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Sunday, July 12, 2020


Global Degeneration


Developed nations have to responsibly reduce global inequality
PRASOON MAJUMDAR | Issue Dated: August 5, 2016, New Delhi
Tags : Prof Jeffery D Sachs | Industrial Revolution |

Sometime ago, I attended an online lecture of Prof Jeffery D Sachs on sustainable development, where he said that three hundred years ago, the world was the most equal place. As everyone around the world was poor, everyone had more or less similar challenges and similar problems. The first distortion towards this global equality happed during the Industrial Revolution, wherein the industrialized nations become relatively more powerful and stronger than the others. The Industrial Revolution took time to reach the shores of other nations, and in the meanwhile, the penchant for more wealth and power made the already industrialized nations fight wars and colonize almost the entire world, so as to ensure that whatever they produced in their respective countries could be traded to their respective colonies in lieu of cheap raw materials, which these colonies would supply.

This practice continued for centuries, making this world a hugely distorted place, completely demolishing the egalitarian fabric. What started with raw material continued and continues with crude oil as it is the main energy source to fuel the growth of the industrialized economy. The result is a huge disparity wherein the top 1 percent population of the world holds more wealth than the rest 99 percent. This obscene and monstrous disparity has kept a majority of the old colonies subjugated under inhuman conditions leaving them to sustain in sub human conditions for generations put together.

The exploitation did not end post independence of most of the erstwhile-colonized nations. A few nations who were endowed with natural resources, could still make some kind of a moderate restart, but for those who had nothing left, everything looted, remained at the mercy of these industrialized nations even today.

 So on one hand, while the Industrial Revolution distorted the world, on the other hand, Internet and new age technology is bringing about equity and equality. Then again, critics mention that the Internet not only made the exploited lot realize the extent of damage done by the so-called industrialised nations, but it also became an easy medium for people with vested interest to influence the exploited and anguished lot once again towards the creation of this dangerous world and dangerous times we are living in today. Times which have seen degeneration of human kind and human actions in almost all spheres of life, almost across the globe. This degeneration of human character seems unstoppable. Lynching, killing, and mass scale massacres on apparent religious lines are almost trying to outcompete previous benchmarks with utmost barbarism and in cold blood. And the saddest bit is that on one side there are these innocent people who are being killed mercilessly and on the other there are these gullible and vulnerable lot who have no idea what are they up to. Today, there exists no nation, no society, no neighbourhood, which is safe and secured. The paradox is that though apparently it all looks to be motivated by religious fundamentalism, even then no mosque, or temple or church is safe. Somewhere, I feel that it is us, humans, who are to be blamed for the monster that we have created today. Today, whatever is happening in Palestine or in entire West Europe or entire Africa or in Afghanistan or in Iraq or in Syria or in Bangladesh, Pakistan or India are not unique problems. Almost each problem has its genesis in our own wrongdoing somewhere in the past. Unfortunately, even today, in order to solve our own problem, we are repeating the same mistake again and again.

Though hugely absurd, some critics do mention that one way of bringing in some temporary peace is to clamp down Internet completely for all, without any discrimination of wealth, religion or colour of skin (you can notice sparks of this ideology when governments under attack or nations suffering riots clamp down on communication infrastructure completely). How does that sound?

Well, I can guess your answer, and therefore suggest that the other and more sensible way to resolve the disparity existing withing the world is to integrate the global economy to reduce the self-made disparity. Somewhere, the rich nations need to realize that on account of their misadventures, the world has become a worse place than it should have been. They need to ensure that each citizen in the world needs to necessarily have equal access to basics in life and opportunities to grow. For that to happen, rich nations should be allocated a cluster of poorer nations with defined targets to create quality infrastructure, facilities and opportunities, similar to those available in their own countries, in a stipulated time frame. Well, why cannot a United States adopt an entire Africa and create another United States of Africa out there? Of course, with controls and strictures to ensure that it's not another replication of the Iraq occupation... Though it may sound hugely utopian but that’s the only choice we have. Nothing else would work, and somewhere, we need to reassess what is it that we are leaving behind for our children, if at all we live for that long...

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017