Under the Green Desk Lamp…
This world of ours is globalized (Link) to an incredible degree. With every increase in technology, we have observed exponential growth in the level of interconnection and access afforded to nearly all of the world’s inhabitants. The internet alone serves an unbelievable role in making the world a truly global society—allowing the instantaneous sharing of information which would previously have taken weeks, or even months.
Planes, trains, and automobiles have provided the means to efficiently move physical resources around the globe—meaning that formerly exotic commodities can now be found as easily as a trip to your local grocery store. Science as well has played a pivotal role here—advances in refrigeration, preservation, genetic modifications, and more have helped us share the bounty of this world far and wide…for those capable of paying for it.
As a result of this process, leading nations draw labour, resources, and wealth from the poorest nations in the world, always at offset values. By outsourcing easy labour jobs to nations with lower (Read: dismal) minimum wages and few to no laws protecting workers, Corporations have managed to increase their output, up their profit margins, and generally thrive in a relationship which can scarcely be described as anything short of parasitic.
Yes, for every gain there is a cost, and despite the progress made, it would seem that the one big concept which nations have refused to show any global regard for is that of human rights and minimal standards of living.
In a world with sufficient resources and scientific knowledge to keep everyone fed and healthy, the fact that one woman may drive a million dollar car while a child elsewhere does without a 5 cent pill is entirely unacceptable. In fact, it’s downright despicable.
The exchange is rather one-sided to say the least—and year after year we may observe new wars started, new sanctions imposed, new government-facilitated coups to install more ‘cooperative’ leaders, and other such heinous acts all in the name of increasing the profit margins of large-scale Corporations. Human rights violations in much of the world are ubiquitous; from the factories which provide us our clothing, to the plantations which grow our food.
Of all the resources and technologies we have managed to import and export on a global scale—it would seem the most obvious and easily renewed is yet to meet that lauded status; specifically, I’m referring to empathy.
The atrocities which are committed in the name of profit are the inevitable result of a system which treats empathy with the same cavalier and disposable attitude we reserve for so many other resources. But this view of empathy as a resource is rather telling—for if it is to be viewed as a resource, then it is essential that we recognize it as a wholly renewable resource. As such, caring for others and striving for a new global best is not a zero-sum game in which everyone is competing for limited supplies and the gains of one must be the losses of another. No, the truth is that the gains of one may be shared unilaterally, and if one society flourishes, this should—and must—benefit everyone involved.
But this is rarely the case. We import resources from around the world and utilize the cheap labour available, but what are we offering in return? The most common answer is that we act as a force of freedom, democracy, or protection for the rest of the world—but this claim is entirely indefensible for even the simplest mind with the vaguest understanding of global politics (Link). To glean all the potentially beneficial resources from a nation yet contribute nothing to it in return is not a globally beneficial system, but rather something more akin to an exploitative, imperial domination.
As it stands, misery and despair are the most evident exports of the so-called first world.
When we deal in such unjust ways, we may be importing more than we bargain for. We’ve defined ourselves with callous disinterest and self-serving malice abroad, and now the chickens come home to roost. International resentment is growing at all times, and even the local populace is losing faith in its leadership and stirring under an ever increasing sense of anxiety and civil unrest.
So perhaps this whole arrangement needs to be revisited. Trade and grow we must, but if we continue to do so with such a total lack of regard for human decency, we will come to find that our imports tend to reflect our exports in a far more sinister manner than we anticipated.
No other outcome is possible—that’s just the nature of the deal. When we short change our trade partners on a regular basis, we soon find ourselves cut out of the loop entirely. Fair trade must be fair in all senses. Financial growth must mean human liberty, and for every measure of progress in science, technology, and resource access, there must—in any civil society—be a commiserate gain in compassion, kindness and equality.
The change needed cannot be more evident—we must make the imperative shift into a trade relationship based on equity, empathy, sustainability, and virtue. Empathy—this key renewable resource, must become a staple export of our society—an example of decency and righteousness used to set the standard not only around the world, but at home as well. Until we make this crucial change, and plant the seeds of charity and kindness abroad, we can never honestly hope to reap them at home.
-Brad OH Inc.
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