Of Graphs and Gaps and New Global Maps

Dramatic and Dreadful? You Bet It Is!

So, my most recent post on the IMF terrorist plot in India and about my family in serious and real threat of being killed was a “huge success.”

Literally, thousands of people from all over the world — for the first time ever — graced it by their precious presence. I want to say a special “thank you” to all wherever you are.

Success? That is, if I want to call such a depressing note about economic terror a success. Given my blog is purely, absolutely not for profit, and I don’t even know how to circulate it the best possible way — other than sharing it on my Facebook and Twitter — it was absolutely mind-boggling that I had readers practically from all over the world: from Norway to Nigeria to New Zealand, from Argentina to Australia to Austria to Athens, and from Dhaka to Dakar to Dar-Es-Salam to Estonia, España, El Salvador.

And then, a remarkably high number of readers read my IMF blog from America, India and Italy. Yes, Italy! Maybe, my grim warning shook up some conscientious, Renaissance Italians who are scared about the IMF takeover of their wonderful, ahead-of-the-curve country. (Even Berlusconi couldn’t dumb them down.)

That was incredible. That was majorly reassuring.

So, I thought, maybe this is about time I took a little departure and detour from my personal, emotional literary-spiritual journey, and wrote about my new insight and teaching experience as a labor educator — teaching my seasoned union worker students — and put out some hard facts that I learned over the years. I thought, given this is a very important election year here in the U.S. — an election that in all likelihood will change the lives and fates of some 300 million American workers and their families, and by default change the fate of the entire world and its six billion inhabitants of which at least five billion are poor people — I thought, maybe, I should make a serious attempt to put out some knowledge that mainstream media would never put out for the ordinary people, and then maybe, I make a real-life connection between those simple facts of life and a simple life’s facts.

I thought, that connection between the facts of life and life’s facts would be simple for us to easily understand. And then, hopefully, we shall see the connection between our lives — lives of us the ordinary, working people — all across the world.

Maybe, I thought, it could even give rise to a new, global solidarity. Not by being depressed together, but by being empowered together with gaining and analyzing this new or less-discussed knowledge — in a simple way.

Of Graphs and Gaps and the New Global Maps? Yes, that’s the idea. Let’s talk about some simple graphs. Then we’ll talk about some simple-to-understand gaps. Finally, we shall make a serious effort to appreciate the newly evolving global maps: political, social, geographical and of course, economic maps. Yes, maps are sure evolving fast — in front of our eyes.

Do the numbers and figures and charts and graphs and percentages and statistics and colors and lines have anything to do with me and you and my family and your family?

Like, do they make any sense in our day-to-day lives?

Let’s talk about two graphs I recently came across. Both are from the 2010 book The Spirit Level by Wilkinson and Pickett. The British social scientists did a long-term, comprehensive global study on poverty, inequality and social problems. The two graphs below are worth discussing here.

Graph 1.

The Higher the Inequality the Bigger the Social Problems. Simple.

The graph  shows that among the so-called developed countries such as USA, U.K., Australia, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden and Japan, USA has the highest income inequality (i.e., rich-poor divide), and that inequality is directly correlated to a maximum amount of social problems. Mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, obesity, infant mortality, murders, imprisonment — these are some of the social problems the two researchers used.

Trust…mental illness…obesity…and math…and social mobility…together? These are interrelated? We normally don’t think about them to have any connection, right? Like, if you talk to somebody on the street and tell them that these are all tied together, chances are, they’ll call you either stupid or crazy…or…in U.S., a communist perhaps. Or, they’ll at least smirk and let you go.

But believe me, they are wrong and you are right. These are totally connected to each other. And they are connected by way of directly related — scientifically and statistically — with ONE single factor: income inequality.

Contrary to what most people believe, thanks to global corporate media’s lies and half-truths, USA tops the list followed by Portugal and U.K. These are countries where the rich-poor divide is the maximum. On the other end of the graph we have countries such as Japan, Norway, Sweden and Belgium followed by countries such as the Netherlands, Spain, France and Germany where the inequality and correlated social problems are somewhat low although they are higher than in Japan or Sweden.

What does it all mean? If the situation is so dismal here in the U.S. (by the way, a study report release only this week showed even in the U.S., New York has the highest income inequality), then why (1) we do not hear about it either in American media or their clone media in India or Bangladesh; and (2) why do we follow the U.S. as the leading economic model when the truth is that the country is ravaged and riddled with extremely high social and health problems?

Plus, on the education front, American students lag far behind in math, language, geography and science than all other developed nations. Here’s a new report on that.

Why wouldn’t we find that report or any discussions thereof — in the glossy magazines that my father and I used to read at a rich relative’s house back in Calcutta when I was little (I remember Span and Life), or the glitzy, laugh-all, mindless American shows that my nephews and nieces and teenage children of my friends watch on their home TV, now, in June 2012?

What does the story say about the real truth of American-brand capitalism? At least, back in my childhood in the sixties, American capitalism was doing okay, thanks to the legacy of FDR and his New Deal economic policies that put enough food on the worker’s table and also gave them enough money to buy a decent house, afford good health and low-cost education.

Do the rabid admirers of Wall Street’s bankrupt economics in India and countries such as India know what the real story is — the sky-high divide and the abysmal, horrible social problems? Do people know that poor Americans must drive a car and pay the high cost of gasoline and insurance, not because it’s a luxury, but because otherwise, they can’t get to work because there is no public transportation here in America? Do they know that McDonald’s or KFC is directly related to poverty, obesity and illiteracy? Do Indian urban parents know that the country has now the second-highest number of young, obese people?

When do we cut through the propaganda clutters?

By the way, Wilkinson and Pickett did not compare apples and oranges: all the countries in the above graph are capitalism countries. Of course, here in the U.S., public perception is that any economy that even remotely talks about equality and minimal rich-poor divide must be a communist country, or at least, as “socialist” as Sweden, Belgium, France or Germany (yes, France now has a socialist government; but it’s definitely not Cuba). Mis-education and brainwashing have reached a new low. But that’s another story we’ll tell later.

Dark, Dank and Desperate. But Very Profitable!

Also by the way, did you know that U.S. has at least one million poor blacks and other minorities in jail — a large majority of them without trial because they could not afford it? And that is a direct consequence of the extreme disparity and poverty in the American society — one that created maximum hopelessness, drug use and crimes. Nowhere in the civilized world so many young people are rotting in jails with little hope for rehabilitation.

Did you know the prison industry is a privatized, corporate industry in the U.S., with its stocks sold HOT!! on the stock market? It’s all about profit and maximizing profit — by keeping as many people in jail as possible, as long as possible.

Don’t believe me? Check it out (click on the link).

Sincerely Writing,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

2 thoughts on “Of Graphs and Gaps and New Global Maps

  1. Congrats on huge success. Normally however in gloomy conditions people enjoy reading depressive notes. But rest assure: there is no wayan IMF Economic Terror attack will kill Indian households, though there is a possibility that India may continue with Greek habit of living on other nations’ loans and terrorise those nations by defaulting on servicing her foreign loans, besides terrorising the IMF.

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