The economic crisis in Europe is transforming not only the economy but our daily lives and societies as well in a very concrete ways. Unemployment is on the rise, traditional businesses are struggling, pay cuts and redundancies are creating hardships for millions. In addition to this the future is looking ever more uncertain for the new generations: will there be work? Can I pay my student loans? Am I even able to afford getting an education? Will I ever get a pension?
All these worries are very relevant in the current setting but they are also very traditional worries based on the model of a society that is breaking before our eyes. There is no longer full employment, life-long employment with a single employer, structured and clear job descriptions or even the 9 to 5 mentality of work. It therefore may seem sometimes that we are expecting people and businesses to work in a way that is no longer viable in the current social setting, especially during this upheaval. It usually takes a crisis for people to fundamentally change they way they think, act and behave. Could this crisis be THE crisis to help us transform our thinking to match the reality of the current world?
What the crisis may in fact be doing is opening up more and more opportunities for us to transform our own futures, but the trick is to change our thinking and put it in the “outside the box” mode. If we simply get stuck in the traditional modes of thinking, with the goal of a 9 to 5 job for the next 30 years and a full pension at the end of it, we may simply be dreaming the impossible and be disappointed in the end. IF we however accept the reality and the crisis itself and look for ways of benefiting from the transformations and creating something viable and sustainable in the process, we may very well succeed, even if our success is not yet fully recognised by the people around us.
Take a look at this example for instance from Greece where an accountant took a look around his neighbourhood and created a business that helps the environment, the community and himself. Perfect. The article also deals with the good ideas sprouting from the country and how they could be used to benefit the economic situation in the region.
What this crisis may well do to our societies and the Europe at large is to move it away from the for-profit mentality of business and move it toward for-social-profit direction. This is something discussed in an article by Anne Bland on the new definitions of capitalism and European Societies that you can find here.
Now take a moment and think about your surroundings and the society at large:
- What problems do you see around you in your neighbourhood? They can be small or big…lack of a safe crossing for children to go to school. Problems with isolation of the elderly? Generally concerned about youth unemployment in your country?
- The next step is to think, and maybe do a bit of research on what is causing these problems?
- Then think how you would go about solving the problem: What are the key problem areas of the current situation? Why do the solutions not work? How could they be made to work?
The final step is to consider whether you have the energy and drive to go ahead and do something about this. This is the most difficult phase, but usually if you have the passion for the problem you are solving, you will go ahead with it. You can find more resources and help from this site and we hope that the articles will give you the inspiration to take a new look at our current crisis and make the best out of a bad situation for all of our sake.