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Is it time to create new social defaults to ensure equality for all

Nisha Dutt
27th Nov 2017
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Can we envision a future where basic rights to education, healthcare, livelihood, and basic quality of life are the new “social defaults”? In a nutshell: a world where we have a lot more hope, and a lot less despair. 

We are living in the best of times - From better nutrition, to increased life expectancy, and the rise of democratic institutions, the world is better off today than at any time in the past.

But then, this is also the worst of times. The chasm between the haves and have-nots is getting larger every year. Last year, Oxfam reported that 62 individuals own as much wealth as 3.6 billion of the world’s poorest people.

The results show we have made tremendous progress in fighting inequality. The share of the global population defined as “poor” has fallen since 2001, from 30 percent to 15 percent, and overall, the world has become “wealthier”.

Yet, we are struggling to meet the basic needs of the population - Unemployment is expected to rise to 3.4 million; 38 million more people have been added to the global hungry; the world’s poor are four times less likely to go to school. Clearly, meeting basic needs currently depends on the ability and readiness of the people to pay for it.

There is a need to bring together and leverage the strengths of governments, corporations, foundations, entrepreneurs and NGOs to meet basic needs for all. We at Intellecap have built one of the world’s largest inclusive development platforms, active in three continents, named Sankalp Forum, to create a common action platform to ensure that basic needs and opportunities become preselected options for all.

We call these preselected options Social Defaults.

It refers to a system in which all members of society have automatic access to food, healthcare, energy, education, clean water and sanitation, clean air, and livelihoods. The end goal is improved health and well-being, improved standard of living, and improved financial outcomes.

We live in an era where the tools to create shared prosperity and a good quality of life for everyone exist, but the means to ensure that this actually happens do not. Can quality of life become a human right with social defaults that ensure physical and mental well-being?

What are the choices that we must make today to ensure this? What is the moral compass that we need to question a system designed to benefit a few of us at the cost of the many? And how can we tap into the energy and innate problem-solving capabilities of entrepreneurs and innovators to do this?

As defined by Sustainable Development Goals, can we envision a future where basic rights to education, healthcare, livelihood, and basic quality of life are the new “social defaults”? In a nutshell: a world where we have a lot more hope, and a lot less despair.

We are boldly trying to look at a future where basic rights to education, healthcare, livelihoods, and a basic quality of life are emerging as new “social defaults”. We are looking to address four key themes - Innovative Finance, Future of Food, Future of Work and Moral Heath Economy - and arrive at solutions that can enable quality of life to become a human right with social defaults that ensure physical and mental well-being, specifically for the people at the bottom of the pyramid.

As the world chases ambitious Social Development Goals, we want to shift the focus on the questions that the world collectively desires to address. We will continue to bring together a confluence of entrepreneurs and businesses, curated conversations and inspired learnings, all of which will have a substantial contribution in addressing and answering complex challenges of poverty and hunger.


Disclaimer: YourStory is the media partner for Sankalp Global Summit 2017. The views expressed by the author are her own and do not necessarily reflect that of YourStory.

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