Rural areas need doctors. Babies are being born, accidents take place, and people get sick. But in the countryside, everything gets harder. Specialists need airplanes to get to patients and they must drive hours to serve the public. Governments are getting the point — they’ll need to recruit doctors out of school, fund entirely new medical colleges, and move resources to “the bush,” as the Australians call it.
Rural americans experience similar crises, needing to drive hours to find care, and commute to centers of excellence. My own mom knows this fact — she was recruited from her masters’ in social work (MSW) to serve in a university research hospital. Folks from northern michigan, hours away, would commute south to our city to get help on cancer, and other life-threatening illnesses.
We are pleased to be able to offer a service, for no cost to the public as they face the challenge of the new millenia. Moving critical services to the public requires an investment in human resources, knowledge workers, and mobilizing capital to make these new services possible. But the outcomes are moving. In the above case of the Australians, babies being born with sufficient care is a huge motivator. We think that young people with new career options will embrace the opportunity to serve the underserved, and volunteer to build their career with an episode of public service.
The second idea that strikes me, as an executive, is the commonality of social goals between countries, independent of geography: the project to extend medical services to rural populations spans Africa, Australia, India and the Americas. The call for knowledgeable people to spend the first years of their career in rural areas will be compelling.
As an institution designed to serve the needs of human resources, it is heart warming to be able to participate in helping others beyond our own humble country. The internet is delivering on its conceived promise, of unlocking the potential within each individual, and allocating resources, like labor, to solve social issues. This inherently social aim of the internet can’t be deemphasized.
We believe that the world’s economic recession exposes the transitional nature of our leading industries, and the increased need for industries that serve emerging needs, for medical, energy, communications, natural resources and transportation. As historic companies like General Motors groan to a halt, unable to continue on their own steam, we face the reality that the public needs new products to survive. People do not desire vehicles that do not respect their economic means, and they fear being attached to an economy of low efficiency, power-consumptive vehicles. I know that I depend on a vehicle to support my students, clients, and family members, and that the run-up in the cost of living (housing, medical care, fuel, energy, water, electricity), deeply undermines my ability to spend loosely. So long as people live to support the many material needs, and the growth of employment, globally, depends on consumer spending, when those of us in the spender-nations (US, Europe) pull back, and cannot afford luxuries associated with discretionary income, we disrupt networks of production world-wide.
Chrysler and GM preparing to wind-down, or enter an unrecoverable bankruptcy, are emblematic of a larger recycling of industrial capacity. Those plants will be turned over to companies who manage themselves with greater energy-efficiency (Ford, Daimler, Toyota). Labor already has shifted away from the Michigan region to manufacturing centers in Alabama, in pursuit of a general growth in the regional economics of the new South.
The megatrend that students and corporations must embrace is the long-term futurism of this provisional economy. Companies that will excel in this crisis-slash-opportunity will address the needs of the new economy, not the old, and will offer the public goods and services that are meaningful to them right now, and do not hold their prosperity back in the future. Right now the greatest fear of General Motors is the bankruptcy they must face, simply because the public will avoid purchasing cars that no one will be able to repair in three years. The public is, after all, a provident entity.