Social Equity

I have the privilege to know a Sociology major who is willing to share what he’s learned with me. Since I find people fascinating, it’s been super interesting! One of the concepts I’ve found compelling is Social Equity.

Basically, in a community, people have a support network of people who know them and their needs. As we become less connected to each other, more isolated by technology, time constraints, social conventions, or a million other factors, we lose that network. So the concept of social equity, in my uber-simple understanding, is that the more people we are connected to, the more our lives benefit by sharing our resources and abilities.

I’m not going to get any points for my scholarly accuracy on this, but the takeaway for me was that we need each other. I can do some IT type stuff. I have some skills that others might not, and that they might have to pay a professional for, if they didn’t know me. My friend can do all manner of things with his hands, build things and do household repairs. My uncle knows about cars, and can help with minor body work and identify what is making that weird sound. You get the picture. Because we know each other, we can help each other out instead of having to look for and pay professionals. The value of relationships is unquantifiable, but there can be a dollar value assigned to the services we perform for each other. And, unless I’ve missed the mark entirely, that’s social equity, in my super simple terms.

So, in my ideal world, a community could thrive, socially and economically, if we could pool our abilities and do what we can for each other, and benefit from the skills of our friends and neighbours. I know, call me communist, but I prefer “community-ist”. I hold fast to my belief that one of the major problems our society faces is disconnectedness. In rural communities when people first settled most of North America, there were no alternatives to relying on each other to raise barns, birth calves and lambs, slaughter pigs, etc. Women would use the biggest kitchen available to put up preserves, and the older generations would teach the younger.

Why have we forgotten that our most valuable resources are the people in our lives?

Just a thought.

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~ by Trillian on 04/13/2011.

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