Monday, March 7, 2011

Progress by the People: How to Make a Better World Without Relying on Government

Understandably, many of us are disillusioned with government right now. In every country, they are plagued with some combination of economic strife or inequality, shocking human rights violations, political corruption, and general malaise. Our government in particular is much more interested in fiscal responsibility and large corporations than the majority of citizens.

Keeping these issues in mind, here are some of my best tips for someone who wants to live a fulfilling life and help recover a crumbling world. There won’t even be one casualty!

Change yourself before trying to change anyone else. If you want everyone to care about a cause, you should be giving as much time and money as you can to it. One determined visionary begins every movement, so be the person who brings into the world whatever you think it is lacking.

The internet is your friend. The internet has already sparked more than one revolution. If you're new to social networking, Facebook encompasses your every need, and you can learn its tricks from any user you know or an online tutorial. To spread your message even more, create some videos on YouTube and write shorter updates on Twitter.

Educate. There are people who think social movements should rely entirely on public policy and government agencies. But for us masses who have no such influence, educating others suffices. It could start with a drifter you meet on the street or your 5-year-old cousin. But good messages spread, influence behavior, and eventually reach the ears of anyone who may need to hear them.

Plan meetings. Once you have educated a good amount of people, or maybe only three, start meeting together to discuss the issue or issues that bother you. It may start as three people in your basement, and grow to 50 people in a seminar room. Who knows? At the very least, the three of you will figure out the best activities you can go out and do to have the biggest impact on the issue.

Be creative. Find new ways to overcome a lack of ability to influence policy or to collect tax-deductible donations. Make a list of your goals and research do-it-yourself ways to achieve them. Some helpful changes include utilizing volunteers, completing tasks online, and purchasing used or otherwise discounted materials. You can also try to make a chain of small changes instead of one big one.

Be patient: The government will change with society. Generation Y is growing up. Seeing as most of us are less greedy and bigoted than our parents, the leaders among us must also be. And remember, many corrupt rich people will stop making money if we stop buying products from corrupt companies.

I would love to see what kinds of grassroots actions people are taking, so comment if you have anything to share.