MISSING IN ACTION (MIA):
A College Course
I was fortunate enough to go to college. I learned a LOT there but you can only learn so much at one time. Although I did not get an economics degree (an MBA doesn't technically count), over the years I've studied up on some more 'advanced' economics and a lot of 'common sense' economics. If you've perused this site, you'll note that I believe we lack, as a nation, an orientation toward retaining wealth.
A common 'thread' among communities is educational institutions which cater to young, creative minds which have not already decided that something can't be done. Many of the new 'cool' things are accomplished by people who ignore what everyone else is telling them.
If we could get all the universities and technical schools to have one economics course continually running called something like 'Connecting Communities, People and Resources' which focused on identifying untapped (many times to be thrown away) resources and creating links, we could accomplish multiple things:
students would be educated as to community resources and needs — their own and others
communities would get the benefit of tapping into all those creative idealistic minds
technical school students and college students would be linked to a common goal
young people would get connected to the retired people in the community who many times donate to or work at thrift stores and people who have resources they no longer need but would be willing to share
young people would have an opportunity to learn about how what they throw away or do not maintain affects core wealth in communities (I believe many kids are not taught how to take care of things — even something as simple as sitting on a chair gently affects its life)
young people would have an opportunity to explore how what is thrown away in one community might be able to create wealth in another
when people know where the resources in a community are, they are more likely to use them and use them well
Now, as part of this, I could envision a whole transportation network being set up which involved students and retirees — people that many times are on the move more often than the general 9-5 population. But appreciate, things like this take time: You need continuity and an ability for one person to easily pick up where another left off if you design something like this as part of a whole overall educational experience. And you need good connections among all the educational institutions nationwide.
Interestingly enough, if you have students moving up and out of a class like this at educational institutions across the country, you create another link: When they are working in those 9-5 jobs, they can be on the lookout — for what they need and for what others might be able to use.
And, if they know they can connect with some ongoing group of people who's helping create the links, they are more likely to do so. (The last thing that most people who are working who have kids want is more work — some things that could be done just don't get done because people know they can only do so much). But imagine if thousands of students who were taking an economics course anyway across the nation were all focused on one single thing: increasing the nation's base of wealth while taking a 3 credit course.
If we want to maximize the value of what we have ('common sense' economics), a course like this shouldn't be Missing In Action (MIA).