( Half an Hour read.)
If I was writing a post about what is right about the world it would be a few minutes read.
Of course, this is a flippant remark as there are many things right with the world.
Technology and Science has produced vaccines to fight Covid-19 and millions of us are every day doing our bit, to ensure that the most beautiful thing in the world is, of course, the world itself.
However, to put it mildly, we live in a topsy-turvy world and its present state is pretty grim right now.
In a world that has been governed by inequality and recently by ‘fake news’ and leaders who dismiss ‘facts,’ it no wonder that we are in such a mess.
With this continuing statistically meticulous presentation of global trends is vitally important to understand the world today, including the economic, health, and geo-political reverberations of Covid-19.
The overall state of our world makes sad reading.
ACCORDING TO WORLD REVOLUTION ORG.
THIS IS THE STATE OF THE WORLD.
- Around 258 million people live outside the country of their birth.
- 14% of the world’s children are economically active
- Nearly 2 billion people in the world are overweight or obese.
- More than 800 million people are undernourished.
- By 2050 almost all seabirds will have ingested plastic.
- Nearly 50% of the world’s economic output is generated in places aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
- Violence costs the world around $8.3 trillion a year – twice the amount needed to meet the UN’s development goals.
- There have been over 250 major wars in the world since World War II, in which 23 million people have been killed., tens of millions made homeless, and countless millions injured and bereaved.
Over 35 major conflicts are going on in the world today. In armed conflicts since 1945, 90 percent of casualties have been civilians. 3 out of 4 fatalities of war are women and children.
In the wars of the last decade, more children were killed than soldiers. In the last decade, child victims of war include an estimated 2 million killed, 4 to 5 million disabled, 12 million left homeless, and more than 1 million orphaned.
There are 300,000 child soldiers in the world.
Landmines maim or kill approximately 26,000 civilians every year, including 8,000 to 10,000 children. At least 75% of landmine victims are civilians. It is estimated that there are between 60 and 70 million landmines in the ground in at least 70 countries.
More than 500 million small arms and light weapons are in circulation around the world. In major conflicts since 1990, they have caused 4 million deaths – about 90 percent of them civilians, and 80 percent women and children.
There are approximately 30,000 nuclear warheads in the world today. Some 5,000 nuclear weapons are on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched at a few minute’s notice.
Current global military spending is approximately $800 billion per year; more than the total annual income of the poorest 45% of the global population.
Genocide and other mass murders killed more people in the 20th century than all wars combined. Between 54 and 80 million people have been killed in genocides in the last century. Between 170 and 360 million people have been killed, in total, by governments (democide) in the 20th century, apart from war.
Human rights & social justice.
33% of the world’s people live under authoritarian, non-democratic regimes. 35% of the world’s people live in countries in which basic political rights and civil liberties are denied (such as freedom of speech, religion, press, fair trials, democratic political processes, etc).
1 billion people – 1/3rd of the world’s labor force, are unemployed or underemployed. An estimated 37 million people are enslaved around the world, including an estimated 20 million people held in bonded labor (forced to work to pay off a debt, also known as ‘debt bondage’). At least 700,000 people annually, and up to 2 million, mostly women and children, are victims of human trafficking worldwide (a modern form of slavery — bought, sold, transported, and held against their will in slave-like conditions).
About 246 million, or 1 out of 6, children ages 5 to 17 worldwide are involved in child labor. Nearly three-fourths of these, about 180 million children, including 110 million under age 15, are exposed to the worst forms of, or hazardous, child labor. Some estimated 8.4 million children are trapped in the most abhorrent forms of child labor – slavery, trafficking, debt bondage, prostitution, pornography, and other such activities.
Women account for 70 percent of the world’s people who live in absolute poverty. Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, produce half of the world’s food, and yet earn only 10% of the world’s income and own less than 1% of the world’s property. Worldwide, a quarter of all women are raped during their lifetime. Depending on the country, 25 to 75 percent of women are regularly beaten at home. Between 10% and 50% of women report they have been physically abused by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Over 120 million women have undergone female genital mutilation. Women hold only 12% of parliamentary seats worldwide. Women account for 2/3rd of the world’s illiterate adults, and girls account for 2/3rd of the world’s children without access to education.
In 1998, extrajudicial executions were carried out in 47 countries, ‘disappearances’ occurred in 37 countries, torture occurred in 125 countries, prisoners of conscience were held in 78 countries, unfair trials for political prisoners occurred in 35 countries, detentions without charge or trial occurred in 66 countries, executions were carried out in 36 countries, and human rights abuses were committed by armed opposition groups in 37 countries.
There are over 45 million refugees and internally displaced people in the world.
Poverty & development.
3 billion of the world’s people (one-half) live in ‘poverty’ (living on less than $2 per day). 1.3 billion people live in ‘absolute’ or ‘extreme poverty’ (living on less than $1 per day).
800 million people lack access to basic healthcare. 17 million people, including 11 million children, die every year from easily preventable diseases and malnutrition.
800 million people are hungry or malnourished. Nearly 160 million children are malnourished worldwide. 11 million people die every year from hunger and malnutrition.
2.4 billion people lack access to proper sanitation. 1.1 billion do not have safe drinking water. By 2025, at least 3.5 billion people, or nearly 2/3rd’s of the world’s population will face water scarcity. More than 2.2 million people, mostly children, die each year from water-related diseases.
275 million children never attend or complete primary school education. 870 million of the world’s adults are illiterate.
3 million people die every year from HIV/AIDS. Approximately 25 million people have died from AIDS in the last 20 years. 70 million will die from AIDS by 2020. 40 million people are currently infected with HIV/AIDS, who will die within 10 years. 13 million children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS since the epidemic began, and the number is expected to double to 26 million by 2010.
Over 100 million people live in slums. An estimated 25 to 50 percent of urban inhabitants in poor, developing countries live in impoverished slums and squatter settlements.
The richest 1% of the world’s people earned as much income as the bottom 57% (2.7 billion people). The top 5% of the world’s people earn more income than the bottom 80%. The top 10% of the world’s people earn as much income as the bottom 90%. The richest 16% of the world’s population receives 84% of the world’s annual income.
The wealth of the world’s 7.1 million millionaires ($27 trillion) equals the total combined annual income of the entire planet. The combined wealth of the world’s richest 300 individuals is equal to the total annual income of 45% of the world’s population. The world’s 3 wealthiest families have a combined wealth equal to the annual income of 600 million of the world’s people. The wealthiest one-fifth of the world’s population receive an average income that is 75 times greater than the poorest one-fifth.
Poor countries (which contain 4/5th’s of the world’s people) pay the rich countries an estimated nine times more in debt repayments than they receive in aid. Africa alone spends four times more on repaying its debts than it spends on health care. In 1997 the foreign debts of poor countries were more than $2 trillion and growing. The result is a debt of $400 for every person in the developing world – where the average annual income in the very poorest countries is less than a dollar a day.
Environment & sustainability.
Half of the forests that originally covered 46% of the Earth’s land surface are gone. Only one-fifth of the Earth’s original forests remain pristine and undisturbed.
Between 10 and 20 percent of all species will be driven to extinction in the next 20 to 50 years. Based on current trends, an estimated 34,000 plant and 5,200 animal species – including one in eight of the world’s bird species – face extinction. Almost a quarter of the world’s mammal species will face extinction within 30 years. Up to 47% of the world’s plant species are at risk of extinction.
60% of the world’s coral reefs, which contain up to one-fourth of all marine species, could be lost in the next 20–40 years
Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles and marine mammals are entangled and drowned by irresponsible fishing practices every year.
More than 20 percent of the world’s known 10,000 freshwater fish species have become extinct, been threatened, or endangered in recent decades. Sixty percent of the world’s important fish stocks are threatened by overfishing.
Desertification and land degradation threaten nearly one-quarter of the land surface of the globe. Over 250 million people are directly affected by desertification, and one billion people are at risk.
Global warming is expected to increase the Earth’s temperature by 3C (5.4F) in the next 100 years, resulting in multiple adverse effects on the environment and human society, including widespread species loss, ecosystem damage, flooding of populated human settlements, and increased natural disasters.
An estimated 40–80 million people have been forcibly evicted and displaced from their lands to make way for the construction of large dams, resulting in economic and social devastation for these people.
IT APPEARS THAT THE WOLRD IS IN SUCH A STATE THAT TRUTH HAS ALREADY CEASED TO MATTER AND EVIDENCE OF THIS IS WHATEVER OF APPROVAL NARRATIVES WANT IT TO BE.
We think we understand environmental damage: pollution, water scarcity, a warming world. But these problems are just the tip of the iceberg.
Evidence is growing that the thermohaline current may be slowed or stopped by cold freshwater inputs to the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans. This could occur if global warming is sufficient to cause large scale melting of arctic sea ice and the Greenland ice sheet. Such a change in the current may be gradual (over centuries) or very rapid (over a few years).
Either would cause planet-wide changes in climate. This effect may be part of what starts and stops the ice ages.
The land in the northern hemisphere has been unfrozen for less than half of the last 400,000 years. In 2005, it was discovered that deep water formation under the Arctic “Odden ice tongue” had almost stopped.
If perpetual economic growth on a finite planet is impossible, what are the alternatives?
Can national governments manage the transition to sustainability, to a world of sharing?
I think not.
The capitalist system and its institutions have lurched from disaster to disaster, blatantly incapable of mastering the social, economic, environmental, and now health emergencies it has created.
Industrial civilization, economic growth, and the lifestyles of the developed world are dependent on inexpensive oil and gas. The energy and products from cheap oil have made possible the major changes in globalized industrial civilization in the last 100 years, including its huge impact on indigenous cultures and planetary ecosystems.
Affordable food production by industrial agriculture needs inexpensive natural gas and oil inputs for fertilizers, pesticides, industrial machinery, planting, cultivating, harvesting, processing, packaging, transportation, and marketing.
We use six times as much water today as we did 100 years ago.
Where do we go from here?
One question is:
How did we get to this state of extreme polarization?
Who (or what) started us down this destructive path?
All hail to the machine learning profit-seeking algorithms that run Social Media.
We are only as strong as our weakest link and the weakest link is Big Tech which is completely out of control.
Suppression of information, online bullying, and intimidation— are good if they serve politically correct causes, for which the ends justify the means but do anyone with a functioning brain not now realize that is it is conceivable that well-trafficked truth-telling sites are impossible?
Does this information break your heart?
Of course not.
Because we don’t see where the locus of power is, that it lies with the interlocked networks of corporations that command advanced communications technology, not in “their” government.
So wherever we are right now is not necessarily where we’ll end up.
The coronavirus has changed everyday life for many around the world affords us the opportunity to take responsibility for each other—to leave the myth of individualism and blaming behind, but the problem: Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, etc., are not “private companies” in any meaningful, real-world sense. These-are-private-companies like Facebook Twitter, Google, etc, simply aren’t in the real world.
These are private companies; they can do business with whoever they please and deplatform whoever they please. The myth of individualism has all but disappeared.
Social media is legitimately criticized as a destroyer of your time. ( See previous Posts)
The evidence for this is what happened in the Twitter presidency of the USA, the rejection of membership of the EU by England on lies, the Arab spring, and now the continuing coronavirus death toll.
New social media uploads last as long as those who control information want them to last.
Now, Biden says he wants “healing.” Biden-Harris “healing” will mean bowing before the cult of woke, a baffling concept because the awakened are still asleep.
Of course, slavery is an abomination. Of course, there should be free speech. Of course, there should be full emancipation of women. Of course, there should be the defense of all the Great Freedoms, even religion. That is how we progressed to this lofty condition of humanity.
Lots of ideas fail when put into practice.
It’s worth pointing out, too, that today’s striven-for norms may well confound the concepts of future generations. Although the wokes, or the wakes, hold strong opinions now who is to say what other ideas may take over and differently bias the next to awaken?
One wonders if when the pendulum swings future generations might not come to regard the woke clientele as equally misguided, just as today’s woke contingent deplores the earlier generations that thought memorial statues and patriotism well worth it.
Meanwhile, Rule Britannia and Land of Hope, and Crosby may be held to refer to slavery but are all also part of the great learning curve of human progress.
Perhaps we should all start replacing the customary ‘Good Morning’ greeting with an abject apology for consuming the commonly shared oxygen supply of the planet.
Anyway, I’ve had about enough of hearing the whining of those who stand, head bowed, around the catafalque of patriotism.
The speed at which things have been unraveling in 2020 has been jarring. From normalcy to Pandemic Panic lockdown with maximum fear in a matter of weeks; from ostensibly united against the pandemic to if we were not careful to nationwide riots and cultural revolution in a matter of days not years.
While the threat of the former will inevitably pass with time, the threat inherent in the latter is pervasive, aggressive, and emboldened.
Where do we go from here?
Even though we are living in a technological age every day we see appeals to save critically endangered animals, from Bees that are dying at an alarming rate, to Children, to Climate change.
In the next decade, we will see more than a hundredfold boom in the world’s output of human genetic data thanks to Covid-19 from the cradle to the grave which will not save the Bees that pollinate our plants. I would say that relatively few people would on reading this think that the world they are living in is getting better.
What comes next is anyone’s guess.
Giving up your freedom, trusting “your” government, wearing your face mask, and by the way, getting the jab so you can go back to consuming, while the real economy drops into the worst depression of modern times.
We might be confused by what is happing in the world but we should not be deluded.
There’s always something we can do.
At the moment with covid-19 there is a lot of millionaires Davos verbal diarrhea on social media about a Reset – without any financial commitments – it is just multimillionaires and multi-billionaires spouting their neoliberal capitalist ideology turning nature into a product.
There is huge inequality in the world and they are literally the representatives of the 1%, actually, the 0.001%.
The only thing that can be reset is Accountability and Transparency, with large financial fines for breaches of sustainability, while harnessing profit for profit’s sake to convert the world to green economies. ( See previous post: World aid commission of 0.05%
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.