Top leaders from the largest 20 economies of the world — called G-20 — will assemble in London on April 2. As the Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros said: “this will be the world’s last chance to avert economic disaster.”
George Soros is an honourable man. He is not the only one. Almost each one of the so called top economist, policy maker, and humanitarian — and I am including the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet — in this category have actually misled us to believe that the economic stimulus, which now exceeds US$ 10 trillion, needs to be further strengthened to bailout the global economy from the clutches of a likely depression. I am in fact amused when I see people who are in one form or the other responsible for the economic meltdown are trying to preach to us about the possible way out.
In India, this too is the case with the likes of lesser-known people, like the State Minister in Karnataka, Mr G Janardhana Reddy, who himself says that he is worth Rs 1500-crore now. He exports iron ore to China from the hot and dusty mineral-rich district of Bellary. He and others rake in money while their mining activities have turned the vast rainwater reservoir Lakshmipura Kunte rust red and laced it with poison, destroyed forests and ruined farms.
Undeterred, […] he is helping to draft the Karnatka’s State Mining Policy, which allows fresh mining leases only for those who can ‘value-add’, meaning industrialists like him. Business barons like him surely need more than one economic bailout package.
The G-20 Summit will [not be able to] look beyond such [ways] of [economic] growth. These political leaders haven’t learned any lesson. They are like weak students in a classroom who try to sit behind the intelligent ones in an examen so that they can copy some of the answers. I am therefore no longer shocked to see their inability to stand up and show us the way. You will see these leaders ending up parroting what the likes of George Soros have to say, the man who reportedly made one billion dollars on short-selling the Sterling Pound on “Black Wednesday” in 1992.
While the likes of George Soros, World Bank director general Robert Zoellick and WTO director general Pascal Lamy are moving in the corridors of power, seeking more thrust on ‘inclusive growth’ — inclusive only to the rich barons and the financial tycoons — G-20 is unlikely to take notice of the strong message that comes from the marches that thousands of people participated in last week in Britain, France and Germany – to protest against the global economic crisis and to urge world leaders to take action on poverty, jobs and climate change.
Destroyed Forest – Photo: Stockpix.com
The G-20 leaders suffer from myopia. They can only see the corporate and big business interest. Everyone else is beyond their visibility coefficient. I sometimes wonder why these leaders can’t ever realise that if the world’s best brains and the scientific acumen that had been generated over the past several decades was so brilliant, why it is that forests are disappearing at an alarming rate, oceans have been exhausted of their fish stocks, crop fields are turning barren and sick, water is becoming scarce, the environment has been polluted beyond redemption, hunger is growing in the midst of growing trade, and the world is warming up to an extent that if we do not make a radical correction now, it could be too late.
Just sit back and think. If these scientists, economists, and management gurus were so good, why would the world gobble up its natural resource base? Why is it that the growth economics we are taught in university curricula actually end up in violence? I mean violence against nature, violence against the environment and finally violence against the human beings. How can we be led down the garden path by believing that our future is safe in the hands of these Nobel laureates, and the likes? If they were so good, they should have shown us a way out of the crisis rather than pushing us deeper and deeper towards an environmental catastrophe.
I have nothing against these distinguished scientists and economists, but sometimes I wonder why, with so much of brilliance around us, we are fast sliding on a downhill path? What is the use of this brilliance if the Earth is rapidly becoming an unsuitable place to live? Why do we need to switch off the lights for one hour a year to draw the attention of the political leadership towards the dangers of global warming staring at us?
The answer is simple. In our quest to demonstrate our brilliance we have forgotten some simple lessons that nature provides. We feel ashamed to even acknowledge that nature provides us with the right solutions. We think that if we do so, people would scoff at our post-doctoral degrees that we pick up from Harvard, Yale and Cambridge. In our world you have to look different, and the more educated you are the more sophisticated the forms of confusion you create. This in turn kills traditional wisdom.
If the G-20 leaders had ever stopped by at a village pond and looked at a frog swimming in the water they would have found the answer to the global economic meltdown that the world is faced with, which in reality is the cause behind global warming. Just pause and think, and you will understand what I mean. The frog has lived generation after generation in that small pond. But it did not drink the pond. It lived in harmony with the pond. The pond has not dried up, nor has it become so unbearable for the frog that he has to migrate or look for fresh water sources elsewhere.
We haven’t learned from the frog. We live on Earth, and yet we have eaten up the natural resources. In our quest for economic growth, we have destroyed the planet by treating nature as an economic commodity to be bought and sold. Is this the path we should continue to move on? Should we not learn from the frog and try to reverse our destructive path? Should we not try to preserve the pond that we live in?
I wish someone could take the G-20 leaders to visit a village pond. The world might not be the same again. This is our last chance.