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Global Inequality: Here to Stay360°ANALYSIS

Global inequality is as inevitable as the early dominance of sedentary peoples over hunter gatherers. 

The common understanding these days, as derived from popular anthropologists, is that the fortuitous concentration of high protein grains and mammals — who would be domesticated about 12,000 years ago in the fertile crescent and later along the shores of the Yellow River — allowed, through a quasi Darwinian evolution, for a dominance over their less advanced neighbors.

Dominance, defined as a procreative and creative explosion that pushed further afield, eventually reached the West and steam rolled everything in its wake. By the time it had traveled from the fertile crescent westward to Europe and then across the Atlantic — or southward from the Yellow River along its other track — its pre-eminence was assured. These civilizations killed, displaced or assimilated everything in their way. This is all, more or less, textbook —circa 2014.

Now, as I work for a living as a modern-day avant-garde of Western civilization, I am very much in that ancient tradition. Political scientists refer to it as the American or Western “narrative.” I contradict my colleagues who refer to themselves as development workers — whatever that is. I argue that we are in the business of “modernization,” and we are sales and marketing for the current incubator of that original force from the fertile crescent. Our persuasions for freedom are part of it.

But equally are the General Acceptable Accounting Principles (GAAP), the English language, the code for the computer programs we teach them, the World Cup and traffic lights — to name a small representative sample. We have no problem, I might add, with “others” keeping  their native recipes, songs and poems, and using our marketing expertise to spread them across the globe. In fact, we (the G7) invite it.

Ultimately, we only care about riding our strategic dominance and stretching our lead into the new frontiers that will assure tomorrow’s dynamics. And frankly, for the fertile crescent and the Yellow River principal extenders (the G7 and China), there really is no one in our rear-view mirror.

So, global inequality, I am afraid, is as inevitable as the early dominance of sedentary peoples over hunter gatherers. Can it be mitigated? Not by the likes of me and my profession. Pure humanitarian action rests on asymmetrical relations, while development schemes assume a persuasion to be like us.

In fact, from my experience of four decades overseas in the so-called developing world, the gap is ever increasing. Not because there is more native intelligence among the people of the G7 plus China, but rather because the cultures that grew from those concentrations of protein-rich grains and animals that would be domesticated are almost impossible to overtake by societies outside that evolutionary stream. Retired, their citizens may return home, heartbroken from their stay in such alien Western cultures, but their best and brightest still trek to the dominant incubators to bloom. The only way this race for pre-eminence is upset is for the dominant civilizations to self destruct — and only a fool would not allow for that possibility. Bursting at the seams, grown too big for its inherited britches.

So, global inequality, I am afraid, is as inevitable as the early dominance of sedentary peoples over hunter gatherers. Can it be mitigated? Not by the likes of me and my profession. Pure humanitarian action rests on asymmetrical relations, while development schemes assume a persuasion to be like us.

With time, if enough foreigners are so persuaded, they will come to prevail as the new pioneers in nanotechnology, astrophysics and genetic manipulations. They will not be pale faced Anglo-Saxons anymore than Barack Obama is, but they will almost certainly be swimming in something quite different from what they were brought up in — namely in those forces that trace a line from Anatolia through western Europe to North America, or from the Yellow River southward.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

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