Saturday, June 26, 2010

Child labor ... the canary in the mine!

Dear Colleagues

I responded to a recent Internet posting about child labor in Uzbekistan, and a lot of other places around the world. My response should be the beginning of something ... but the way data flows in our modern society it will have no impact. This is a system issue that needs to get changed in many fundamental ways.
Dear Colleagues

When profit is the main measure of performance, then outcomes like the child labor in Uzbekistan are a natural result. A better system of metrics is needed where good money profit can be separated from bad money profit.

We can do this as a global society by embracing value and using amazing modern technology. Stay tuned ... the possibilities for a better system of metrics are huge!

Peter Burgess
The sad reality is that children are being abused in the globalized modern economy and while the reality is known, it is also ignored.

Abuse is ignored ... anything like this can be ignored because the way we keep score does not have these types of stats as part of the system that goes to responsible decision makers. In this situation, the abuse can be ignored ... in fact the abuse is better ignored, because to address it will cost and the cost will affect the metrics being used in the mainstream systems of performance metrics and allocation of resources.

How many children are being abused? How many children do not have a chance to achieve anything like their full potential? Is the planet's population of children is 3 billion is it 50% that will not have opportunity to achieve their full potential ... that is 1.5 billion children. Or is it perhaps 80% that not have opportunity to achieve their full potential ... that is 2.4 billion children. Stories about abused children are symptomatic of a way bigger problem ... the canary in the coal mine! The sad fact is that the system of metrics we have makes us look at the process of education and training of children as a cost without taking into consideration the value creation that is associated with doing right by the children.

The world needs to rethink what is being done to ensure that children have the education, the skills ... and yes, the ethical values ... so that they have value for themselves and for society in the future. Bluntly put, I do not know a single politician or accountant that is speaking out clearly on the cost and value proposition of doing right by children!

Peter Burgess

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