The Global Divide Between the Rich and Poor
For the last five centuries, there has been a growing split throughout the world; this split has been between the "haves" and the "have-nots". These two groups can be defined two ways. One, between the rich and poor in individual countries and two, between the rich and poor countries themselves. Both definitions have seen increasing polarization over the last 500 years, but the definitive century was the last 100 years. The twentieth century held wealth and fortune beyond the dreams of many, but desperation and famine for many others. Overall, the focus of this paper is the division of wealth by country -- most often referenced by the relations between north and south. What we find is a massive wealth buildup in the north, as the south struggles to grow and develop, with the illusion that they can reach the status of the north, and that the north would let them achieve such status. In the pages that follow, we will find reference to political, demographic, social, environmental, and economic information that highlights some of the information, impressions, and ideals of the situation.
Governments around the world have been following neoliberal economic policies of the north for several years, and in the process, trade barriers disappear, public industries are privatized, and corporations have grown large enough that now (instead of the English Empire) the sun never sets on them. Privatization has created many opportunities for these countries to grow, especially in the last decade. As governments begin to dismantle the industrial holdings created through statist policies, great opportunities arise for MNCs to buy into new marketplaces through privatization. Privatizations in developing countries are increasing in volume and value, from 50 privatizations worth $2.5 billion in 1998 to 750 privatizations worth $24 billion in 1994. Countries sell off their capital, and let corporations become dominators, sometimes holding more control than the government itself. Governance does not mean mere government. It means the framework of rules, institutions and established practices that set limits and give incentives for the behavior of individuals, organizations and firms. The challenge is to find the rules and institutions for stronger governance -- local, national, regional and global -- to preserve the advantages of global markets and competition, but also to provide enough space for human, community and environmental resources to ensure that globalization works for people -- not just for profits. The United States has not exactly been a saint throughout these unfolding events, but rather like a country building a colonial empire through economic integration and control. Rather than working to foster forums of other like-minded nations, the United States has historically sought to undermine groups that it cannot or does not control. The United States exports more arms than...