Friday, February 10, 2006

The real relationship: The West & poor nations

Image from the independent newspaper
Today, an article by the Independent newspaper on conflict diamonds stated:

"The global diamond trade is continuing to fund vicious civil wars in countries such as Ivory Coast and Liberia, despite international efforts to blacklist stones from regions at war."

I think that today's publication brings us to the point where we can frankly discuss some blatant truisms and the obvious conflicts of interests in the lack-luster relationship between the West and poor nations. These are as follows:
Fact 1. Developed countries (DCs) have repeatedly stated that as a matter of principle, they will not deal with/do not want to be seen dealing with less developed countries (LDCs) that are either corrupt or violate human rights. This stance has been a major reason for withholding aid to LDCs and a major factor in the implementation of sanctions against "offending" countries. HOW NOBLE.
However, opposite,
Fact 2. DCs are more than happy to ignore the corruption and violation of human rights where multimillion ventures in poor nations are concerned. Ironically, the worst forms of human rights violations and the most blatant forms of corruption in LDCs exist on the funding of these multimillion ventures. Examples can be found in LDCs that have rare/valuable commodities such as diamonds, oil, etc.
1. DCs are not the saviours of LDCs, they are just as corrupt.
2. The moral high ground we very often take in DCs is extremely disingenuous and quite often costs many lives. The only difference between the actual rebel gunman and the developed country multinational is that the latter is a proxy doer, not the trigger man, but both are two sides of the same coin.
3. The truth of the relationship(s) between DCs and LDCs is that DC money is more important than LDC lives. WHY? Because we will not tolerate child labour and human rights violations in the west by anyone or any corporation. In fact, we would rather protest in our millions than see it happen in our own backyards to our children or our neighbour's children. Meanwhile, the big multinationals that employ hundreds of thousands of western employees (you and me) on the back of blood money from LDCs are more than happy to overlook child labour and human rights violations. Whether it be a child in the mines, it is the end product [money] that matters to DC corporations, not the means by which the end is achieved.
4. Finally, DC corporations do not run under the radar of the respective DC governments because they are typically very large and make obscene profits. The respective DC governments enjoy the hefty/windfall tax revenues that they collect from these blood money corporations. It follows that in so doing, the respective DC governments are seen to condone the violation of human rights and corruption that they so openly protest against in "campaigns to limit aid for the greater good". This is the reason why forums like trade talks, aid talks, etc, held in prestigious locations and on big budgets are extremely farcical.
All it takes to eliminate corruption, poverty, human rights violations, etc, is the human will by the perpetrators and the funders (perpetrators by proxy). WHY? Because if there is nothing to be gained from a certain type of activity, we as humans will abandon the idea and search for something gainful. For instance, if slave trade was found to be unprofitable at the time of its wake, it would never have happened. Pure common sense.
But what is really sad is that many of us will read this and just shrug it off because we feel powerless to act or because we [really] couldn't care about a stranger and his/her children dying in a foreign land. This is another truism.


Blogger sokari said...

I can understand your cynicism but you dont have to go far to know that there are also a lot of people out there who speak and more importantly act and make it their daily life's work to bring about change - we should acknowledge those people wherever they are because that also is a truism.

Friday, February 10, 2006 4:45:00 pm  

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