The way people work and live has drastically changed in the 21st century. From technology to globalization, our working world is more complex than ever. But despite all this development, we can’t deny that many people are getting left behind. The rich get richer, while the poor get even poorer.
In comes the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). SDG 8, “Decent Work and Economic Growth,” promotes decent and human-centered work. This means investing in people and improving lives to create a sustainable society.
In this piece, we’ll focus on how this idea can boost the economy. We’ll also look at how it can create a more equitable society.
What Is Human-Centered Work?
Human-centered work is an approach that looks at the welfare of people and communities. It does not solely consider economic gains. Decent human-centered work prioritizes the well-being of people over the growth in GDP. It also considers the dignity and humanity of workers.
This means investing in resources like education, health care, and social protection. Doing so can help ensure everyone can live decent lives.
This SGD is crucial because of the glaring injustice in the current system. Despite unprecedented economic growth, inequality is still rampant in most countries and regions. This sustainable approach looks to end this disparity and create a more equitable society.
The Quicksand Of Inequalities
It’s no secret that the world has become more unequal. The gap between the rich and poor is getting wider. This leaves most of the global population in poverty or near-poverty levels.
The UN estimates that roughly 736 million people live in extreme poverty. This category is defined as having an income below $1.90 a day.
This reality is unacceptable, especially in today’s world.
The Benefits Of Human-Centered Work
By investing in the well-being of individuals, we can create a more just society and a stronger global economy. This means reducing inequality through targeted investments, which we will discuss in a while.
This approach has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Governments around the world have begun investing in programs to support their citizens.
Human-centered work can also help bring tremendous economic gains. According to the World Economic Forum, tackling inequality can boost global GDP by up to $17 trillion by 2030. This could create more than 400 million new jobs. It will also lift about 1 billion people out of extreme poverty.
How To Promote Human-Centered Work
The UN SDGs provide a blueprint for tackling inequality and creating a just society. Here are some of the key steps governments can take to promote this approach:
1. Providing Decent Work Opportunities
Governments should invest in creating decent work opportunities. “Decent” pertains to jobs that provide the following:
- Safe working conditions
- Decent wages
- Social protection
So many people around the world do not have access to these basic benefits. Governments must create an environment that supports job creation and economic growth. At the same time, they must ensure social protection for all workers.
Often, people are forced to resort to jobs that almost do not preserve dignity. This is gravely unacceptable. Those in power must address this issue by supporting people in finding meaningful employment.
2. Implementing Progressive Taxation Systems That Redistribute Wealth
This point is especially crucial for creating a more equitable society. Governments should implement progressive taxation systems.
What should these systems do? They must redistribute wealth and ensure everyone pays their fair share of taxes. This way, the government can invest in resources like healthcare and education. These things are necessary for creating a sustainable economy.
3. Investing In Social Protection Programs
Social protection programs are essential for providing a safety net for vulnerable populations. Take the elderly, disabled, or unemployed, for example. These programs can provide financial support in times of need and help people find new jobs.
4. Investing In Education And Training
Education and training are key to creating a more equitable society. Investing in education will ensure everyone has access to quality learning opportunities. It can also help them develop the skills they need to succeed in the workforce.
Governments should also invest in training programs to help people find new jobs and gain further qualifications.
5. Investing In Health Care
Health care is essential for everyone to live a decent life. Governments should invest in healthcare systems that provide universal access to quality services. They must ensure people can get the medical attention they need.
6. Investing In Sustainable Development
Investing in sustainable development should also be high on the agenda for governments. This means doing the following:
- Investing in renewable energy sources
- Reducing emissions
- Protecting natural resources
Doing so will help create a more sustainable economy and reduce inequality.
How Does Improving Lives Boost The Economy?
Improving lives boosts the economy by creating a more equitable society, which drives economic growth. What happens when people have access to quality healthcare, education, and social protection programs? They are more likely to be productive and get better jobs. This will create an economic environment more equitable for everyone.
To understand this even better, let’s look at the following:
Production And Consumption
When people are well taken care of, they are more likely to be productive and engage in economic activities. This will lead to a boost in the production and consumption of goods and services.
Improved living conditions mean people are more likely to invest their money in businesses. They are also likely to engage in other economic activities. This will lead to an increase in investment. It can also promote a more vibrant economy.
Improved living conditions lead to increased innovation. After all, people will be more likely to take risks and be innovative with their ideas. This will drive economic growth through the development of new products and services.
Quality Of Life
Finally, improving lives will improve the quality of life for everyone. People will have more money to spend on basic needs, such as food and shelter. These things are essential for creating a sustainable economy.
EnGen: A B Corp That Makes People’s Lives Better
One B Corp that is making a difference in people’s lives is EnGen. It is a virtual English language learning platform. The B Corp provides online English courses to students from around the world, helping them upskill. This can help them find better jobs and improve the quality of their lives.
Let’s look a little more closely. Their mission is to increase work opportunities for people who cannot speak English well. They create an environment full of support and learning. This helps people gain the knowledge they need to be successful in their careers.
By providing quality education and training, EnGen helps improve lives and contributes to a more equitable economy.
Language is a significant factor in job opportunities. EnGen helps bridge the gap between these career options and people who are not fluent in English. Their target audience includes immigrants, refugees, and those who speak other languages. By providing access to these resources, EnGen helps create greater equality in the labor force.
To Wrap Up
Improving lives is not just a moral imperative. It also directly boosts the economy. When people have access to quality healthcare, education, and social protection programs, they are more likely to be productive and get better jobs. These decent career options lead to a better quality of life. This equity helps workers earn with dignity.
With human-centered innovations like EnGen, we can create a just society and build a stronger economy. In turn, efforts like this strengthen SDG 8 in helping build a sustainable future for all.