Pasting the whole article again seems like a simple enough regurgitation so let me just talk about the finer points:
- Concepts like globalisation which were supposed to make the world a better place have themselves become disputable.
- As the superpowers struggle in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, smaller nations like Pakistan and Zimbabwe struggle to shrug off dictatorships and corrupt politicians which have made them vulnerable to every form of socio-economic attack on their sovereignty and identity.
- Stronger nations, in pursuit of their philosophy of ‘we can only become stronger if the others become weaker’ have forgotten how to become stronger themselves.
- The political cost: Politics in the West is limited to being either pro- or anti-war. Americans and the British are choosing their leaders on this basis alone. Politics in lesser countries like Pakistan is also decided on the basis of whether the leadership is supporting the war in Afghanistan.
- The economic cost: Recession is the inevitable result of bad politics and indifferent economic management. Stock prices are tumbling, the credit crunch is expanding and consumer spending is at its lowest. Companies have only one survival strategy i.e. tightening their belt. This of course means downsizing and cost-cutting which have worsened unemployment. Inflation is at an all-time high and food prices are unaffordable. Economies like Pakistan have gone into a freefall. Exports are down, the rupee is the most worthless currency possible raising the import bill to a level which cannot be paid thereby leading to further debts and deficits of all kinds.
- The social cost: The pressure to live, and live up to, is so huge in today’s society that the ability to live for real values and principles has given way to adherence to social norms which result in artificial lives with no substance or character.
- American society has gone into its worst period of racism and materialism; family units in the UK are almost an alien concept as the country has the highest number of teenage pregnancies where the mother being a child herself is incapable of rearing children. In Pakistan we have a society where extremism in both modernism and fascism has undermined its balance as a place with a reasonable ideology and identity. The youth of this country vacillate between two ends: some are partly copies of their western counterparts, the others of the Taliban, thus causing social confusion and emotional devastation.
- The attitude of each one of us should be that we should not have to wait for the world to change but initiate the change at our own level, no matter how small it is, because as they say “what lies behind us, and ahead of us, is insignificant compared to what lies within us".