Posted by: Nathan M. | June 4, 2009

A Sick World

Something very sad has happened to people in the world, including myself. I am assuming that I am not the only one who has felt this, and I believe that my assumption is correct. I have found myself reading articles on various peacekeeping missions and attempts by Canada and the UN to bring stability to other nations, and while I read these articles I find that I hold no optimism concerning these missions. I cannot think of an example of a peacekeeping mission or development assistance effort that has actually helped more than it has hurt the people of the country in question. Everything is messy, and everything is complicated. The problems that exist in the nations that we try to "help" always seem so much more complicated than we can handle, and these problems need more than simply a military presence ensuring (or trying to ensure) peace. There is a problem in this world that runs through our economies, politics, diplomatic relations, and very mindsets. globe_small

Sometimes I find myself thinking how it would be nice if we could sweep into a nation and literally force them to set up an entire society and government structure based around ours, because it seems to work here. But then I think of how many lives would be lost, and I realize that this wouldn’t work anyways, because a system that works here many not work anywhere else. Besides, I believe that it is a pretty well-known fact that if the world actually all lived like the west, we would all be plunged into poverty. That is the problem-the only way to really fix many of the problems that are faced in this world in many countries is to fight them here at home, to bring change that involves helping people that are half-way across the world. But, the change that is needed-living frugally, not grabbing at every form of luxury that we can find, paying attention to the ethics of the companies that are supplying our products and simply saying no to those that are damaging and exploiting other nations, are changes that are almost impossible to bring about, because our nation and the people of the west are so entrenched in the society of selfishness that to bring them out of it is like changing a lion into a lamb. Nigh-on impossible.

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Responses

  1. The level of consumption in the western world is unbelievable. You’re right, if we ever want to make a difference in this world we have to quite being so concerned with our level of luxury. The thing is, although some are apt to spend more than others, we all are accustomed to this consumer culture. It’s the society we’ve been raised in. Do we really need that BigMac? Do we need that other pair of shoes? These purchases seem small and insignificant, so we say “yes”. The economy responds to demand and this affects how we do business with the rest of the world. It’s an ongoing spiral that is putting third world countries deeper and deeper into a hole.

  2. And, the scary thing is that this system can only last for so long. Eventually, we will have driven our economy to the breaking point, because it is not an everlasting system. Once our debts climax, and once the third world is no longer able to sedate our perpetual appetite, the entire system will crash and we will be thrown into a lot of turmoil, that is a fate that the Western world cannot escape from.

  3. Yup, I agree totally, but think about it, our own consumption helps billions of eastern countries employ it’s population. We are really helping them THROUGH overconsumption. The thing is it’s our children who will pay when the house of cards come crashing down

  4. See, “probly”, that’s a common misconception. Our overconsumption doesn’t help the starving people in struggling eastern countries. The products we buy from abroad are from major commercial companies either owned by western countries or rich men from the upper crusts of these poor countries. The farms, factories, etc, may be located in third world countries, but what often happens is that local land is bought by these major companies for way less than it’s worth, forcing the locals into slums. If a local is fortunate enough to get a job with one of these companies, which doesn’t happen often, they get paid peanuts, keeping them in the slums without any hope of getting out. Consumerism does not help third world countries as much as we’d like to believe. In fact, it has actually sparked locals to stand up for their rights through movements such as the Zapatista movement. Charities and missions are the best way to help struggling nations, not consumerism.

  5. There is no way I could have put it better Katie, thanks!


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