Global South and North are poles apart from our shared experience of Capitalism which became the norm after the collapse of communist regimes in the world. Indeed, capitalism does, in its all-consuming glory, create poles. Nevertheless, this situation of ‘winners and losers’ is not natural. It is a result of systemic exploitation of the masses by the powerful of the world caused under capitalist structures (Watson, 2011). This adds to the wealth of few and impoverishes the poor even more.
The inset data is from 2012 and shows the percentage of income held by the richest and the poorest 20% of various countries. The countries described herein are either quickly developing or the developed. Yet for all of these countries more than 40% of the national income is retained by the top 20% of the population whereas the bottom 20% receive less than 9%. Of course, the population differences are to be accounted as India and China are much more densely populated than Netherlands. Nonetheless, the overall trend is similar in these countries. If we were to take the poorer countries of the world such as Congo or Sudan, the results would be even bleaker.
According to Haughton and Khandker (2014) poverty is measured as a lack of certain commodities. Well-being is hence having power over these commodities. It is quite noticeable here that Marx too saw class structures between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. He defined those having authority over modes of production as the ones controlling the proletariat or the workers (Coates, 1991). It is ironic really how a World Bank document has terminology similar to that of Marx. I personally believe that if Marx were to exist today, he would find the situation of most parts of the world drastically akin to his predictions. Most of the world’s resources are being procured by the rich while poverty persists for the majority of people.
World Bank provides extensive data about poverty and inequality. Not because it is a noble organisation or suddenly sympathetic to the deprived of the world, but because the disease of poverty has spread its roots so deep in our failed world that none can help but take notice of it. The inequality in this world in matters of education, livelihoods and even sustenance is far too obvious. The reasons for it might be up for debate but it is undeniable that the capitalist system deepens and widens such inequality in the world.
By: Mariam Khawar
Coates, D. (1991). Traditions of Thought, and the Rise of Social Sciences in UK. In: Anderson, J., and Ricci, M. eds. (1991) Society and Social Sciences. 1st Ed: Open University.
Data.worldbank.org, (2014). Income share held by highest 20% | Data | Table. [Online] Available at: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.DST.05TH.20 [Accessed 25 Oct. 2014].
Data.worldbank.org, (2014). Income share held by lowest 20% | Data | Table. [Online] Available at: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.DST.FRST.20/countries [Accessed 25 Oct. 2014].
Haughton, and Khandker, (2014). Poverty and Inequality Handbook. 1st ed. [E-book] Available at: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTPA/Resources/429966-1259774805724/Poverty_Inequality_Handbook_Ch01.pdf [Accessed 24 Oct. 2014].
Watson, M (2011). ‘The Historical Roots of Theoretical Traditions in Global Political Economy’, in Ravenhill, J (2011) Eds. Global Political Economy, 3rd Edition. London: Oxford University Press.