Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ten Precepts to Social Wellness

While listening to a discussion by a Social-Economic Analyst, Louie Fourie, certain interesting realities struck me, specially given the state of opinions and media driven angst in South Africa.

Firstly, whereas we the public tend to have a narrow view on happenings around SA, there are people out there, whose job it is to study events, tendencies and happenings in a holistic manner, who then generate much needed clarity and sensibility onto situations that are generally accepted by the masses as out of control or beyond repair.

What stood out the most, is that our sense of instability and insecurity is driven by a liberal media who thrive (or take advantage off) on our predisposition towards the macabre, the sensational and the voyeuristic.

During his discussion, he tabled ten precepts that are used around the globe in bringing clarity to how societies, families and Corporates are doing in wellness, growth, etc. The precepts were tabled in their main headings, with clarification headers forming part of the discussion.

The precepts tabled are: (note that each heading cannot be answered by a simple answer.)

1. Are we serious about democracy?
2. Do we have sound economic policies?
3. Is there freedom of movement, information, communications, etc?
4. Do we have a good education system?
5. Do we have a sound financial system?
6. Are people well?
7. Do we respect property rights?
8. How efficient is our Law Enforcement?
9. Do we have a sound business sector?
10. Do we have a vision?

According to Mr. Fourie, SA fails badly on three points, namely 4, 6 and 8. As for the rest, it fairs reasonably well in relation to the other 170 Nations/States evaluated under the above globally accepted system. The interesting piece of information is that SA lies in 44th position out of 170 Nations/Sates.

The largest eye-opener stemmed from the fact that people have a skewed perception of what a democracy is e.g. having the right to an opinion does not mean that one should exercise it, specially if that opinion incites rage or war.

Another valuable piece of information that the people must learn to cultivate, is to separate Loudness from Substance e.g. the loudest Politian usually gets the largest piece of the podium…

All in all, the discussion shed much light on the principles behind living in a democratic society; and some falsehoods that we take for the truth, and nothing but the truth.

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