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The Work of the Social Ecologist

If this change is relevant and meaningful, what opportunities does it offer?

Now as to what the work of the social ecologist is: First of all, it means looking at society and community by asking these questions: “What changes have already happened that do not fit ‘what everybody knows’?” “What are the ‘paradigm changes’?” “Is there any evidence that this is a change and not a fad?” And, finally, one then asks: “If this change is relevant and meaningful, what opportunities does it offer?”

A simple example is the emergence of knowledge as a key resource. The event that alerted me to the fact that something was happening was the passage of the GI Bill of Rights in the United States after the Second World War. This law gave every returning war veteran the right to attend college, with the government paying the bill. It was a totally unprecedented development. These considerations led me tot he question: “What impact does this have on expectations, on values, on social structure, on employment, and so on?” And once this question was asked—I first asked it in the late 1940s—it became clear that knowledge as a productive resource had attained a position in society as never before in human history. We were clearly on the threshold of a major change. Ten years later, by the mid-1950s, one could confidently talk of a “knowledge society,” of “knowledge work” as the new center of the economy, and of the “knowledge worker” as the new, ascendant workforce.

ACTION POINT: Identify changes that have already taken place that do not fit “what everybody knows.” Capitalize on the opportunities these present.

The Ecological Vision

* Source: The Daily Drucker by Peter F. Drucker

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