Finding new Solutions to old Problems by Embracing our Common Humanity and Planning for the Future.
President Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker at this year’s National Retail Federation “Big Show” in New York City. The 42nd president of the United States recognized the importance retail plays in both the U.S. and global economies. Retail makes up 20% of the GDP in the United States, it also accounts for 25% of the jobs.
He began by acknowledging the daunting task any global leader faces with regard to creating jobs and overcoming economic uncertainty. “Creating jobs is doing more than just putting people back to work,” Clinton said “it is restoring family unity.”
President Clinton cited his experiences early in life as he was trying new jobs and discovering what direction his life’s work would take him in. While success in his chosen field was uncertain at the time, he was never uncertain about his ability to make a living.
That mindset is now at risk, he says.
Shifting his attention from his past experience to the global implications of a worldwide economic downturn, he noted three major trends detrimental to a recovery.
Our global lifestyles are:
- 1. Highly unstable
- 2. Unequal
- 3. Not sustainable
These three factors lead to events from global warming to the Occupy movement, and that they are not limited to specific countries.
“We live in a country where all the boarders look more like nets than walls,” he said “The job we have now is to reduce the negative forces and increase the positive forces.”
He noted that the job is different for rich countries and poor countries.
Brazil is currently trying to create new energy resources from the rain forest to meet the needs of the country’s growing economy. The problem is that the endeavor would almost certainly end an Indian tribe’s nearly 1,000-year existence and require cutting down more trees.
Brazil is trying to solve this exceedingly hard problem, which has no definite answer, by getting all parties involved in the same room and find the best possible solution. President Clinton admits that nobody has the answer to all the challenges.
“America’s great ticket to the future is that there is somebody here from everywhere,” he said. “We’ve got to get America back in future business. We are all obligated to the present and not investing in the future.”
In summation, he said we have to share the future; we cannot get away from this world. We need a world with more shared opportunities. We can create a better tomorrow but we will have to look to examples of problem solving like Brazil and utilize our commonalities to invest in and protect our future in this world.