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The Global SolutionOctober 14, 2001
The problems of Nepal are mirrored across the world. Whilst the lucky few enjoy great wealth and comfort, the vast majority of citizens live in terrible poverty and hardship. In the past very few people in the developing world were really aware of the tremendous wealth gap between rich and poor. But the spread of Satellite TV across the planet has recently shown them the reality of their situation. Sickening images of luxury homes and huge private swimming pools in America were meant to promote Western merchandise and culture. But in practice they also emphasised the huge social and economic deprivation suffered by billions of viewers.
All over the world this relative poverty is breeding common discontent. It is initially displayed through peaceful demonstrations but if the local political system does not listen to that signal, a more desperate expression of anger gradually develops. Demonstrations become violent and eventually lead to direct action. This is the path of terrorism around the world. Extreme political and religious organisations often feed from this discontent and create the illusion that their particular agenda is the focus of terrorist action. But their supporters are mostly motivated by the need to feed their families and fight the injustice that created their poverty. It is the stark contrast between the wealth of the international elite and the extreme deprivation of the masses that causes terrorism and this global problem must be solved if the war against it is to be successful.
In my opinion there is only one lasting solution to this nightmare. In simple terms the entire planet must be forged into a single economy. There must be an end to the senseless economic rivalry that forces every nation to fight for its own benefit at the expense of others. In the same way that all the separate nations of Europe were forged into a single Economic Union for the benefit of all, so must the whole world now begin to follow their example.
This vision does not suggest the end of nation states or individual cultures. There is no need for Nepali culture to disappear because of economic integration with the rest of the world. Europe is still composed of many different nations, languages and social traditions that have all survived the process of economic unification. But the wealth gap between member nations has sharply reduced. Thirty years ago the Germans and the British earned far more than the Italians or the Greeks. Today their prices and earnings are much the same and the chances of any war between them have vanished.
Surely that is the path for the rest of the world to follow. It begins with trade agreements that form the basis for a single Economic Community. Certainly the World Trade Organisation could easily work in that direction. Indeed it can be argued that the whole process of global capitalism is gradually creating a form of World Economic Community based upon Free Trade. But the process must go further than removing trade barriers and an agreement for greater unification must be achieved.
Like most other nations, Nepal is already part of an integrated international economy. Whatever party is in power, no national government can really solve our problems without international co-operation. We need to be part of a greater economic community that is built upon fair and democratic principles and is dedicated to the eradication of poverty. The whole world needs to evolve in unity.
The success of any community is dependent upon the strength of its weakest member. European integration was only successful because stronger nations effectively supported those less developed. Aid was not given in loans or clever investment aimed to benefit the donor nation. Instead a regulated European Commission was created to direct the surplus wealth of the whole community into those areas that most needed it. It was effectively a taxation system aimed to benefit the poor and the result was general development for everyone.
This concept should now be applied across the world. Aid should not be a charity given by donor nations in return for economic or diplomatic favours. It should not be given as loans forcing huge debts upon economies that are already suffering. Grants and subsidies should be directed at poorer nations by an international body that has the power to tax the richer States and redistribute global wealth according to needs. A World Economic Community involving all nations should be formalised with such principles enshrined in its charter. It must be entirely democratic and allow regional autonomy wherever possible. Ultimately that is the only route for long term stability and an end to the inequality that lies behind all terrorism. As the United Nations was necessary after the last great struggle against international violence, so too is the WEC necessary after this conflict. And it should become the war aim of the entire coalition that is fighting it.
But such an organisation is not only required for the defeat of terrorism. Other pressing problems such as climate change, refugees and drug smuggling also require a co-ordinated global approach. Brazil and Indonesia contain nearly 90% of the remaining rain forests that are vital for the global climate system. But they are both struggling economies that need to destroy it in order to survive. The WEC would be able to prevent this destruction through proper subsidies that would directly benefit us all. And that is only one example of the many problems that must be faced without delay.
Of course the process does not end with mere economic integration. Like the United States, the European model evolved into a Union that was built upon freedom of movement for its people as well as its merchandise. That is the only route for true equality between nations. It cannot be achieved overnight but eventually the whole planet will need to unify if it is to successfully face the huge global problems that lie ahead. It is a gradual process that will eventually harmonise immigration, taxation and social laws across the planet. Human Rights should not just exist in principle. They should be guaranteed under a global law that is enforced by a universal federal government. In short, the ultimate goal of mankind should be the creation of the United States of the World. Then and only then will we have a chance of lasting peace.
With my best wishes to you all,