Human and social capital: keys to a sustainable future

To build a sustainable future, we must consolidate human and social capital, promoting education, cooperation and sustainable development

The future of a nation depends largely on its educational system, since its growth is based more on human capital and social capital than on its natural resources. The modern economy demands well-trained workers, and unemployment punishes the less educated, increasing inequality and decreasing social capital.

The PISA Test, which measures the knowledge of 15-year-old students in 81 countries in reading, mathematics and science, reveals important gaps. In 2021, Asian countries such as Singapore, Japan, Macau and Taipei topped the list, while Argentina ranked 66th in Mathematics, 58th in Reading and 60th in Science.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Argentina is the country that teaches the fewest hours of class, which contributes to poverty, school dropouts and juvenile delinquency.

Quality education and equal opportunities are essential for economic and social development. People's knowledge drives economic progress, but this requires strong political will backed by public opinion.

Employment (job) was born with the industrial revolution, to get money by working for others. Work is done for pleasure, but it is an exception, even though those who love what they do stand out. There are trained people but they are unemployed. The shortage of jobs and jobs is due to a lack of money or investment.

Unemployment is hidden with unemployment disguised by low salaries or work plans. Even in Japan – the cradle of lifelong employment – ​​employment is a dying breed. Today more is produced and sold with fewer people, and layoffs are no longer due to crisis, but rather the result of a deliberate strategy. Furthermore, traditional hiring criteria are not used: experience, references and education; the person hired solves problems, but is not the owner of his or her job.

Current unemployment reflects a paradox: there is much work to be done, but little employment available. Reengineering and automation have led to the loss of millions of jobs annually, transforming the labor market. Companies resort to outsourcing, relocation and precarious employment, breaking the bonds of loyalty between employer and employee.

Although in 1800 80% of the population was dedicated to agriculture, and today only 3%, this small percentage is enough to feed the world. However, specialization has made it difficult to relocate unemployed workers, affecting the virtuous cycle of consumption and production.

Complementary currencies, which resurface in times of crisis, offer an innovative solution to the lack of money in communities. They promote cooperation and generate social capital, functioning as an alternative to the traditional monetary system based on competition. A successful example is the WIR system in Switzerland, which allows 100,000 people to exchange goods and services without using conventional money.

Sustainable development balances environmental care with economic growth and social equity. The depredation of the planet has shown that progress cannot be measured only in terms of resource exploitation. Concern for the environment has led to initiatives such as the 1992 “Earth Summit”, focused on climate change and biodiversity.

Game theory, especially Nash equilibrium, highlights the importance of cooperation in achieving maximum social welfare. John Nash showed that the best result is achieved when all players cooperate, refuting Adam Smith's theory that individual interest leads to collective benefit.

Technology can bring the state closer to citizens, decentralizing functions and improving accessibility. Interpersonal relationships are crucial for a healthy social fabric; Toxic relationships must be identified and avoided. Synergy and positive vibes are essential to a thriving community.

An 11th century Chinese poem says: “Everyone wants their children to have talent, /, but because of talent, I have suffered all my life. / I hope, my son, that you are stupid and stupid / and free of problems, and thus reach the position of prime minister.. Su Tung-

The Peter principle or principle of incompetence is about hierarchies: employees are rewarded with promotions until they reach their level of incompetence. Ortega y Gasset said it: «Public employees must be demoted to their next lower grade, because they rose until they became incompetent». The best salesperson is squandered with his promotion to sales manager. He was an expert in sales, he was not prepared to lead.

Corollary. Every position is filled by an incompetent employee. Genuine work is done by those who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.

Companies can improve the social intelligence of their people depending on how they make up their work groups. Cronyism must be avoided to achieve high competence. To achieve this, it is necessary to associate complementary individuals in their essential skills: creative people who generate ideas, analytical people who choose the best ones, executives who put them into practice, and social people who weave internal and external ties. In this way they will create a whole, a social capital that is greater than the sum of its parts, human capital.

To build a sustainable future, we must consolidate human and social capital, promoting education, cooperation and sustainable development. Only in this way can we face the challenges of globalization and automation, and create a more equitable and resilient society.