Unemployment or job insecurity; We have more options than that

While watching the Jordi Évole programme on 'la Sexta' (a private Spanish TV broadcasting network) regarding the current economic situation in Spain as seen through the eyes of Germans, I was struck by the final conclusion offered to the television viewer, namely that we only have two choices: unemployment or job precariousness. It disturbs me greatly to see how we have become resigned to such pessimism about the world we live in.

From my point of view, this is an erroneous and even risky conclusion to draw. It is clear to all who can see, that the capacity to stimulate job creation is weaker today than in recent years, yet we mustn't fall into the trap of frustration and fatalism. Unfortunately, however, this is precisely the glum spirit that has impregnated decision-making at the political, business and social level, and is tantamount to throwing another stumbling block onto the already large pile of blocks, which we call the 'crisis'. Falling into a rut of frustration and despondency not only impedes us from attaining a pragmatic vision of the situation, but it also affects our capacity to adopt new measures and mechanisms which can help us to both get out of the Recession and rebuild for future competitiveness.

We urgently need to renew our pledge to wealth creation, to social solidarity, to the fair distribution of income as well as to the creation of mechanisms for future development. Only by combining our efforts and by the generosity of our actions can we make it through to the other side of the obstacle course of this economic conundrum.

Collective action to fight the crisis cannot be based on a permanent 'policy of drastic cutbacks'. Nor can it be based on limiting investment which would only lead to economic paralysis and hamper on wealth creation. Neither can we base our action on blindly applying economic recipes written by 'soul-less and socially insensitive' organisations who have systematically missed the mark in their analyses and recommendations.

It has been amply proven that in these difficult times, a commitment to dual management, that is to say, preparing for the future while managing the present, instead of focusing on short-term policies of solely cutting-back, will aid us to emerge stronger from this dark period. Underpinning this dual approach is a 180º turn away from excessive austerity measures, and balancing cost adjustment with investment in the future. By putting people first and foremost in our organisations we will be able to maintain the level of investment in knowledge and innovation required to market our organisations abroad, whilst being able to keep our commitment to the more disadvantaged members of society at home.

Now is the time to question some of the dogmas which became entrenched during times of economic bonanza in our society: growth at any cost; the loss of the culture of saving and hard work; consumerism in place of happiness, and placing individualism ahead of community and intergenerational commitment.

This is a time for passion and for taking chances. Companies must be capable of spurring a systematic exploration of the future which looks beyond our borders. Finally, we must be brave enough to redouble our commitment to ongoing development, by incorporating value into our operations and designing mechanisms of co-operation, participation and solidarity with people within the organisation.

As Lula da Silva would say: "More than ever, today is the time to place people at the centre of our decisions; by doing so, we'll find the best way forward."

*Published in El Economista, 05/11/2012

Sabin Azua

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