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The youth of the world, our hope for a better future, did not cause the financial meltdown. But, they are the ones paying the heaviest price and suffering its painful consequences. This is unjust.

A society that neglects its young on this scale, and puts such pressure on them, is one that has lost its way. We have to refashion our economic model so that it works for everyone – particularly the young

As Will Hutton writing in todays Observer (Sunday june 23) had candidly remarked:

“We are governed by charlatans. The scale of economic mismanagement of our country is too little understood. We connive in epic mistakes and unnecessary suffering, legitimised by a suffocating and destructive economic consensus whose analytic underpinnings are in shreds – and known to be in shreds. Who cares for the condition of Britain or its people?

The facts are brutal. By 2018, 10 years after the financial crisis began, our GDP will be, cumulatively, 16% lower than it would have been had the crisis not broken. Only war has provoked such a discontinuity in our growth performance in modern times. This is imposing incredible and growing hardship on everybody, except for a few. Average incomes have fallen by 7% from their peak. You can see the effects in any high street. It's a world where good jobs are scarce, half a million rely on food banks, zero-hour contracts mushroom and the future is dark.

The young are at the centre of this maelstrom. Between 2008 and 2012, the Institute of Fiscal Studies reports that average incomes for people in their 20s fell by 12% – the largest of any group. The reason is not hard to find: there has been a collapse in demand for their labour. Firms, fearful for their own future, are not offering first "entry" jobs on any scale, let alone promoting and giving opportunity to the young they do employ. A quarter of firms offer no entry jobs at all. One in five 16- to 24-year-olds is without work.

The young know the score. Universities and further education colleges across the country report that incidences of stress are rising sharply as students know their exams are never more important, with the chances of successfully finding satisfying work so slim. A society that neglects its young on this scale, and puts such pressure on them, is one that has lost its way…”

Thus, there must be a better way to redesign our economic model, so that it serves all people, particularly the young:

Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative: 11th Annual Conference, Paris

Imagining a Better World: An Intergenerational Dialogue for the Common Good to Inspire a Creative Leadership”

Sunday August 25- Wednesday August 28, 2013

Today many of the youth of the world have committed themselves to build a world that is just, free and prosperous for all, by promoting and practicing the true human values of love, compassion, justice, dialogue, truthfulness, honesty, trustworthiness, humility, courtesy, hard work, dedication, commitment, sympathy, empathy, volunteerism and service. Values such as these should never be underestimated; the power of a value-led life coupled with the commitment and the passion of young activists is a force for change that cannot be matched. Such youth are empowering the world for the common good.

These qualities, essential for the moulding of character, must be internalised, and be expressed in daily action, whether in the context of family, community, country, or the world at large. The youth aspire to be an instrument of peace, promoting dialogue, advancing justice, so that we can all realise our dreams. The dream of young people has become the dream of the older generation. Their hope is now the common hope.

Whilst paraphrasing the wise words of the United Nations Secretary- General, and echoing his hope, it can be seen that, around the world, there is growing recognition of the need to strengthen policies and investments involving young people. We call on Governments, the private sector, civil society and academia to open doors for young people and strengthen partnerships with youth-led organizations. Youth can determine whether this era moves toward greater peril or more positive change.

We know that the best ideals of young people are inspired by so much wisdom of previous generations some of it very ancient.  In standing upon such ideals and wisdom we proclaim that it is possible to change our troubled world for the better, enabling us to build a world fit for the common good.

Imagining a Better World: An Intergenerational Dialogue for the Common Good to Inspire a Creative Leadership


Read Will Hutton article: “Blame austerity, not old people, for the plight of Britain's young”