By - JN Lai
When arrows become missiles, drum signals grow into internet, and horses are being taken over even by the flying cars, the interpretation of “Development” remains a crucial deal. Recently in Manipur too, there has been a noise about Development and Look/Act East Policy.
To understand Development rationally, first, I would like to pop up a small fact that – very surprisingly Korean summer hit41°C this time, and over the last few years, more air-conditions have been installed to exhale more heat into the outdoor air. In fact, people don’t like to connect the things – the steaming heat, environment pollution and their causes we trigger.
In order to move market economy active and go consumerism alive, the world emitted 37 billion tons of CO2 in 2017 (CarbonBrief), and the extraction of natural resources increased from 22 billion tons in 1970 to 70 billion tons in 2010 (Reuters).
The wave of the consumerism in the battle of the market economy is proved that exhaustion of the resources is leaving an uncertain future to our offspring. Consequently, global solid waste generation is on pace to increase 70% by 2025, rising from 3.5 million tons in 2010 to more than 6 million tons per day in 2025 making unclean the mother earth. The global cost of dealing with all that trash is rising too: from $205 billion a year in 2010 to $375 billion by 2025, with the sharpest cost increases in developing countries (World Bank).
In the operation of the liberalization, privatization, and globalization, the sweeping majority of us are disable to escape from the profit making forces controlled by a minority of extremely rich people. Very shockingly, how come in such developed nations that about 2.5 million homeless children out of about 3.5 million homeless people have surfaced in the USA landscape (AIR and NCH) and more than 1.5 million Brits are living in destitution in which 365,000 of them are children (Mirror). About 125,000 people in Australia, 150,000 in France and 5 million in Russia encounter homelessness. Habitat for Humanity estimated in 2015 that 1.6 billion people around the world lived in “inadequate shelter”.
In the fourth industrial revolution wave, we look losing grips of hope, and confusing ourselves what the happiness is. A whole bunch of products and gadgets are nothing but becoming very momentary pinch of glee. It can be pertinent that, in my part of the world, we did not have all these toys and games. Even we could not afford a real football; so, Nobaab/pomelo gave us full joy of soccer play.
Consumerism makes us go shopping for the items we don’t need actually. The becoming is, do it with the money we don’t have – the credit culture. We buy even we won’t use once or weeks later. Soon, we feel bad then buy more to keep aside our boredom a while.
As far as development is concerned, degeneration of our commonsense is unfolded indicating a failed impact of education we have absorbed.
Nonsense lot is everywhere. Environment activists enjoy conferences in Bangkok hotel rooms. They wear jackets and jumpers to turn up the air-condition machines though shorts and T-shirts serve perfect in such hot Thai city. They always depend on the electric consumed devices and gadgets. Entertain microphones and speakers whereas human voice is loud enough for the purposes. Their eyes are accustomed to dim bright power point projectors’ light. Now and again they compromise the plastic bottles and containers for food and drinks. We do not walk where we can – simply saying, “Don’t have time.” We always want to drive cars to buy McDonald’s and KFC food. Step on the escalators and get in the elevators to move up and to go down in the buildings. Then, need to work out and have time too to make lose our weights and keep shapes. Drive cars again to go to the digitized gyms to do exercise.
Should we not ignore this good awareness that - cars, elevators, gyms consume energy, and this energy comes from hydrocarbon, coal and nuclear. Natural environment has been deteriorated so badly in the process of producing energy and making profit for few only in running market economy. Why is it not an absolute absurdity to show that we are too lazy to move our hands and legs? Is it sick of our modern mentality always to use electronic buttons instead?
In the meantime, the opinion from the third world countries reacts that – “Why should we sacrifice our due portions of comforts and convenience by contemplating others’ costs? At least, for some time we have to buy cars, use fossil foil and live in modern/western lifestyle. Europe, America, Japan, other rich countries have to adjust now and pay for it for environmental deterioration and global warming. Even though, at the cost of their past excessive consumerism we are joining the suicidal adventure.”
Electric cars are beginning to disguise as eco-friendly engines for they are not consuming fossil fuel anymore. Where from is that clean energy, anyway? Electricity! Burning coal, nuclear power plants, hydel-dams and fossil fuel and others.
Of late, the solar panels are to spread all over to color the earth clumsy and darken surface. Interesting! The Japanese digitized toilets and Fukushima tragedy, never be able to connect the two stories one another.
The auto-drive vehicles, hands-free machines and robots are to multiply ever more, yet the unemployment hiccups are getting frequented for humans. Whenever, new products are made, they are also made out of natural resource inputs, extracting from the mother earth, in the manufacturing process, they consume energy, give out carbon and other pollutants.
My proposition is that Development is misunderstood. It is because of human mentality of economic-socio-political ideologies in terms of Market Economy, Capitalism, Profit and Greed. Therefore, we are suffering from Consumerism, Environmental Degradation, Inequality, Unemployment, and other socio-psycho-somatic challenges.
Thus my advocacy is that there found a great necessity of a symphony to voice for a change in the development paradigm. Hence, a realization is of indoctrination of a better understanding of Development at all the level of formal education and in all the spheres of public awareness; policy changes and implementation at the national, regional and international domains by addressing the root causes.
(The writer is an Asst. Pro. at International College, the University of Suwon, S Korea)