“Globalization in the Time of Poverty”

This is how a picture has been captioned by Mayank Soofi, a talented writer in Delhi.

Mayank’s photo-blog contains some interesting images. The photo below, taken recently in Delhi, highlights the contrast between the symbols of consumerist globalization and the have-nots..

 I also found a related post with an apt title: Malls, Multiplexes and McDonald’s – The New Communist World Order.

This is a challenge of our times. How do we reconcile the world of statistics with poverty and inequality as a real human condition.  

A friend also emailed me this piece arguing the need for putting aside “pride” about a growing economy and focusing on “the lives of average citizens”. I am not making a political statement given the “otherness” that comes with my citizenship of India’s much loved-hate[d] neighbour. I am more intrigued by the image and the tale it spins. If Scheherzade were alive, she could easily use digital images to save her life!

Again, thanks to Mayank, I also saw this photo with his thoughtful comment.

” Morning rush hour in a busy east Delhi intersection. …  Commuters in confusion. A man, covered with a sheet, lying on the pavement. Sleeping? Dead? Who knows, who cares! “

A single picture can tell a thousand stories.

Published in: on February 15, 2007 at 5:28 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Indeed…I just wonder if the past glories and times of prosperity in these countries throughout history can be blamed on economic imbalances due to global trade practices and finance entities as well or maybe if there is some other culprit at work…it’s troubling.

  2. I cannot accept a concept like Globalization as it is obviously not global when it clearly chooses to ignore majority of the world’s (poor/impoverished) population. Perhaps a more apt label would be ‘Elitist Privatization’.

    I am totally against this whole concept of globalization. It is abhorant to say the least. In the guise of promoting free trade and privatization, it creates and encourages the growth of two disperate groups; the struggling poor and the repulsively rich.

  3. I couldn’t help but smile when looking at the first picture. It captures the reality of our globalized world so well. I am reminded of the following words spoken by Martin Luther King in 1967:

    “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin…we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

    “A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.”

    I am not a big advocate of globalization but I have yet to discover any real alternatives to it. I think it’s the natural extension of capitalism and if we want to live in a capitalist society then we have to live with globalization as well. I also work for a giant global company so it’s ironic for me to speak against globalization because they pay my bills 🙂

  4. I am fully on the side of the sentiment underlying the opposition to globalization (Gbn) that I see in the posts above: namely, disparity of wealth, and poverty.However, I would like people to think more about the link between the two.

    I think we should object to and try to reform the ugly sides of globalization – ex: low wages in sweatshops. But how does that indict Gbn itself? If not for Gbn, how is capital/technology going to flow across the borders? (by wars and snatching others wealth as in the past?) Are humans suddenly going to turn into better animals and gift away stuff to their less fortunate brethen?

  5. Dear Mahi, you have a valid point.. However, it is not about globalization per se.. Given the unequal power structures at the global level, access to global capital and technology is limited and lop-sided. Therefore, it creates further inequality. Also, the symbols of global ‘prosperity’ are worrying as they relate to one particular brand of progress and advancement..
    I agree that the ugly facets of globalization need to be reformed and the process should be steered (and when needed resisted) for more healthy results.

  6. Like it or not, Globalization is unavoidable. I only hope that apart from influencing and being influenced by each other’s popular culture, food, music, fashion, etc. we also make use of this phenomenon to better understand each other and be more tolerant of other cultures, values and life styles. Thank-you Mr. Rumi.

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