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  1. 1. POVERTY IN AFRICA, ASIA, AND SOUTH AMERICA Copyright © 2009 by Shivaprasad Srikantia. All rights reserved. Contains extracts from the book titled AMERICAN CAPITALISM, AMERICANOMICS, & MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS - The concealed economic and political secrets of capitalism that made America a superpower in less than one century, by Shiv Srikantia. Paperback edition of book available at www.lulu.com/content/2353971 PLEASE CLICK ON BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER OF THIS TEXT WINDOW TO VIEW THIS ESSAY IN FULL SCREEN MODE In some ways, India is a poor country primarily because the government machinery and the political leadership lack the will and enthusiasm to alleviate poverty in the countryside. According to a report prepared by the United Nations, the poverty and economic inequality in Asia is due to mismanaged agriculture. While trying to industrialize quickly, many developing nations have been neglecting agriculture. However, agriculture is the only occupation illiterate citizens of the third world can pursue. When developing nations neglect agriculture through faulty policies, there is no safety mechanism to extricate illiterate citizens out of poverty. In many parts of Africa and Asia, people have carved out a lifestyle of living constantly on less than $2 two per day. They do not have serious aspirations, and are quite content remaining illiterate. More significantly, their aspirations have been tuned to earning one meal a day. Biologically, their physical constitution has become acclimatized to gain nourishment from just one meal a day. People who are content cannot be easily motivated. By choice, many tribal people in Africa, Asia, and South America have chosen a lifestyle where they and their progenies will remain illiterate for several future generations. Education and intellectual enlightenment does not figure on their living agenda. They and their progenies will remain locked in illiteracy and poverty for several generations. Until the tribal people sense a need for a better lifestyle, they cannot be forcefully uplifted. Until the aspirations of these aboriginals are raised through social enlightenment, grinding poverty cannot be eradicated from Asia and Africa. In India, traffic accidents and train accidents translate to erode nearly 2 percent of the GDP. Carelessness on the highway seems to be a part of indigenous culture. Interestingly, carelessness might be costing the Indian economy nearly $ 10 billion every year and strapping the nation to grinding poverty. Indian economists and sociologists do not have the creative instincts to be able to address this unusual problem. Even the government has made no serious efforts to tackle the problem of traffic accidents. Before the Industrial Revolution began in England, all regions of the world remained relatively poor at subsistence levels. The industrial revolution and colonization made some nations richer and some nations poorer. Some cultures, engrossed in religion, spirituality, occultism, and witchcraft remained materialistically poor because they abhorred industrialization. In fact, they perceived industrialization and mechanization as a threat to local customs and traditions. 1
  2. 2. To some extent, colonists wanted to uplift the tribal people through enlightenment. Even several decades after the dismantling of colonies, the nations which were once colonized failed to frame a new set of laws which could replace British colony laws. Before reluctantly departing from colonized regions, the British strategists were clever enough to make sure that the government officials in the colonized countries had no incentive to throw out the colonial laws and introduce a new set of laws to promote local industry. History reveals that their strategy worked quite well. The colonized regions that were stuck with old laws have never been able to extricate themselves from intellectual impoverishment, poverty, incompetent governance, and corruption. In many third world countries that were formerly colonies, the old bureaucratic regulations became obstacles to industrial development. In many instances, the problem of poverty was self created. Many countries in Africa and Asia have inherited laws the British colonists framed to covertly obstruct industrialization in the colonized regions. Though the British have left the colonies, the nations are still holding on to the laws that obstructed industrialization. According to a report released by the World Bank in 2007, India holds a rank of 120 among 178 countries with respect to ease of doing business. India has overly complex procedures for obtaining business licenses and tax registration papers. According to the World Bank report, it could take up to 16 months to overcome bureaucratic hurdles in India. Moreover, Indian labor laws do not allow business enterprises to close down businesses without authorization from the government. It seems as if many Indian states have voluntarily refused to become industrialized regions. From a practical perspective, India is still an agrarian society with socialistic ideologies. The laws installed by the British colonial administrators created opportunities for corruption in the Indian bureaucracy. According to snap estimates prepared by the World Bank and the United Nations, corrupt politicians in these third world nations manage to embezzle nearly $ 40 billion every year and deposit them in overseas banks. The World Bank and the UN estimate that nearly 1 trillion dollars of dirty money gets circulated in the world every year. Recent history points out that $ 600 million was embezzled from the Phillippines. About $ 500 million was embezzled from Nigeria. Though these represent tiny amounts of money in comparison with a nation’s GDP, they eventually add up to billions of dollars in the global corruption landscape. In third world democracies, illiterate and ignorant people elect corrupt leaders to power. Perhaps, when given a democratic choice between a brutal leader who is capable of orchestrating genocide and a corrupt leader, third world citizens who abhor violence prefer a corrupt leader. In fact, citizens of third world nations admire the treacherous craftiness of corrupt officials and look up to them as role models. This helps to keep the cycle of corruption going in third world societies. In many African countries, nearly one quarter of a nation’s GDP is lost in corruption. In 2006, China’s communist bureaucracy is reported to have either embezzled of wastefully squandered nearly $ 3 billion of state funds. British laws were primarily framed for societies where literacy was high, public awareness was high, and a certain level of honesty was expected of the citizens. British laws were not suitable for aboriginal civilizations in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. When British laws were installed in colonies with aboriginal cultures, they inspired bureaucratic dishonesty. Many of the former colonies continue following the framework of British laws that encouraged bribes and kick backs to government administrators. Today, starting a business in a nation that was formerly a British colony would require a string of authorizations, clearances, bribes, and kick backs. The British colonists had originally framed repressive laws with the primary intention of preventing local capitalists from starting new 2
  3. 3. businesses and competing directly with industries in Britain. This way, the raw materials in colonized regions could become more easily available for import into factories in Manchester and Sheffield. Furthermore, the British colonists had intentionally framed laws that would encourage bribes and kick backs to British government administrators. This was a system that would allow rampant corruption to stifle industrialization. In fact, the British colonists inspired bureaucratic corruption in colonies, as it would prevent rapid industrialization. In India, the British colonists had installed laws that would discourage the import of machinery. This was done by the colonist government to stifle local manufacturing industries in colonized territories. However, even after decolonization, the Indian bureaucracy continued to use the old colonial laws. They continued to prohibit the import of machinery. This prevented the Indian nation from igniting an industrial revolution. While antiquated import regulations were strangulating the Indian industry, the Chinese government began generously allowing the import of machinery for mass production. In fact, the Chinese were importing entire manufacturing plants from Europe and America. With import of machinery and manufacturing plants, the Chinese were able to set up gigantic manufacturing bases. While the visionary Chinese succeeded in building an excellent manufacturing hub, the Indians had been left behind due to the shortsightedness of their bureaucracy. While India was struggling with the after effects of colonization, social lethargy, political mistrust, and corruption, South Korea marched ahead with rapid industrialization. Lead by autocratic political leadership, the South Koreans marched away like a military regiment on a cold winter morning. By the early eighties, South Korea was exporting nearly $ 15 billion worth of goods. At one time in economic history, while the Indian democracy managed a per capita income of $ 250, South Korea had managed a per capita figure of about $ 6000. This is how the colonial heritage laws, and indiscipline swayed India away from systematic industrialization. India, with a large number of illiterates and poor peasants, needed time to build a disciplined democracy. She also needed to build a disciplined economy. After independence from British colonists, national indiscipline was impeding India’s democratic social structure and economic progress. Fundamentally, high levels of illiteracy seem to indicate that India is still a nation with a strong tribal heritage. It is still a nation where education is not valued. In fact, no serious attempts are being made to give most citizens a reasonable degree of primary education. Perhaps, money set aside for primary education is embezzled by corrupt bureaucrats and politicians. Incidentally, urban Indian society is trying to maintain a pool of impoverished illiterates in the ghettos. These illiterates are used as cheap labor. In fact, the Indian economy seems to run on the clever exploitation of poverty. This explains why politicians and bureaucrats are not making any serious attempts to uplift the poor. Sometimes, urban Indian society exploits the poverty and even tries to justify the employment child labor. In many African and Asian nations, humiliation through colonization has trickled down to individual citizens and gradually eroded their self esteem. In fact, bureaucratic dishonesty and political dishonesty in many of these societies is actually the sign of eroded self respect. Colonization had a deep psychological impact on the colonized populations. The colonized people began to believe that they were the pariahs of the world. After colonies were dismantled, political and bureaucratic dishonesty kept the economies impoverished. In many African and Eastern cultures, bureaucratic corruption was so routinely practiced as a new tradition, that the social genes were passed on from one generation to the next. Nations with political and bureaucratic corruption ingrained in their social fabric will remain less prosperous and far less industrialized from generation to generation. Eventually, as the rich nations begin outsourcing their manufacturing activities, the 3
  4. 4. third world nations are destined to become the industrial ghettos of the twenty first century. Capitalism without an economic system supporting credit would be a sure recipe for failure. This important aspect was never conveyed to the people of Asia. Many nations in Asia qualify for membership into the third world primarily because the economic advisers to the government failed to emphasize the role of credit in building a capitalistic economy. Banks and financial institutions must be empowered by the government to make venture funds available to entrepreneurs. In developing economies, the government must be willing to share risks with the entrepreneurs. Many nations in Africa and Asia remain poor because their governments and their banks have neither devised adequate systems of credit and venture capital nor shown a willingness to take financial risks in a dynamic society. In contrast, the wealthy class in Western societies are willing to take financial risks provided there is a fair chance of success. Citizens in Switzerland were able to achieve a high standard of living because the nation did not have an aristocratic class to exploit the less fortunate aboriginals. They became mavericks at precision engineering and watch making. While 20 percent of the world’s population live in industrial countries, roughly 50 percent live in low income nations. Once the citizens of a nation are given a good education, their expectations will rise. Educated people will demand better paying jobs. Therefore, in many third world countries, primary education receives low priority. Education cannot receive a high priority until the public administers have the national resources to meet the higher expectations of a newly created educated class. Immanuel Wallerstein explains that prosperity or poverty is caused fundamentally by the global economic constitution. Many poor countries are driven to supporting richer nations by offering cheap labor. Later, they are also forced to consume industrial products produced by rich nations. Immanuel Wallerstein further explains that the world economy framework locks poor nations permanently in a state of poverty. For instance, small nations that produce cocoa beans are not allowed to manufacture chocolates for export. Instead, the poor nations are coerced to sell the beans to rich nations engaged in producing chocolates for the international market. As profit margins are low on beans, the poor nations are locked permanently in poverty. While colonization and corruption had stalled many economies by placing obstacles to industrialization, consumerism has stimulated. Western economies. In many third world cultures, educational systems have failed to ignite sufficient passion for science, technology, literature, or art. In some Asian cultures, work is for survival. In some other Asian cultures, work is for self-fulfilment. Historically, cultures in Africa, South East Asia, and Middle East were more passionately involved in spirituality, religion, and native traditions. As these economies operate within an agricultural backdrop, they are yet to develop an appetite for mechanization and mechanical invention. In countries like India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan, most urban citizens show no interest in politics. Many of the senior policy makers and politicians hail from the rustic countryside. In many third world countries in Asia and Africa, it is the economy of the countryside that needs to be vitalized. Therefore, in an Asian democracy, it would be appropriate to have rustic political leaders who can forthrightly represent the people from the countryside. Some rustic politicians with a countryside upbringing strongly oppose industrialization that does not bring significant benefits the Asian countryside economy. Therefore, industrialization in some Asian cultures could be very slow. It is necessary for a national economy to be industrialized uniformly. Urban and rustic Asians, as a collective whole, need to decide whether they should adhere to agrarian ethos or boldly tackle issues relating to 4
  5. 5. industrialization. Otherwise, some parts of the state become prosperous with rapid industrialization, while other parts that wish to obstruct industrialization remain locked in spiritualism and poverty. A greater economic divide between the people will be created. When this happens, Marxist or Maoist groups come into existence. In fact, Maoist communist groups have come into formation in many Asian nations. From a poor agricultural economy, India is trying to leapfrog into a high technology computer software economy. She is trying to avoid going through the intermediary phase of conventional low technology industrialization. This is one of the biggest blunders in nation building. High technology industries in India generally employ college graduates with an academic background in science and engineering. The software companies cannot provide employment to less literate citizens who form the bulk of India’s impoverished population. On the other hand, low technology and light engineering industries can employ a less qualified workforce on assembly lines. The policy makers and bureaucrats do not seem to have the right balance of imagination and drive to evolve a feasible plan for India. Countries such as India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka failed to industrialize uniformly because the bureaucracy did not evolve a feasible blue print for industrialization. Moreover, the Indian and Pakistani bureaucracy enforced the legal system and regulations once conceived by colonists to obstruct local industry. All over the world, factory workers from colonized nations have failed to take pride in their work. Also, bureaucracies in nations that were former colonies have no pride in the work they do. The government machinery is too lethargic to change the archaic laws. Perhaps, some Asian countries have made a judicious choice in accepting authoritarian governments. In these nations, the citizens have realized that for the sake of the nation's economic development and eradication of poverty, some amount of freedom has to be sacrificed. In nations such as China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, authoritarian governments have done quite well. Nations like South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore have been able to take lessons from the Japanese. They have been able to energize their bureaucracies and create hope for the citizens. They have been able to produce goods that meet international quality standards. With high levels of illiteracy, India has been unable to develop a scheme tailor made for an agrarian economy and rustic culture. The urban citizenry in India seem to ignore the hard fact that almost 75 percent of India’s population is dependent on 25 percent of the GDP derived from disorganized agricultural activities. Furthermore, with a great deal of naivety, urban India seems to believe that the Indian nation is poised to become a major world power in the near future. The assessment is narrowly based on the perceptions of economic progress made in Indian cities. Unless urban India recognizes the economic problems of rustic India, the Indian economy cannot be democratically steered in the right direction. In a dictatorship environment, most citizens are willing to keep quiet and enjoy the orderliness a dictator can provide. In fact, ordinary citizens with no political grievances do quite well for themselves under a powerful dictator. In these countries, a tiny minuscule of rebelling population who shout from rooftops for democracy end up in prison. When this happens, the Western print and electronic media use the opportunity to highlight the issue of denial of freedom of speech. When India was a British colony, it had a fairly authoritarian government. After India became independent in 1947, it chose not to have authoritarian governments. During the fifty years following the Indian independence, when democratic freedom was given to the people of India, meddlesome political institutions began to evolve. These factions would try to obstruct economic reform. 5
  6. 6. Political leaders in third world nations seem to engage in disruptive politics. Sometimes, political leaders in Asia, Africa, and South America even instigate riots and encourage the destruction of national property and assets. They bring indiscipline into the democracy. Many political parties in India frequently organize strikes and protest marches to disrupt civilian life. Political parties and political leaders in Africa and Asia engage in meddling that interferes with the building of a nation. These meddlers actually misuse the freedom of a modern democracy. The local political entities attempt to constantly fight with elected officials and engage in tactics to topple elected governments. They also create an atmosphere of mistrust, commotion, and chaos. The Chinese retained authoritarian systems because they intuitively knew that disruptive politics was a major trend in third world democracies. Quite often, political meddlers do not allow elected governments to function to their full potential. Perhaps, countries with large masses of impoverished and illiterate people need strict policing by authoritarian governments. During the early stages of economic development, they would be better off with authoritarian governments. Otherwise, the nation may become a breeding ground for meddlers whose primary objective is to disrupt the economic development agendas of the elected government. In African nations, political leaders block essential food supplies to starve to death the opposing factions. The British colonists had cleverly installed a corrupt system of governance, where the British politicians could control the police force of the colonized nations. We notice that even after half a century of independence from the British Empire, the scheme of governing has not changed in the colonized territories. For instance, the police force in many Asian nations continue to be controlled by powerful political forces. Politicians, bureaucrats, and law enforcement officials form corrupt alliances and make a mockery of democratic principles. This clearly suggests that a major flaw exists in the structure of management of law and order. A nation might have an excellent legal system in terms of her judiciary, but a policing force controlled by politicians or wealthy capitalists could weaken law enforcement. It is very difficult for a culture to simultaneously have passions for spirituality, science, religion, and industrial mechanics. In the twentieth century, countries like China were at crossroads with this type of divergence. In Europe, the purpose of religion was to persuade people to accept their fate as the will of God. This way, the governments and the ruling capitalists could not be held responsible for their suffering, poverty, adversity, and social insecurity. When communism began to take shape in China, the cultural passions for spirituality, ancient traditions, and religious sentiments began to be subdued with an iron hand. Then, the passions were channeled into mechanization and industrial science. This began paving the way for rapid industrialization in the Chinese provinces. The Chinese military came into Tibet to suppress the Buddhist spirituality movement and move the nation towards money making industrialization. In countries such as South Korea and Singapore, authoritarian governments came into power and began containing spirituality, religion, and individual freedom. In Singapore, citizens found chewing gum were fined. Those who forgot to flush toilets in Singapore were given harsher punishment. In third world nations, when land is required for urban expansion, the poor peasants living on farmland close to the cities are evicted and displaced. When the peasants protest peacefully, the political leaders ignore the protest. Then, when the peasants decide to organize an uprising and engage in rioting, the police use excessive force to quell the situation. Police brutality infuriates the rioters further, and entire towns are vandalized. Incidentally, in many Asian nations, political masterminds organize rioting. It is also believed that India’s economic growth is being hampered due to land disputes. It is estimated that about 90 percent of land area in India is entangled in ownership disputes. People do not have clear titles to 6
  7. 7. the land they claim to own. Many government projects are held up as land without clear titles is not easily transferable. Many infrastructure projects in India do not get completed because of lack of coordination among the government agencies. When an attempt is made to industrialize gradually, small islands of urban prosperity are created on oceans of poverty. A dangerous economic divide begins to take shape. In fact, large disparities between the rich and poor are created. In India, funds allotted by the Federal government are not being used effectively for development in the countryside. Bureaucratic lethargy in India has slowed down development in the countryside. This could unleash Marxist and Maoist forces. In many Asian countries, small groups of communists have attacked urban prosperity. History shows that this has happened in Peru, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, and India. It is estimated that 30 percent of the Indian nation is under the social control of communists. Communism is Peru was lead by Professor Guzman. Communism in Cambodia was lead by Saloth Sar, a revered teacher, who came to be known as Pol Pot. In Cambodia, the charismatic school teacher managed to ignite an underground political movement. It was only in 1977 that the school teacher identified himself as a communist leader. Until then, he appeared to be a supernatural being. To his close aides and acquaintances, he came to be known as Pol Pot. As he desired to turn Cambodia into an agricultural nation, he began attacking urban development. Factories were burnt down. In 1975, his Khmer Rouge militia drove away citizens from the city of Pnom Penh into the countryside. Intellectuals and monks were hunted down, killed, and buried in mass graves. Citizens were made to flee to the countryside and work in labor camps. Urban centers in many third world nations are endangered by communist uprisings. The poor peasant classes rightly feel that urban citizens and corrupt bureaucracy demonstrate insufficient compassion for the economically deprived sections of society. Moreover, in many nations that were European colonies, urban citizens, politicians, and bureaucrats have set lower ethical standards for themselves. Many citizens holding public office have set low ethical standards in an attempt to cope with poverty in their immediate life. When third world nations become prosperous, and most citizens holding public office are able to attain a comfortable level of economic security, corruption and dishonesty will dramatically decline. Incidentally, we can evolve a hypothesis that the extent of corruption in third world nations gives a fairly accurate estimate of the economic health of the nation. In some ways, there is less corruption in Western nations primarily because they are more prosperous. An extremely interesting observation is that many Asian civilization claim to be in a position to teach better moral values to Western civilizations. Many Asian civilizations repeatedly declare that the Western world has low moral values. For instance, Asian civilizations perceive consumption of alcoholic beverages as seriously immoral, but fail to see elements of serious immorality in political dishonesty or bureaucratic corruption. Strangely, in some Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, drinking beer or wearing tight fitting denim jeans would be considered a greater sin than political dishonesty or embezzlement. The well educated urban class in third world nations seem to be indifferent to the problems of poverty, malnutrition, sanitation, poor literacy, corruption, and health care facing the poorer classes in the countryside. The better educated urban citizens are leading insular lives while trying to build lucrative businesses for themselves, and raising their families in an environment of affluence. Citizens living within islands of urban prosperity seem to be completely oblivious to the fact that they are unable to help their governments extricate the masses from life threatening poverty. Therefore, third world regions have all the social ingredients for communist uprisings. 7
  8. 8. Many poor nations have the ingredients for breeding subversive groups. Subversives, communists and terrorists have similar functional ideologies, just as dogs and wolves have similar territorial ideologies. One seems to be a distant cousin of the other. Both groups have a dislike for Western capitalism where money power and political clout control crucial policies that govern poor citizens kept out of the prosperity loop. Incidentally, we observe that terrorism became more extreme and more flagrant when Soviet communism died down. In recent years, violent rioting has taken place in many cities in Asia and Africa. The primary cause for rioting is actually the economic and literary disparity between the rich and poor. At the slightest pretext, mobs of under-employed youth, backed by meddlesome political factions, try to embarrass the government in power. The under-employed youth take part in violent rioting and vandalism. Many illiterate people in South East Asia do not have a means of livelihood other than scant farming. The poverty line fixed by the government machinery does not provide for the basics of healthy living or primary education. In the larger Asian and African cities, the local slum inhabitants make up the labor force required by businesses and factories. In third world nations, automation in the garment industry and the food industry has been responsible for job losses in epic proportions. This is why Mohandas Gandhi disapproved of industrial automation in India. Clothing is a fundamental requirement for survival. The clothing industry had the potential to employ a vast army of people as tailors or garment workers. However, automation through machinery owned by affluent capitalists robbed the jobs from the common people. Similarly, automation in agriculture and food production has robbed jobs from people in industrialized countries. The European and American supermarkets are stocked with packaged food products produced through automation in the food industry. In the Asian region, Japan is an economic superpower. Japan could have made attempts to foster deeper alliances with the neighboring countries and assist in establishing fair trade practices. Instead, Japanese businesses aligned with American capitalists. After assimilating American capitalistic values driving ruthless competition, Japanese businessmen began slowly destroying their own society. Japanese employers may take pride in the hard work of the Japanese employees. But, they cannot possibly take pride in having created a new society where suicide rates are high, and social alcoholism is rampant. In Japan, addiction to work and dependence on alcohol trouble every part of adult society. Many Japanese companies have recognized the problem of alcoholism. These companies are now trying to persuade their employees to stop work and take long liquor-free vacations. Having observed Japan’s problem, the other South East Asian nations are now trying to find a good balance between economic health and public health. What the Japanese need now is a good education in the liberal arts. They must be taught world history, political science, philosophy, art, music, and literature. They must be persuaded to carve out a life away from electronics and automotive engineering. Many nations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East have education systems that are not suitable for building prosperous industrial economies. They are more suited for building prosperous agrarian economies. For instance, schools and colleges produce graduates with an overwhelming theoretical slant, and very little business acumen. Young citizens with such an education are incapable of creative practical insight that could result in new inventions, industrial products, or businesses. Political regimes in Asia want money invested in new ventures that can generate employment opportunities for the underprivileged. Therefore, profit is not the only issue for a CEO in the Asian culture. However, many business schools in third world nations in Asia have adapted the American education system. Using American textbooks, they have molded business school 8
  9. 9. graduates with American business ideologies and corporate values of imperialistic conduct. As India is a poor country, the Indian government does have the financial resources for effectively preserving wild life. The forest rangers are unable to protect wild animals from poachers. In India, the tigers and lions have become endangered species. These species are probably nearing extinction. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to the problem. To preserve the Indian species, the endangered animals can be moved to other tropical countries where effective wild life protection is available. This is a fairly simple way of preserving Indian wild life on this planet. However, relocation of the endangered species is an option that has not been explored enthusiastically by the government machinery. When animals in the African plains are unable to find adequate supplies of food, they decide to stop producing offspring. However, modern human species in African, Asian, and South American regions have gradually lost this element of animal intuition. This clearly shows that social customs in many nations in Asia and Africa are interfering with animal intuition. The citizens are made to over-ride their basic animal instincts or intuitive sense and procreate, though there is not enough food and water to adequately nourish the progeny. When visionary political leaders in third world nations express fears of rising populations, and suggest stringent birth-control programs, they are quickly voted out of power by the illiterate masses. For instance, peasants in the Shabei region in southwest China protested violently when state authorities tried to introduce stringent family planning policies in the villages. Under the Chinese policy, couples with more than one child were to be fined. Infertile regions in Africa cannot support adequate food cultivation for the local populations. Often, it is expected of the Western nations to come to the rescue of malnourished villagers. Western nations are expected to donate aid packages and food to feed starving children. However, as politicians and bureaucrats in Western nations are canny enough to know that the current problems of malnourishment in third world regions are often self created due to high populations, aid packages are not easily forthcoming. Even the spread of AIDS in many third world countries is self created. But it would be considered politically incorrect, and in bad taste, for UN officials to confront the truth. Moreover, American and European politicians do not have much respect for the United Nations. They see the United Nations as club of developing nations. Nearly 80 percent of the UN member nations are countries with malnourished people, unstable economies, dissolute political leadership, and corrupt bureaucrats who walk around with begging bowls. Therefore, food and aid is generally delivered to enlisted nations after a long waiting period. By the time food packages are loaded off the planes, thousands of starving children would have perished. Meanwhile, rock stars and musicians are busy organizing Live Aid concerts to draw the attention of the world public to the situation. Besides, many countries of the G-7 club of nations had at one time in history colonized large parts of Africa and plundered the local economies. Therefore, it may not be entirely right for the G-7 politicians to stay away from the catastrophic economic problem. Thomas Robert Malthus, an English economist, believed that the production of food could never increase as rapidly as the population. Applying this English theory in practice meant that unless the population was kept under check, or food was imported from Western nations, famine and disease would kill the people living in the African and Asian regions. However, Robert Malthus had not foreseen the potentiality of genetic science to evolve high yield varieties of agricultural products. Incidentally, conflicts for scare resources due to import restrictions would result in tribal warfare and loss of lives. Colonialism left vast regions of Africa and Asia without a critical mass of population that was adequately educated to be able to install modern systems of democracy, economy, and health care. Historically, colonialism denied education to the poorer 9
  10. 10. citizens of Africa and Asia. All over Africa, tribal populations have been clobbering each other to death while fighting for scarce resources. Though India produces food grains in sufficient quantity to feed the entire nation, the unemployed citizens and village peasants do not have the financial means to purchase food. While poor people in India continue to remain malnourished, excess food grains and vegetables stored in warehouses are allowed to decompose. Indian experts in economics, administration, governance, and agricultural management have been unable to come up with a solution to this problem. In India, about $ 2.5 million worth of food grains consigned for the poor peasants are stolen from the distribution system every year. In third world countries politicians, bureaucrats and gangsters carry out organized looting. Because of the involvement of politicians and senior bureaucrats, these crimes go unpunished. Indian administrators could have evolved a Food Coupon scheme for unemployed citizens. This could have been similar to the food stamps given out in America. In some traditional cultures of Asia and Africa, a child is perceived as a financial asset that will be a money earner and bread winner in the future. A child is like an insurance policy. Apart from this, the indigenous Asian and African cultures also emphasize the importance of leaving genealogical footprints. This explains why many of the indigenous cultures of Asia have stimulated absurdly high population growth levels. Due to cultural factors, the people of Asia and Africa are possessed by the idea of raising large families. Incidentally, during the early half of the twentieth century, even Americans were obsessed with the idea of having large families. Soon, the Detroit automakers figured out that large American families would need large cars. This is the reason the automobile industry in Detroit began producing large cars. Fortunately, the American nation had been blessed with the economic resources to be able to support large families. After capturing land from the Mexicans, southern America came in possession of large tracts of land with extremely fertile soil. As the starving Mexicans across the border looked on, American farmers could grow an enormous amount food grains and fruit. In many Asian and African cultures, raising a family is more important than establishing an economic security for oneself. Incidentally, in many tribal cultures, children under the age of 18 years are forced into marriage by society. Decisions about raising a large family are made without any reference to economic predicaments. Fortunately, the new governments have declared child marriage as illegal. The social honor attached to procreation has lead to the creation of over populous societies. Malnutrition, poverty, and high unemployment levels also plague such societies. People in many poverty ridden nations continue to produce offspring who are then destined to starve, stay malnourished, and remain illiterate. In many Asian countries, a modern form of exploitation and slavery exists These societies have created a low paid class of workers best described as Servants, Houseworkers, or Maids. Essentially, the middle classes and upper classes in these nations try to keep the servant class locked in grinding poverty. This is very similar to slavery that existed in the Western hemisphere, and is a practice that ensures the availability of cheap labor. Therefore, a significant part of the poverty is due to social attitudes in the cultural fabric. While the Asian governments are trying hard to extricate humanity from poverty, the upper classes are trying to inflict poverty and make it more widespread. What is even more troubling is that even eminent economists have been repeatedly missing this point. Economists are unable to correctly explain Asian poverty. Perhaps, in addition to an economist, you need a sociologist to correctly explain Asian poverty. Economists must take notice of the fact that unless slavery, child labor, and servantism are abolished from the face of the earth, grinding poverty cannot be eradicated 10