Poverty of global consciousness
Global developmental problems such as regional conflict, malnutrition, pollution and overpopulation are an overwhelming reality of our times, suggesting that corrective measures taken to attain justice against such issues remain compromised. The high rate of inequality persists only because the world, despite being interconnected through globalisation, is still dislocated and increasingly heterogeneous. Globalisation, despite efforts, has not created homogeneity amongst life experiences across societies. Rather, it is a doomsday scenario at large that fails to allow communities to raise their standards for quality living.
Developing countries face particular risks as although they aim for integration into the global economy it only exacerbates economic disparity, raises political costs and gives rise to environmental and social tensions. There is a growing imbalance between the rich and the poor and the steadily increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few elite stands as a critical policy issue. Perhaps the global human rights crisis owes some to the affluent in spite of having some awareness of the existence of the poor in the most abstract and ineffectual of ways.
A realisation to be made is that that there are vast and grave human rights implications of this phenomenon, arising from growing international interdependencies of the persisting global social order. Although it may seem that the gulf between the wealthy and the impoverished is impermeable, the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s potential to be a powerful agent in reshaping almost all aspects of our lives is unquestionable. As the world enters a new wave of technological progress there appears to be a blurring of lines between the physical and digital boundaries which will inarguably impact those who are already victims of socioeconomic disadvantage.
While the repercussions of the new wave of globalisation cannot be denied — many of which are hailed as opportunistic — negative globalisation seems to be concurrently underway. For instance, pollution in one part of the world leads to extreme weather conditions in another or deforestation in a region impacts the world’s biodiversity and wildlife, making it a global challenge. This interdependency of our actions, instead of making the global community more resilient in promoting solidarity and peace, appears to be making us more susceptible to global catastrophes.
So what can be done in addition to assigning the onus of responsibility to the government to assess how local actions impact the national and international framework; and how can global actions influence our local contexts while establishing policies? In this age there needs to be a collaborative effort between social actors such as development practitioners, universities and governments to understand how the local effects the global and vice versa.
There needs to be an awakening of a conscience that extends beyond the individual and tries to take into account the global collective to tackle the pervasive destruction of political, economic and ideological rights and conditions that transcend national boundaries. This may not necessarily be a daunting task as people in different parts of the world already strive for similar goals and aspirations in life. Difficulties in their journey may however vary depending on where they stand and what they are confronted with; some more than others. Thus justifying the need to promote an understanding of how an individual’s action may lead to potential threats for someone else around the globe. The need for global solidarity and collective ownership has in effect never been felt so strongly before to minimise conflicts in a world consolidated and transformed on so many fronts and in so many ways. The consequence of globalisation should, to conclude, be a response mechanism that redefines the values of undoing abuse and violation of humanity’s rights through the development of a global consciousness.
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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.