While the world is still adjusting to and trying to recover from the worst global economic crisis to occur since the Great Depression, I am focused on what comes next. You see, in the midst of this crisis I also see an opportunity. An opportunity, finally, to make free enterprise and responsible capitalism relevant to the poor and the underserved, and to work for the poor and the underserved. This time around, in order to grow world economies it will require the positive inclusion of you and me. But first, a quick history review.
There has been four major economic big bangs in global economic growth historically, both here in the United States and around the world. They are:
1. The agricultural age.
2. The industrial age.
3. The technology age.
4. The information age.
There were several sub-phases of the industrial age in the United States and around the world, and many parts of the world are still moving through all four-stages of economic growth, depending on whether they are developing countries, developed economies or somewhere in between. The thing is, all four of these previous stages of economic growth required land, buildings, equipment or other "things" to light the fuse of economic growth and prosperity. Even the last phase, which America is currently in and has arguably led, has depended upon a certain software which is wholly technologically based, and tied to the "thing" called a computer, or a Mac, an iPad, etc. In other words, in many ways it was the 'thing" that drove or at least triggered the economic growth experienced by a nation, state, city or community. This next economic big bang will be different. Very different.
The next big bang of global economic growth, the 5th stage of economic prosperity for nations, will rely almost wholly on what I now call the "software of human development." Let me explain.
A patent is simply a monetized idea. An idea that has been structured, organized, legalized, and driven forward in a way that created real value. Real value to citizens, community and the pioneer of the idea too. The largest GDP nations in the world today are the nation's with the most patents; the most monetized ideas. Likewise, the economies with the least patents had the lowest GDP levels, almost universally. Nations going through war, civil unrest and social strife are no places for the birth of ideas, the freedom from which they come, nor the growth of economies. Translation: NO JOBS ARE FOUND HERE.
Democracy and the right to vote was the way to define freedom in the 20th century. I believe that in the future, freedom will be defined in the 21st century as 'ones ability to achieve self determination in their own life.' And herein lies the birth and driving force for the 5th big bang.
Gallup has become an expert in behavioral economics, and pioneers in what they now call Strength Finders. They have rightly focused on the power of an organization backed by inspired, excited, empowered employees. Employees who see themselves as 'co-owners' in the dream. Employees who are 100% engaged will always make an organization sing with success. But I am not talking about employees of big businesses here. I am talking about unleashing the human capital energy that creates literally hundreds of millions of NEW jobs here and around the world; through entrepreneurial start-ups, new small business creation, even self-employment projects (1-person, sustenance oriented enterprises).
Let's look at some powerful demographic facts that may fuel this new spurt of job growth:
* 60% of the population of Saudi Arabia today are under the age of 25.
* By 2020, 60% of the population of the MENA Region (the Middle East and North Africa) will be under the age of 25.
* By 2020, the MENA region will need 100 million jobs, according to the World Bank.
* Some estimate that as much as 1 billion new jobs will be needed globally for the world's youth during the same period.
There is no practical way to solve this problem 'traditionally. Big businesses cannot solve it, and governments shouldn't.
What I am talking about with this 5th Big Bang is the unleashing of empowered human capital, and human capital development, literally around the world. The new software of human development. And this is what happens when you energize and inspire a generation of young people -- here and around the world -- with the power of a new and transformational idea. The idea is this --- THEY ARE THE PRODUCT.
And when they know this.
When they believe this.
They become what I call, the "CEO of You."
What the world needs now are a generation of empowered human capital that creates their own job. And when they do this -- when 1 billion youth around the world figure out how they can light the creative fuse that lifts themselves up through self-determination, and save their home city too, they not only secure the GDP growth that the world needs next, they gain human dignity for themselves, and all those around them too.
Our plan for what comes next for a generation is HOPE Business In A Box, measured by the Gallup-HOPE Index. We will frame our vision for the future at our coming HOPE Global Financial Dignity Summit in Atlanta, Georgia on November 14th-15th, 2012.
Join us. Join the movement. Let's change the world, together.
John Hope Bryant is a thought leader, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), the only African-American bestselling business author in America, and is chairman of the Subcommittee for the Under-Served and Community Empowerment for the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability, for President Barack Obama. Mr. Bryant is the co-founder of the Gallup-HOPE Index, the only national research poll on youth financial dignity and youth economic energy in the U.S. He is also a co-founder of Global Dignity with HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Professor Pekka Himanen of Finland. Global Dignity is affiliated with the Forum of Young Global Leaders and the World Economic Forum. Mr. Bryant serves on the board of directors of Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation, an NYSE Euronext publicly traded company, and a division of $54 billion Ares Capital.