Thursday, July 05, 2007


Whose Destiny Are We Manifesting?

I got a response from Bill on my If You Teach a Man to Fish post that I think warrants a fuller response than I can leave in the comments section. Here's what Bill said:

"Sure........bring the African Contintent into the 21st century meltdown so they can experience that too after we exploit all the continent has to offer. Might get the west another 10-15 years and then we will leave it behind."

I agree with Bill to a certain extent. If every person in the world starts consuming at the rate Americans are, we'll be in serious environmental trouble in no time. It's a sticky wicket, but . . . the deal is that other countries are already exploiting Africa's resources for their own gain. I believe it was Bob Geldof who mentioned one of the "deals" other countries have brokered with one of the countries in Africa concerning the production of pineapple. The deal is set up so that African's aren't allowed to fully process the fruit, so they don't reap the full economic benefit. (If I remember correctly, this tidbit of info came from the Travel Channel's show Bob Geldof in Africa, which I discussed here.

So then, if we take it as a given that no "third-world" country should ever rise up to the standard of living enjoyed by "first-world" countries because it will certainly mean planetary doom, what then is the solution? Let everyone die? Come on, people! That's no solution at all. How about this, then? What if Americans decided to consume less? Sacrifice something to the greater good of everyone? Oh, wait. (Get ready for sarcasm.) We can't possibly do that. Americans believe in Manifest Destiny. We get to manifest our destiny, and, by the way, we'll manifest everyone else's destiny while we're at it.

Some serious number crunching needs to happen. How much money would it take for everyone on earth to enjoy a decent standard of living (i.e. food, clothing, shelter, health care, education) while not sucking the earth's resources dry? I'm not referring to an obscene standard of living here. Twelve houses and a personal jet are not necessities, I don't care who you are. Looking at the state of the world today (and in times past), greed and a hunger for power are at the root of this. Until people decide to curb these appetites, we're in for a long row to hoe.

This is not an easy issue, no matter how you look at it. Bill appears to be anti-consumerism, yet, when I posted before about getting Americans to curb their consumption (also in relation to Africa), I got knocked for being anti-consumerist, myself. (See this link, and this one for the previous discussion.) My little blog certainly isn't going to have much impact on the wider discussion, but it's important to look at our deeper reasons for keeping Africa down. What are you willing to give up so that someone else can live a decent life?

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