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First world/third world



I was recently shown an article by Mr Ian McDonald in the Gleaner of June 20 1996 entitled “an age of Extortion”. In it is a very convincing and very cynical view of the relationship between first and third world countries. He pictures the first world as aggressive in its extortion of third world resources and capitalism as an aggressive conqueror that reduced Eastern European Countries to corruption etc.

On the one hand I feel sort of sympathetic with his frustration, on the other very impatient. It is the rhetoric of the victim. It reduces everyone who is unfortunate to a victim of a conspiracy. His reasons are slick and sickening. They have me throwing up. The first world is not a conspiring league. It is a loose affiliation of people who have one advantage over others and that is that they were born in a place which was wealthy and where people have managed to perpetuate and increase that wealth by both fair means and foul. By far the greater majority of people sustain themselves by fair means. It is too easy to see the first world as a conspiracy. People are their own greatest enemies. Allow them to believe what they want to believe and they are “like putty” in your hands. It is just such stupidity that informs the Mr. McDonalds of this world and there are many. Such people merely shout at the top of their voices what everybody wants to hear and are glorified like saints when they in fact hold people back from self-fulfilment by making them behave like victims. He himself is a hypocrite.
If the poor countries do not want what the rich countries have, they have an easy decision to make. The materialism which has the first world countries in its grip, is not something which the first world countries do much to promote, it sells itself all too easily. All the companies of the first world do is show pretty pictures, those pretty pictures of desire are hailed by people all around the globe.

The fact is that the only way to beat the first world is to become better at their game: enforce laws, build up the well-being of your poor so that they start becoming a viable market for you. Subsidise them properly with education, health and housing which allows them to find a proper place for themselves. Let private interest not contradict public interest, let the two marry and serve each other. They are not necessarily contradictory. The first world countries are not conspiratorial; they have bungled to their position. The third world countries admittedly suffer from the consequences. But no one should humiliate themselves by becoming their victims.



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