Maybe I'm a depressing sort of guy, and I see the world different from lots of others, but I can't help looking at the world we have created, and getting a sickening feeling in my stomach. We have taken a planet that had the potential for a paradise for all, and turned it into a savage nightmare of grotesque brutality.
No matter how convenient your mobile phone, no matter the amount of movies you can stream, no matter how comfortable your home, we are living an illusion. That real world, that place where the vast majority live, is a cruel vicious and very often deadly place.
I wrote the following article about nine years ago and have posted it once since then, and I post it again, for the simple reason that I think it is still a picture of the unjust savage reality in which billions of people have to survive. If anything, in the passing nine years or so since first posting this, I believe things have got worse. How and when do we change things?
It is difficult to grasp the state of the world that we have created. A world where there is an abundance of almost everything conceivable and yet to the vast majority of the world’s population it is all out of reach. A world where a small elite live a life of obscene and wasteful wealth while millions die of starvation and millions of children die from the lack of clean drinking water. In this capitalist made world there are small enclaves where the rich, in safety, play games with their expensive toys, private jets, luxury cars, yachts and several holiday homes in “exotic” locations. While just over that financial apartheid wall there is the stench of squalor and death for countless millions living in total deprivation and endless wars,
In this capitalist created world, 8 million people die every year from poverty, One billion children live in abject poverty, 640 million do not have access to appropriate shelter, 140 million have never attended school, 400 million do not have access to clean uncontaminated water, 500 million do not have basic sanitation, 270 million have no access to health care, and 90 million are severely food deprived. Approximately 12.3 million people worldwide live in conditions of “modern slavery,” while over one billion people live on less than one dollar of income per day and over three billion live on less than two dollars per day. Then there is the strata in between, that manage to scrape a reasonable existence that seems to keep them from revolt.
All this misery in spite of the fact that the world economy actually produces one and a half times the amount of food necessary to provide the entire human population with adequate and nutritious meals. The fact that the capitalist system will not allow this to be shared out to those in need tells us that it is not a natural problem but a political problem. Perhaps the words of Derrick Jensen come close to capturing something of that world.
“We are members of the most destructive culture ever to exist. Our assault on the natural world, on indigenous and other cultures, on women, on children, on all of us through the possibility of nuclear suicide and other means—all these are unprecedented in their magnitude and ferocity ... What this means is that corporations and those who run them cannot stop exploiting resources and amassing wealth until they have...I cannot finish this sentence, because the truth is that they can never stop; like cancer, they can only continue to expand until they kill the host ... For us to maintain our way of living, we must tell lies to each other and especially to ourselves. The lies are necessary because, without them, many deplorable acts would become impossibilities.”Eighteen Hungry ChildrenEighteen hungry children dieevery minute of every dayeighteen of tomorrow’s peoplecruelly thrown away.When pandering to a fashiongratifying our greed,think, theirs is no desirebut a basic need.Envisage a familiar facea child that calls your name,try to be the parenttry to place the blame.Eighteen hungry children dieevery minute of every day,eighteen little facesthat never learnt to play.Walk past your local schoollisten to the shrill,stand and count to sixtyimagine hunger start to kill.Fingers must be pointedat decisions made on high,questions must be askedloudly asked by you and I.Eighteen hungry children dieevery minute of every day,eighteen precious livesthe claws of hunger slay.WHY?