Within the past century there have been two world wars, and many more fights for justice and freedom. Yet, today, in 2014, we are witnessing the biggest bouts of poverty many of us will see and have ever seen in our lifetime.
The world system is capitalism, we work within capitalism and we spend within capitalism. But while ‘we’ in the western world do this, there is a greater economic divide occurring within nations like Togo. So, to change this crisis of major wealth divide between the elite and the impoverished, Stiglitz (2009) suggests a global stimulus package for the world economy within capitalism. This is due to the suggestion from the IMF that ‘at least 1 per cent of advanced industrial countries stimulus packages are allocated to developing countries’. But what good is this really going to do for the likes of Togo? Yes this package and economic scheme may help temporarily, but in the long run there’s no financial security. This is not what we should be seeing in 2014.
Togo has a national GDP of $7.348 billion in 2013 compared to the US of $16.72 trillion in the same year. If this isn’t shocking enough, take a look at the figures of access to clean water. With a population of 7, 351,374 only 60% of have access to clean water which compared to the US with a population of 318,892,103, where 99% have access. Now let’s compare life expectancy, in Togo, a citizen has a life expectancy of around 65 years, whereas the US citizen is expected to live until they are 80.
All this poverty within capitalism is due to an unequal playing field. This sheer wealth and poverty divide is supported by Van Der Pijl’s (2009) work on Marx’s view that ‘the capitalist mode of production… produces wealth at one pole and poverty at the other’. It is appalling that any nation in this day cannot provide clean water access to all citizens and yet other nations have the ability to preside over what this nation produces and in turn exploit them. It is clear that in a capitalist structure, no matter what Togo decides to produce, no matter how good the quality, the advanced nations will take little notice and will trade within other nations. The unequal playing field for nations like Togo is an easy way of maintaining the poverty.
It is incredibly sad that through all this world has accomplished, such as the vote for women, gay rights and the abolition of slavery in the west, we still cannot figure out how to aid nations like Togo. What’s, even sadder though, is that countries are just accepting the possibility that they will never come out of poverty . As O’Brien and Williams (2010) state, the debt crisis that emerged in the 1980’s where ‘developing nations were desperate for funds to help them industrialize their economies’ shows that even today, nations such as Togo are repaying their loan debt to the west with interest.
So for there to be winners in this capitalist system, there has to be losers and Togo is just one in many that are experiencing the loss.
CIA. Gov (2014) The world factbook.Available at :https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/to.html [Accessed 17th December 2014]
CIA.gov (2014)The world factbook .Available at: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html [Accessed 16th December 2014]
O’Brien R, Williams M (2010) Global Political Economy. (3rd Ed) Palgrave Macmillan.pp232-234
Stiglitz, J (2009) The global crisis, social protection and jobs: International Labour Review. Vol 148
Van Der Pijl, K (2009) ‘From Classical to Global Political Economy: A Survey of Global Political Economy. (University of Sussex)