Imagine a different world
For a long time, through colonisation, exploitation and wars, human actions were only based on self-gain. Today it is clear that this way of thinking misled us and left behind an irreversible damage. Many people suffered and died on behalf of others, we acted regardless of the environmental consequences and called ourselves “developed”. Until that moment where the rich western world could no longer hide from reality. Our capitalist approaches were no longer sustainable and the world had to face a radical change.
In 2036, the inequality reached an extreme and the environmental impact of our actions became a disaster. After the economic crisis of 2007, the trust in our economic and social system never fully recovered. Revolutionary movements against the western attitudes arose and political anti-capitalist parties became more and more popular.
The real change though came from the suppressed and exploited countries. Their unheard voices found strength in the social networks and spread through the world. As Zambia did in 2002 (BBC News, 2002), more and more countries rejected aid in order to stay independent. Slowly, many African, Asian and South American countries cut their trade connections with the outside world. This had a huge impact on the global economy, considering that the continents shares in merchandise exports are relatively high (Ruta M., Venables A.J., 2012). The main producing countries in Asia (e.g. China and Japan) didn’t join the movement and had to face strong rioting inside their countries.
Surprisingly the isolated countries developed self-sustainable systems and poverty started to diminish. Threatened by the power shift to emerging countries and by civil disturbances in the west, Europe and North America were forced to agree to new policies, based on more equitable rights.
Recently, new laws against exploitation were set up, collaboration between producing countries are encouraged and we are working towards a system where profits are not one-sided anymore. Suggestions arose to restrict the export of mass-produced goods, which will give local farmers a chance to sell their own products. The quality of life in Africa’s rural areas would increase and stop the endless flow of migration into cities.
Historians now claim that the clash in the year 2036 was inevitable. Countries throughout the last few centuries that had their independence taken from them regained it and therefore revolutionary movements as such have been anticipated. Yet the support in the first world was unexpected, never before had there been such a massive collaboration of people, regardless of their background and social class.
Not only has the economic approach changed, but also the idea of development itself. The Millennium Goals of 2015 are still a scale for development achievements, though only a few have been accomplished (e.g. combat against HIV/AIDS through new medical inventions). For others, such as diminishing extreme poverty, new approaches have been put forward, no more financial imposing, rather alternative investments (e.g. research and knowhow) to boost development. The West has to accept that they have to work together to create a sustainable system. Technological improvements and severe pollution laws readjust our ecological footprint, which makes optimists dream of a new tomorrow.
The current situation is often compared to a post-war period, only that this time we lost a war against ourselves. A lot has changed from 2036 to the current year of 2044. The new policies and restrictions are supposed to distribute wealth more equally, but people are still adapting themselves. Rethinking our economic system means for many restructuring their whole life, this fundamental change needs time. It’s only now, that those who thought they achieved development realise that it is nothing you can accomplish, that development is a notion of time and not a standard of life.
Unknown Author (2002) Zambia refuses GM ‘poison’, BBC News [Online] Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/2233839.stm
Ruta Michaele & Venables Anthony J. (2012) International Trade in Natural Resources: practice and policy, World Trade Organization – Economic Research and Statistic Division [Online] Available from: https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/reser_e/ersd201207_e.pdf