Global poverty?amidst G-8 splurge
By Daya Krishna
THE Human Development Report 2005 is the 16th report published by UNDP in a series started in 1990. The theme of this report is global poverty and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for reduction of poverty which was decided upon at a meeting of the United Nations held in 2000.
The MDGs include reducing poverty by half, cutting the number of child deaths, providing education to all children, rolling back infectious diseases and forging a new global partnership to achieve these goals during the 10-year period between 2005 and 2015.
The HDR 2005 says that 15 years ago HDR 1990 looked forward to a decade of rapid progress. But there was no progress and there are ominous signs for the decade ahead.
For example, in 2003, 18 countries with a combined population of 460 million people registered lower scores on the Human Development Index (HDI) than in 1990?an unprecedented reversal. In the midst of an increasingly prosperous global economy, 10.7 million children every year do not live to see their fifth birthday. More than one billion people live in abject poverty on less than dollar one a day. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has inflicted the single greatest reversal in human development. In 2003, the pandemic claimed three million lives and left another five million people infected. Millions of children have been orphaned.
Global integration is forging deeper interactions between countries through trade, technology and investment. But, in human development terms, the space between people and countries is marked by deep and widening inequalities in income and life chances.
The real cause of world poverty lies in colonisation which was the result of the growth of capitalism. Marx had predicted collapse of capitalism. This did not happen in the 50 years after Marx, during which period capitalism in fact grew stronger.
World'srichest 500 individuals have a combined income greater than that of the poorest 416 million. The poorest 40 per cent of world'spopulation account for only five per cent of global income, while the richest 10 per cent account for 54 per cent.
Life expectancy gaps are among the most fundamental of all inequalities.
No indicator captures the divergences in human development opportunity more powerfully than child mortality.
The HRD report 2005 says: ?The human development gaps are due to unequal opportunities?people held back because of their gender, group identity, location, etc., and overcoming these structural forces is the most efficient way of overcoming poverty.? This explanation of world poverty is basically flawed, and it is a laboured presentation of the World Bank line of thinking that the poor countries are themselves responsible for their poverty! The real cause of world poverty lies in colonisation which was the result of the growth of capitalism. Marx had predicted collapse of capitalism. This did not happen in the 50 years after Marx, during which period capitalism in fact grew stronger. This, Lenin explained, was due to colonialism which meant huge additional market for trade and investment. China and India are examples of how prosperity was turned into poverty through excessive exploitation by the colonising power England. Almost all the 41 least developed countries (LDCs) are also former colonies of industrialised countries.
Russia'scolonisation of East Europe
After World War II, Russia also imposed colonial control over the countries of eastern Europe. Denial of freedom to the people there prevented development of their innate faculties and retarded the development of new technologies for industries. The joining of 10 lesser developed and low wage countries of Eastern Europe with the 15 highly developed and high wage countries of western Europe in 2004 created hosts of problems for the European Union. Germany'stop selling newspaper Bild welcomed the 10 new members with a front page picture of 10 scantily clad young women from the 10 countries of eastern Europe.
The less developed state of the economics of eastern Europe, however, turned out to be a boon for the world'srenowned ?Steel Man?, Laxmi Narain Mittal and helped him become the largest producer of steel in the world. This was largely due to the purchase of steel factories in the ex-communist countries of eastern Europe and up-dating their technologies with a view to optimising their productivity, production and profits. Engineers from India helped him in this endeavour.
India, China, the 41 LDCs and the East European countries today account for most of the world'spoor. And the basic reason for their poverty is colonialism of different hues. And, surprisingly enough, the WDR 2005 has avoided mentioning this monstrous truth of world history as the basic cause of world poverty. And, thus, the HDR 2005 has only tried to misguide the people about the basic cause of world poverty.
Misguiding the world has been the main job of the World Bank so far, but UNDP has been trying to stick to the path of truth. Now UNDP also seems to have joined the World Bank and IMF in their endeavours of manipulating facts and misguiding the people of the world. The reason is obvious. Accepting colonialism as the basic cause of world poverty means accusing the G-8 countries of being the colonisers. This can create serious problems for the persons or the organisations that do it. The G-8 countries are the real rulers of the world today.