The world economy is becoming much more commercialized. An enormous amount of people have been lifted out of poverty and are experiencing a higher standard of living. They have access to more consumer goods that allow for a more comfortable existence. Whether one is for or against globalization, it can be said that a more intertwined global economy has brought about a lifting up of a tremendous amount of individuals into a more modern lifestyle.
Unfortunately, globalization and the rapid rise of the economic climate of emerging markets have also greatly increased inequality of wealth. One may ask how this is possible. An example includes the farmer’s daughter or son in China, that come from the countryside to an industrial city to work on a line assembling electronics. They are uplifted from extreme poverty and able to send money home. Most probably, they are “tasting the bitterness” living in a cramped dormitory on the factory grounds and working insanely long hours. On the other hand, the ever increasing newly prosperous members of the country manage their investments, buy and sell homes like a monopoly game, ride around the city in luxurious automobiles and absolutely enjoy conspicuous consumption. In the minds of the nouveau riche what good is having all their money if they cannot show it off?
As recently as the 90’s, developing countries consisted of mostly the very small percentage of the have’s and an extremely large percentage of have not’s. The privileged did not generally intermingle with the much less privileged let alone flaunt their wealth. Keeping a low profile was the name of the game. Generation after generation of family patriarchs instilled into the minds of those who inherited the money from the past generation that staying under the radar screen and keeping displays of wealth close to the vest was the best method of keeping control and not ruin a great thing.
As emerging economies began to substantially grow at a lightning speed, a portion of people because of connections, education, or entrepreneurial skills, have pulled exponentially ahead of the masses. This new rich mingle more with the everyday people on the street and because their numbers are far greater than the previous select few, their wealth stands out much more.
A couple of decades ago in Brazil, the majority of people living in the country were basically in the same boat just trying to survive financially and along the way enjoy carnival and football, while a very small amount of the people in the country were very well off. Even though a large upper middle class has risen in the country the last decade or so, the rest of the population is just getting by. This creates an environment for increased crime. The have not’s are being left rapidly in the dust financially and as bad as the crime has been in Brazil for the past several decades, the larger amount of upper middle class individuals displaying their affluent lifestyle will lead to greatly increased violent crime in the country.
The have not’s must also be given the opportunity to be included more in the form of better access to education and employment opportunities, or the country will progressively evolve into the upper middle class and the wealthy hiding in their compounds behind gigantic block walls with topped off cut glass. The haves will also be more afraid of being preyed upon by the ever increasing violent members of the population; while moving about the cities, not just in the favela’s or slums, but also in high end areas such as Ipanema and Leblon in Rio de Janerio.
Yes, the factory worker in countries around the globe has risen up the economic ladder, but not nearly as much as the professional, politically connected or entrepreneurs have. This inequality will have economic, political and social consequences that will need to be addressed. Globalization is here to stay and more vibrant trade will continue between countries of the world. Elevating people out of poverty is the first step. Working towards creating a more level playing field for all members of a society is the next step. Understandably, an utopia Shangri La situation is not realistic. Emerging countries need to make a concerted effort to not just lift it members out of poverty, but build a strong middle class that has equal opportunity to continue to move up the financial ladder.
Copyright© Edge of Humanity LLC 2014