The Weekender features a longer form publication or multimedia production from a reputable source. We select articles or things to watch or listen to that discuss issues and opportunities we deem just off the radar for many business people, students, and faculty. We aim to expand the mind, broaden the heart, and sharpen the analysis. Have a great Sunday!
I recently finished Howard Zinn's famous book A People's History of the United States. My work in sustainability often veers toward environmental issues, like a car with poor alignment that constantly pulls to the right or left. This is not due to a lack of interest on my part about social issues such as worker rights, income inequality, poverty, racism, class conflict and gender discrimination and violence. It seems to be just poor alignment of the vehicle of sustainability. My own initiation actually began on the "social side" with involvement in relationship abuse education in college followed by work in rural Alaska that exposed me to the tribulations faced by native peoples. I became deeply concerned about issues of inequality and social justice.
So I guess we might say I read Zinn in an attempt fix this alignment issue--at least for myself. If you aren't familiar with A People's History it takes what we might call an inverted look at history. Many history books, Zinn would claim, in conventional schools tell the story of history primarily through the perspective of conquerors, statesmen, military officers, and leading business magnates. The stories of women, people of color, working people and the poor are given less attention. Zinn flips the story. As Zinn states: "The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you don't listen to it, you will never know what justice is."
It has served to improve my alignment. The steering wheel is now more centered between social justice and ecological preservation as we head towards our destination: a new business and economic model where people and planet are found in the board room and on the balance sheet.
The resource this week "Laying the Foundations of Social Justice" from ILO's InfoStories series is a great teaching tool for those of you involved in education. And a good learning tool for all of us. The wage stagnation we see today is, at least partially, due to the kinds of labor issues the ILO has been focused on for decades with slight increase of 2.9% (see figure above) mostly eaten up by concurrent increases in inflation, also at 2.9% in the past year.
As the saying goes, learning our history can help us not repeat the mistakes of the past. And this is a fun way to do it.
Laying the Foundations of Social Justice: Interactive Multi-media Resource