Mission Time: Global South VS The (First) World [part 1]
It’s mission time! Come on grab your friends! We’ll go blog about some contemporary issues!
(If you know the cartoon series, Adventure Time, then just try to fit the tune of the show’s opening theme to the opening statements…otherwise just read it as is real hyper-like because of the exclamation points.)
Right-o. As of late I do not plan to get sufficient amount of sleep hours into my system as I am see-sawing the task of getting this blog post done and reading up for Dr.-Dr. Robles INTLAW, both of which I need to get done by tomorrow. Before I get going to talking about the disparities between the “oh-so-wonderful” Global North and the supposedly “not as oh-so-wonderful” Global South, let me just first take a moment to ask myself for the nth time as to why again am I still bothering with finishing my international studies course and why am I not running off to some art school where I will actually do something I am much more passionate about? …oh right, it would be a waste of years of tuition money. MONEY IS IMPORTANT.
Money isn’t everything (though some people will half-wittingly and quickly reply ‘It’s the only thing‘) but I cannot deny how much money easily governs our everyday life. Hell, just today I had to re-figure out how to eat lunch and commute all the way back home to Las Piñas on just 50 pesos because I would be spending 415 pesos on term-covered photocopies for INTLAW. So what I ended up doing was scrounging my pockets for loose change as well as diving into my bag to see if I had anymore loose change. Thankfully I was able to secure around 30 pesos worth of coins which gave me 80 pesos in total. A commute ride home inclusive of the bus, the jeep, and then the trike is an overall 47 pesos (44 pesos if I’m lucky enough to find an Erjohn bus which cuts the need of a jeep ride) which leaves me 33 pesos for lunch. Needless to say, I was on SUPER TIPID MODE which is utterly shitty in this time of Manila International Book Fair.
Okay, I was rambling earlier but the point of that little snippet from my average life is that the whole “short of cash” moment I pretty much forced me to plan and think of how I was going to spend my cash for the rest of the day. And normally I don’t really keep that heavy tabs on my cash. When I’m sleepy, I buy coffee. When I’m hungry, I buy food that I crave. When I need a new pen, I go to the bookstore and buy one and so on and so forth. But waking up in the morning and using a school computer and realizing you have to pay 415 pesos in one go for important readings made me wake the fuck up when I looked into my wallet and realized how “poor” I would be once I get those readings. So yes, money is important because it governs your life to a certain degree whether you like it or not.
Money = resources = capability to do something/get somewhere
In my case: money = INTLAW readings = +5% of passing the class if I use them to the fullest
In the case of the a nation state: money = funding for projects = better quality of education/better infrastructures/more hospitals/etc.
SAAAADLY the countries that need the money the most to get all those awesome things I have mentioned are part of the south side of the world where their money or their national income isn’t as much in comparison to those countries living up at the north side of the world.
EXHIBIT A: Typing [Country] Poverty into Google
I’ve just noticed, while looking for these pictures, whenever you typed a country from the Global North plus Poverty, you will almost always just see a homeless man photo or some hobo guy photo. But when you type a country from the Global South plus Poverty, you will almost always see at least three photos of child poverty. Now, doesn’t that make you go heave a sigh or something?
Here’s another thing to note: most of the countries in the global south also lack the same level of technological capabilities and resources which would enable them to catch-up innovation-wise with the rest of the world, as well as not having to rely of technology coming from the Global North would enable them to be able to produce/export/sell more than just raw materials/primary goods. If Global South countries could make more earnings selling more than just that, but manufactured or secondary goods not only would they be able to start competing in the global market but it would also make their domestic markets less reliant on imported goods. But again, you need money/funding to get these things (especially if you want your local goods to be of great quality to prefer them over imported products).
But then, like I said, money isn’t everything. Other notable differences between the Global South and the Global North are greenhouse gas emissions. Judging from the maps on this news article http://www.news.wisc.edu/11878 it is as clear as those shades of dark red and orange that the biggest contributors of rape to the Ozone layer are Global North countries (Here’s lookin’ at you, US of A and former Soviet Russia) but the countries to be affected by this (indirectly though, as the affects will come from climate change-related natural happenings) would be Global South countries. I swear, these are one of those moments where you just wanna face palm yourself because the countries who are barely doing harm to the world’s climate in comparison to others are the ones suffering for it. ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, WHERE ART THOU?!
…well, then again, I never really considered Gaia/Mother Earth to be a fair mistress. She’s more of the whimsical sort. A total bitch, but what can we do other than try to deal with it and do our best to ease out the damages we make? We can’t expect the Earth to clean up after herself anyway, she does what she does.
It’s in her nature. (Haha, see what I did there? It’s a lame a pun.)
But anyway, going back to the the disparities between the GS and the GN, so I pointed out how in terms of money in general and money for technology/resources it’s evident that the GS is lacking while the GN is abundant. I also pointed out how though the GN produces the most CO2 emissions, it’s several of the GS countries who will suffer most from this. Another thing they differ in, at least according to the reading assignment (Chapter 5 from Kegley’s World Politics book), what’s stated is that many GS countries have governments that are “weakly committed to regular elections and human rights”. Which I suppose can be considered true when you look at how democratic the governments of many GS countries are, or rather how undemocratic they are (Singapore’s creepy Iron Fist Happy Land ruling is more than a good enough example). Though frankly I have a beef with democracy here and there, so I won’t really delve into my thoughts about the political disparities of the two halves of the worlds less I end up ranting a bit too much and then proposing some radical idea that sounds too neofunctionalist-anarchic (Competent Institutions > Governments, if you ask me).
Overall. It’s evident that when it comes to the differentiating the GS from the GN, we just simply look at it as the poor alongside the rich. The have-nots alongside the have. Or better yet, let’s put it into terms of corn:
I do believe this is an accurate enough visual metaphor for the Global North and the Global South.
In the end, what happened was that the corn got eaten so it was like the entire world became the Global South. THAT IS NOT WHAT I WISH TO HAPPEN. I do not want the entire world to end up in the same situation/conditions as the Global South but nor do I want the Global South just be an exact duplicate of the Global North. In terms of economy, perhaps, but politically, socially, and culturally, I do believe that we don’t have to give and become just like our fellow humans up at the northern regions of the globe. We’re different, true. As in, geographically and demographically that’s already a painfully obvious difference that the GS and the GN have. Differences shouldn’t be seen as something negative, but rather something to work with. Work with the different state and conditions, the different pros and cons your state has and find a way to prosper even with those things. Idealistically speaking, that’s the only way I see the gap ever closing. The moment Global South countries realize that they are completely different from countries in the Global North, the moment they decide that they shouldn’t be like them but rather look into what’s best for themselves as a state with regards to their culture, their politics, and their people, that’s when the gap will begin to close.
Though when I think about it, an even simpler way is just stop dividing the world and just going back to calling countries by their names if not identifying them by their continents then that would at least figuratively close the gap. But then the labels of Third World, Global South, Global North, Developing Countries, etc. help organize things of discussions sake, so I doubt that would really happen any time soon.