Change is a given promise when we were told that we needed to be prosperous and develop. That is easier said than done when there are other factors, such as imperialism, that alter the path of ‘change’ and development, just to ensure others grow while we remain stagnant.
The world that we live in is drastically changing but then what is actually changing when all we say we are doing is changing while doing nothing at all? Confusing? I know.
The way in which it is evolving is by becoming more intertwined, a little more globalized –if you will. To put it in simple terms, it’s Christmas and there is a family feud going on but everyone has just plastered a smile to their face, whilst their noses are out of place. That is what we call developmental economics, when this big family tries to find out what every member is lacking in (causes of poverty and low income), and tries to ‘offer’ advice on how to handle the situation (to create policy designs that could help individuals and their countries to attain “greater economic prosperity”) (Acemoglu, 2010).
But even if their noses were in someone else’s business, its not as bad as we think it is. Because more often than not it does help out developing countries by guiding them down the path of prosperity. Take the United Nations for example and the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s a global initiative to ensure that everyone has a fair chance to enter this ‘newly awakened’ globalized world. There has been tremendous progress with respects to giving aid not only in the form of finance, but also social, environmental and economic. This all in all clearly defines the word ‘change’; the world is transforming, people and countries’ roles are diversifying, the connections are forming and the more one looks at it, the more its realized just how linked we all are. Almost like a chain.
But even so, with all these developmental advancements and global goals, how is it still possible that the minority of the world’s wealthiest of approximately 17% consumes around 80% of the world’s resources? Why is it that even with all these changes, new ambitions and global development projects, it still leads to depicting the world in a static manner? A manner of no real progression at all.
It seems as though every two steps we take forward, we take one step back. Almost as though its false hope that one day everyone will be given equal opportunities to be able to enter the global enterprise, also known as, the neoliberal market. These actions create an opportunity for questioning ones actions and agendas behind the developmental aid given. To simply put it “what’s in it for me?”
Eventually, all that ‘economic prosperity’ (that was achieved because of the aid given) basically generates enough wealth just so it can cycle back to the original lenders, the world’s wealthiest people. The truth is, those who are given aid are being ripped off tragically. The only ones who really benefit are those who get the profits at the end. Since the early 2000’s until this date, there has been almost no change from a global wealth disparities/distribution standpoint. Even though we are lead to believe that the world is investing and giving to those who really need it, and although the numbers are improving (as per progress reports from the Sustainable Development Goals), we have to realize so are the numbers in the world’s wealthiest’s bank accounts.
As Joseph Stiglitz (2009) said, it is due to wanting to improve ones own national economy before others even if it means the downfall of the global economy. There is this sense of hostility, and majority of these organizations that aim to help the under privileged are to an extent influenced by the policies and social values that hosts the wealthiest people in the world. Therefore ulterior motives could be induced within terms and conditions of accepting aid, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”
Thus is the fate of a capitalist neoliberal economy, imperialism is then inevitable. One will always try to grow independently and have a main aim of accumulating wealth, therefore increasing competition within the market economy. Meaning it’s a struggle for survival for those who are not fortunate. By the looks of things, this ideology won’t be changing for a long time, and so even if there have been great improvements within the developing world, they won’t really have a chance to compete on the same level as those from the developed world. They’ll be too busy abiding by the terms and conditions by the aid lenders and so these disparities are highly unlikely to change.
Fadhila Al Asmawi | Dubai Campus
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