We live in a world that focuses on maximizing profits, and in return allows a lot of social injustices to occur. In this fashion, I am attempting to solve sweatshops— one of the negative consequences of the wicked problem economic competition. Wicked problems are linked to multiple things so in this case it starts with economic competition which leads to low wages and bad working conditions which then results in the creation of sweatshops.
Furthermore, the reason sweatshops are still happening is because of competition between similar businesses, resulting in everyone cutting costs to provide the consumer with the most reasonably priced good while maintaining a profit. Similarly, in the Market Reading one major takeaway I had was the explanation about economics. It discussed competition in the widget market and an effective competition would appear to be one where the price is driven down to where consumers want to purchase the product and that number would match the amount others want to sell. This describes our free market, but it fails to acknowledge that in order to become better off someone is going to be made worse off.
This concept also ties into the wicked problem website, after reading the social entrepreneurial story about Project M I had a clear idea of how the economy, wicked problems, and social entrepreneurs go together. For example, how does one solve a pressing humanitarian problem when our world only cares about maximizing an economic profit?
Social entrepreneurs are the solution to solving these problems. They focus on creating social capital within a community which is equally important as financial wealth. One way social entrepreneurs attempt to solve problems is by creating prototypes which typically is part of a larger service that includes people and policies. When all of the elements are successful together, we see an effective solution to creating the maximum social capital, and solving a wicked problem. I researched a social entrepreneurial company called Livelyhoods to gain insight on how real companies have successfully solved social problems. Livelyhoods has an employment and skills training, fee for service business model in which they source products such as cook stoves and power solutions to developing countries and hire unemployed people to sell the products in their community for commission. This way it’s a distribution method and a way to provide jobs to those in need.
In an attempt to solve sweatshops, I used the current- state future scenarios analysis. I first defined that the economy/ free market is the system where the problem lies. Second, I classified that the direct drivers are corporation competition and the indirect drivers to be low wages. Third I conducted a casual chain analysis and then fourth I assessed the impact event and trends of relevant drivers. Fifth I pinpointed the factors influencing human activity, and lastly I identified the indicators. I thought this analysis helped me formulate my problem and gain a deeper understanding.