai and Beijing on the other hand are extremely forward in their design and functionality. So the Chinese have made the decision to invest in areas which pertain to air travel and have decided that this area should be the first to be addressed. They are also very strong in the area of STEM-science and math instruction and less strong in the arts and humanities. It appears to the casual visitor that just about every adult under 35 years of age has a cell phone. The cell phone provides them communication and is key to their moving forward in technology. I think that they will remain strong in this area.
So this is one of the main texts I utilize to analyze countries, issues and major policy. It looks at each aspect of , say the country and forces me to synthesize my readings and observations into one matrix. I am very happy with this text (Mallette-Amazon) and how it has taught me to synthesize. Other books I like include James March: The Ambiguities of Experience and anything by the author Clayton Christiensen.
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As A Man Thinketh
Jonathan Livingston Seagull