Sunday, November 27, 2011
Thoughts on "Inequality"
Recent world publications have been profuse on the theme of fighting "inequality" between the rich and poor of the world. There is no doubt in my mind that the differences between rich and poor are far greater than they were just 30 years ago. The reasons for that are too multiple and complex to go into for this simple blog...but lets just accept it as our current assumption in global economics up for discussion.
As I have been reading a bit lately concerning the United Nations and its sub agencies on this issue, it seems quite obvious that they see bigger government programs and World Bank type intrusions to be the quick answer to this obvious problem. The biggest problem I have with this is that they primarily work with domestic governments who are actually primary players in perpetuating this reality of disparity between the haves and have nots. Most leftist leaning governments have destroyed regular enterprise by taking them over and trying to redistribute the goods to their massive supporters of poor, uneducated voters while keeping the best for their "own".
I have spent my adult decades trying to better understand global economics as it relates to the poor and uneducated. I have purposely traveled and exposed myself to some of the worst neighborhoods and ghettos...from the USA to Mexico to many of the rest of Central and South American countries. One thing has been uniform in all of those countries, including my own. No matter whether markets or currencies go up or down...the poor and disenfranchised live pretty much the same reality. Even if they get more assistance from public or non profit funding somehow, the distance between them and wealth remains the same.
It is quite interesting to observe the past few years the number of governmental overthrows...especially in some Middle East Arab states. While there are varying causes for these uprisings...at the bottom of most is the inequality of distribution within their country or system. Rulers, especially from third world countries, seem to all read the same book about how to "rape and pillage" their own country for self and live like royalty while "in office". It continues to amaze me how long the huddled masses put up with this obvious hording for personal or family gains in their various countries for decade after decade. In most cases this has gone on so long, it would be challenging to take over and know what assets are where within many particular governments.
It seems quite clear to me that there is an insidious and conscious cooperation between various nation states to support so many of these ruling tyrants. Between the United Nations, and the various sub organizations such as the "Group of 77", UNESCO, the "G20" group of nations...and even tack on the block trading zones of NAFTA, the European Union (currently "dis" union), and various summit groups all over the world...you see on a huge scale the inter-operable network of states and their global organizations working to "organize" and arguably manipulate a world order that are not necessarily based on the majority of people`s better interests.
Lets face it, there is POWER in leading the huddled masses...whether as a benevolent dictator, or a barbaric totalitarian. When so many states have controlled so many global industries and resources for so long...it is hard to wrest away the control buttons and codes from those few global leaders who control them. Spoils go to the "victors", and this last century of two World Wars and various global "conflicts" between nations has led to some pretty dire consequences for those nations or regions that "did not win".
The carving up of the world between the "Allies" of post WW2 divided nations and cultures into unnatural and inhumane borders between families and religions. From there quickly went up the walls between East and West, North and South. The rush was on for statist domination of the world as the USA continued to expand on its role as the global "policeman" and superpower...while Russia and China moved in kind to protect their "interests" and share of global assets and resources. In my early years, the leaders of note were Nixon, Nikita Khrushchev (a man named "Stalin" preceded him), and the worlds largest population was lead by Mao Zedong and after him by Chiang Kai-shek. Beyond the superpowers we saw the rise of revolutionaries such as Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran, Gaddafi in Libya and various mini kingdoms on the continent of Africa. At the macro level, you had three "Super Powers" using 3rd world countries as battlegrounds for their economic, cultural and geographical controls of resources...whether it be people, oil, water or other advantages pursued. Of course, the arms race that resulted from this global competition has turned into the major population control tool. One can imagine these leaders agreeing behind the scenes saying who, what, and where can be bombed or allowed to enter Civil War in order to have less poor mouths to feed down the road.
Again, this scenario is so huge and multifaceted, we can`t begin to adequately analyze it in a simple blog. The main point I am trying to illustrate is that "inequality" is a largely "institutionalized" reality of global powers and dictatorial regimes who control the worlds resources...and DISTRIBUTION of those resources. If those powers REALLY wanted to get together to help the poor and uneducated catch up a bit on their own advantaged families and royalties...they could. The poor are not "institutionally" stupid. They are just without money or position to change the structure of distribution and spend significant portions of their measly incomes supporting those powers that be in the form of "taxes".
Changes are quickly taking place I believe in today`s world. Some of these changes are good and welcomed. The advancement of technology via cellphones, computers and the internet has allowed the global masses to have almost equal access to information and communication that used to be reserved only for the states, military and global corporations. Self education is more readily available through these modern tools for those who really want to pursue it. Enough of the poor and disenfranchised are doing so to make a difference in political and economic waves of today. We will soon see mobile money and other transaction options allow the majority of people who have no bank accounts or credit become major factors in their region`s economic reality and GNP.
Inequality in today's world will not remain dormant or accepted. The question now will be to what ends and legal processes the newly educated and connected poor will go to claim their equal access to the worlds assets and resources? The "natives" are getting more restless than ever before...and with today's global economic meltdown, I predict there will be more significant exchanges of fortune than in any other time in recent history. There will be economic wars, cultural wars, and yes, outright wars between powers to gain advantage over the next reshaping of the worlds borders. There will be more governments toppled before this new parity is in place...and less "centralization" or isolation between countries and peoples...primarily because islands are no longer profitable or sustainable.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, a new "world order" is coming...and while it is too early to say whether it will be better than the old one...lets hope that it is...because the old one cannot endure. There is a current vacuum of true leadership...and this fact alone could more quickly contribute to the rise of individuals within the world to hopefully foster more inter-connectedness around the globe and a more even distribution of opportunity. I think the new equality will center around some form of new globalized agreements...connected to more localized community and cultural governments. The model of city and state versus "country of origin" will make a lot more sense going forward in governing and protecting the "rights of the people". The pyramid of power has been upside down too long...and I personally welcome more activism and controls from the family and local community on DOWN to the "Federal" level of controls. We can start by simply re reading and reinforcing the Constitution of the USA which first presented this concept in ways that are still malleable and practical.
Here`s to earned equalities...protected by international laws.