More sweetness….part ll

In the year 2000 the UN set some Millennium Development Goals.  They were and still are pretty good goals. And, even more impressively, a lot of progress has been made.

Since 1990 the global infant mortality rate has halved.  So has the extreme poverty index. In effect, the huge global problem of poverty and infant death has been halved all around the world in just 25 years.  It is also true that global life longevity has also increased by almost three years.  And there has been a huge increase in the world’s children getting at least an elementary education (mostly because more primal, uber-paternalistic cultures are now allowing more girls to attend school).  There is no question that the world is a better place overall and that the improvement has been pretty quick.

How did it happen?  Mostly by way of globalization.  First world countries lost jobs to third world countries.  China exploded as an economic juggernaut and so did India.  They, together, make up over 40% of the world’s population.  The improvement has been the result of the much vaunted trickle-down effect from rich countries to poor ones.

But the trickle came from the middle class segment of the developed world not from the rich folks (exception: Bill gates and a few other biggies).  The rich just got richer and the middle class of Canada and the rest of the G8 simply lost wealth to the third world’s poor.

And it shouldn’t be that way.

Is it so bad?  Is it not OK to lose a $1.25 a day ($1.25 a day was the extreme poverty cut-off in 1990 and now half of those people get almost $3.00) to save a family in Somalia?  Of course it is OK.  But it is not $1.25 a day to a Canadian because there are so few Canadians compared to the so many, many extreme poor.  The G8 middle and lower class actually lose something on the scale of twenty times that in order to raise the level of income for so many of the third world’s poor.  The average Canadian has ‘lost’ more like $500 to $1000 a month in real purchasing power since 1990 and way too much of that went to the rich.

So globalization is a boon to the super-rich, the world’s poor and an unfair burden to the first worlds’ middle class.

Given that that great unwashed will never be rich anyway, it’s probably not so bad.  So we eventually can’t afford as much crap from Walmart, so what?  Maybe this is as good a way as any to help the desperately poor.  Mind you, the unfair apportionment is also the root cause of our suffering medical care, education and other social institutions. Essentially we are being driven down at an accelerated rate so that the world’s poor can get a bit of a leg up.

But what of the other goals?  There were 8 in total.  1.  Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.  2. Achieve universal primary education.  3. Promote gender equality and empower women.  4. Reduce infant mortality.  5. Improve maternal health.  6. Wage war on communicable diseases (Aids, Malaria, etc.) 7. Ensure environmental sustainability. 8. Global partnership for development (read: more free trade).

It is arguable that – in some significant ways – all but one of those goals is being met or at least addressed.  The notable exception is the Achilles heal for the other 7.  An exploitation of the planet’s resources that is at a rate of non-sustainabilty will eventually undermine any progress in the other seven and will, in the extreme, undermine life on the planet. We are progressing in ways that ultimately won’t count if we don’t address the most important item, #7 on the list.

And what about the felt (but still unconscious) unfairness being inflicted on the developed world’s middle class?  Won’t they get annoyed?  Might they not revolt?  Could they get out of hand?  Well, the answer to that it seems is increased security, more rules and controls, rise of the police state.

The math? The price for the 7 improvements (as managed by the super-rich) is the creation of two really big problems.  How will that play out in the end?  Maybe if the super-rich got in the game and played fair, we could achieve the same benefits with fewer costs?

Just sayin’……………. 

9 thoughts on “More sweetness….part ll

  1. I dont begrudge the worlds’ poor a decent wage or living conditions. People that are content have less of a chance to join ISIS and chop “unbelievers” heads off.
    I also dont think the world will end if the majority of middle class Canadians can only afford one car and one 50 inch flat screen tv. The “dream” of home ownership is turning into an overpriced, overhyped nightmare….and this is before interest rates start moving inevitably up from their historic lows. There is no shame in renting. The majority of city dwellers in Canada and the US rented before the second world war. It was only when all those millions of battle hardened vets returned home from overseas with bleak employment prospects that the US govt implemented the GI Bill and crated massive construction projects from highways to new “suburbs” where people could “own” their homes. Nothing like placating the mob with jobs, babies, and a slice of suburban “paradise”
    Priorities should be a) food, b) shelter, c) safety. All the rest is materialistic crap.
    As for the obscenely rich…… They should be verrrrry verrrry careful as to how they conduct themselves .
    Barbarians at the Gate would be the least of their worries in a civilized world gone mad.


    • “They should be verrrrry verrrry careful as to how they conduct themselves”. They are. They are building themselves a police state. And the police already kill more citizens every year than do terrorists and criminals combined. That response to the inevitable revolt is now in place. So, when is the inevitable revolt? What does it look like? I dunno. But I have it on reliable sources,that I am somewhat revolting so maybe it looks like me?


        • Not a good idea. If you think power corrupts, wait til I get my hands on some! The wine, the women (sorry, Sal), the song! And that would happen if I was just elected to city council! First maxim of good politics: do not let the lunatics run the asylum.


  2. Why are perks for some groups not a form of welfare but if a single mother of two children under five gets a tuition grant so that she may get more education, then the amount of the grant is withheld from her welfare payment? Current policy of BC government. A grant is considered to be earnings in BC!


    • Simple reason: the government has not been FOR the people since their authority over them was assured with the creation of the domestic police force. ANY domestic police force. The existence of the people is FOR the government. Has been that way for centuries. Never think the government is working on your or any ordinary citizen’s behalf. ‘Cause it never is and the proof of that is everywhere now and has been manifest everywhere throughout history.


  3. The seven goals to improve the lot of people are mostly in place in the first and second world nations with some exceptions. Some third world countries have met some of these laudable goals. I think an eighth goal ought to be end warlordism. Many areas have failed governments leaving the country in chaos. Many areas in the first world and the second world are run by thugs and gangs and cartels but there seems little will to quelle such areas when the bad guys out gun the police. Check out the current situation in Mexico and many American inner cities. Canada is not exempt either!


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