Challenges in a more uncertain world.

Byline: Atle Hetland

We live in a time when most news is negative and worrying. In today's article, I shall draw attention to some important issues that apply internationally, but also locally. As issues may be difficult, it is also necessary to keep a positive mindset because we must always believe that we can influence the future in a better direction. It is never futile what we think and do, although sometimes it will only be our children that can see the results. Let me discuss a few areas, where we need to direct our attention and focus our work-in a positive spirit.

Structurally, there is growing inequality between rich and poor, within and between countries and groups. Little is done to stop and reverse this unfortunate development in spite of most thinkers and politicians agreeing that more equality is best for high productivity, indeed also avoiding unrest and crime. The gap between the Global North and the Global South must be reduced, as well as the very deep inequalities within many countries. Also, in the West, many people who live on pensions and other government support, including lowly-paid single mothers, require increases in support and allowances to stay above the poverty line. In the last well over one year, there has been high inflation and price increases, caused to a great extent by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, reduced energy supplies from Russia to Europe, and other reasons. Inflation has affected all countries in the world, making life very difficult for many people, especially poor people with large families, but also ordinary middle-class families.

In many countries, there is a growing gap between people who have skills, expertise and employment, on the one hand, and those who do not reach the requirements of the working life. In most countries in the West, unemployment benefits are often meagre and those who are not employed are outside mainstream society. Many are refugees and other migrants. In some countries, a large percentage may end up outside mainstream society-without it being their own fault. They may have grown up with a single parent who is a drug addict, alcoholic, or outside mainstream society for other reasons; some are immigrants. The children will then have greater difficulties than others to do well at school and enter mainstream society. It must be an aim, with concrete practical policies, to include every person in the working life and mainstream society, irrespective of school performance...

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