Turning Knowledge into Action

There is so much knowledge in the world. Every time I pick up a new book this thought storms my mind.

To think of how many books, pieces of literature, journal articles, blog posts, news pieces, and all that’s left unwritten but neatly stored in the crevices of our brains — it’s almost overwhelming.

I love it, though. Because it’s all out there for us to discover. There is literally an unending pool of knowledge for us to dive into — one that’s size is beyond what our single imagination could conceive, and one that’s infinitely growing because new knowledge is being discovered each and every day.

But then I think of all the problems in the world. There are so many ideas but seemingly so few solutions; and even with the solutions do exist, there is little action to implement them; and even when they are acted upon, there is little motivation to follow through.

There is never quite enough doing.

You see, I look at the world in two major ways:

  1. As a set of problems
  2. As a beautiful opportunity to leave the world better than we found it

Now this view of the world, while perhaps contradictory, undoubtedly comes from my studies. I’ve always been interested in the intricate complexities of this world, but it was not until I began to focus my graduate studies on international economic development that this reality became my biggest fascination.

I now look at every scenario as an opportunity for improvement. Whether that’s good or bad I’m not sure, to be honest, but what I do know is that it means I’ve found what I’m really passionate about.

But as I dive deeper into this field, one thing has become so obvious: the world realizes vast inequality exists, and countless numbers of scholars and researches have proposed what seem to be adequate and viable solutions, yet here we are — living in a world in which a handful of countries that comprise less than 1/5 of the total global population hold the majority of the world’s wealth.

Is it a collective action problem? Are we simply lazy? I promise we do not lack the tools to act — but perhaps we are devoting such tools and resources to other priorities.

What I believe it comes down to is we do not care.

I do not think the global economic system is deliberately trapping the worlds poor in a state of eternal poverty.

I do think we have the ability to change the status quo.

What we need, in my opinion, is a consensus that we all deserve equality. Yes, I recognize that is an extremely liberal ideal. And no, I do not believe socialism is the answer.

But since when did  it become admirable to not sacrifice some of our riches to those who have nothing? Why is it that we think the world will fix itself, and we can go about living in leisure while the rest of the world watches in pain, in suffering?

We, I include myself in this, have so much. When will we start to realize that a little sacrifice can go so far. A little discomfort on our part, perhaps foregoing one Starbucks drink a week and investing a few dollars a month in a developing start-up in Nairobi, goes such a long way.

We can by no means fix everything. But I do believe this severely inadequate distribution of resources is a major contributor to the problem.

If every single one of us capable took one piece of knowledge we’ve accumulated and actually acted upon it, whatever it might be, think of all the good the world could see.


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