baudrunner's space: The case for globalization
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The case for globalization

Reading the quick definition of yin and yang from Wikipedia doesn't necessarily improve one's understanding of it to any greater degree -- "generalization of antithesis of mutual correlation.."? Long before I had ever heard of the concept of yin and yang I had established to my own satisfaction that there must indeed as a matter of course be some kind of paradox principle at work in reality. I perceived of a counter-balance to anything that justified that thing's existence. I thought that there must be a way to apply this knowledge to make the world a better place while we are still alive on it, while at the same time realizing that this paradox principle extends to nature as well and that there are determined to be events over which we can have no control but at least have an understanding of because of this.

In my model of the creation of the Universe it was the establishment of a difference of potential that produced the cascade of events that led to the creation of matter and space and to the formation of stars, planets and galaxies. Everything exists as the antithesis of nothing. We can't have electromagnetic energy without positive and negative charges. Energy is absorbed or emitted. Heat is with reference to cold, light to dark. The "vacuum" of space is relative to our ability to survive only in an ecologically balanced environment that includes gravity and atmosphere. And so on.

Our continued evolution has produced a state whereby most of us live in relative comfort, enjoying the fruits of the labours of our predecessors. Our technological and scientific advances have assured us that famine and want should not exist. But if we take a closer look at the numbers we are confronted with the realization that our condition is but the yang to another yin.

It may be philosophical to say so but concentration of wealth appears to be at the expense of the poor. The wealth of the three richest individuals now exceeds the combined GDP of the 48 least developed countries. The combined wealth of the 225 richest people is equal to the combined annual income of the poorest one quarter of the world's population. For the fifteen years between 1970 and 1985 the global GNP grew 40% while the number of poor grew by 17%. From 1980 to 1995 more than a billion people saw their income fall compared to the fifteen year period from 1965 to 1980 during which 200 million people saw a drop in income. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) reported in 1996 that one hundred countries were worse off than they were fifteen years before.

The numbers made many sit up and take stock of the situation. While on the one hand we were doing wonderful things to make life better for ourselves there was evidently a large segment of this Earth's population who not only did not benefit but actually suffered greater deprivation. UN development experts concluded that "Development that perpetuates today's inequalities is neither sustainable nor worth sustaining." They realized that some sort of accommodation must be provided to manage this natural trend toward greater inequality. If we have a hand in reaching the limits of our human potential than we must see to it that its antithesis does not manifest, as it would without some kind of intervention.

It was during the mid 1990's that the concept of globalization first established itself into the popular conscious. Since then the situation has actually improved, partly through the united efforts of the wealthy nations to reduce the inequalities. Income inequality is diminishing. Life expectancy is increasing. There is a reduction by 45% of the proportion of the world's populations in countries where per-capita food supplies are less than 2,200 calories per day to only 10% since the 1960's.

"Globalization has fundamentally altered the world economy, creating winners and losers. Reducing inequalities both within and between countries, and building a more inclusive globalization is the most important development challenge of our time." - Kemal DerviĊŸ, UNDP Administrator
Some might argue that the biggest challenge lies in maintaining the rich economic growth of the developed countries while we are helping to improve the conditions of the poorest underdeveloped nations and they might be right, because that is like toying with nature. The solution to the world's problems lies in compromise -- pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps while tightening our belts.

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