Traditional cultures which emphasis generosity, social equality, strong family ties often prevent the generation of business profits. Family members and friends may demand credit from employees of a shop or business which is never paid back. Business owners may be expected to make hugh contributions to community affairs. The shop owner as the major interface between a moneyed economy and a barter economy is frequently in the position of never making a profit.
In small rural communities in the process of developing businesses frequently perform far more than economic functions. They train individuals in managerial and entrepreneurial skills. They are the major focus of community information. Small shops function as the community decision making centers in hundreds of thousands of villages across the world. They may be a major link with the larger society. To look at small businesses in rural, developing communities simply in monetary terms is to misunderstand their social functions.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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