Sometimes, when teaching about harsh realities, I admittedly ask myself if I am not exaggerating, making things looking worse than they are. Sometimes, when writing about economic and social facts, I am wondering if it is really about facts or about vested interests that are suggesting some biased interpretation. At least, when looking at the OECD-countries there is the assumption – or proposition – that we are living in enlightened countries, developed on the basis and for the sake of wealth and well-being of their people, now even ‘thinking-tanking’ about an Inclusive Growth Opportunities Index 2017. And indeed, reading what the OECD member-states suggests as Our Mission suggests that we can put our minds to rest – rest assured that things are not perfect but at least moving towards perfection:
The mission of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.
The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. We work with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. We measure productivity and global flows of trade and investment. We analyse and compare data to predict future trends. We set international standards on a wide range of things, from agriculture and tax to the safety of chemicals.
We also look at issues that directly affect everyone’s daily life, like how much people pay in taxes and social security, and how much leisure time they can take. We compare how different countries’ school systems are readying their young people for modern life, and how different countries’ pension systems will look after their citizens in old age.
Drawing on facts and real-life experience, we recommend policies designed to improve the quality of people’s lives. We work with business, through the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC), and with labour, through the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC). We have active contacts as well with other civil society organisations. The common thread of our work is a shared commitment to market economies backed by democratic institutions and focused on the wellbeing of all citizens. Along the way, we also set out to make life harder for the terrorists, tax dodgers, crooked businessmen and others whose actions undermine a fair and open society.
Well, often the small print is overlooked, when putting minds resting assured …, so often it is overlooked that people, humans are put to rest – or even more: that people are not even considered to be human beings. So we read for Australia, on of the OECD-countries:
Indeed, teaching about realities is not only a matter of teaching about more than models – it is also about teaching something that can be very different.