Vasco Pyjama has been on fire since coming back to Australia. Here she outlines the basis of the divide between the developing world and the west:
Two years ago, I travelled through Mindanao, the war-torn southernmost island of the Philippines. Villages there were populated with modest wooden huts made with coco lumber and leaf roofing. Then all of a sudden, appeared a walled compound. Within the brick walls, were several buildings, each three stories high. The buildings were brand spanking new, and constructed with brick with ceramic tile roofing. Armed men surrounded the premises.
“Who lives there?”, I asked. Some governor or someone in some elected position of power, it seemed. Though the person was elected, it seemed that he got there through terrorising his electorate. Votes were counted by each village. Villages that didn’t vote for him were burnt to the ground. Needless to say, on paper at least, he was an exceedingly popular governor.
To me, this neo-colonialism amounts in many cases to slavery. If sweatshop workers in Bangladesh are in such desperate straights that they must accept unsafe work for 10 cents per hour, so that we in the west can have clothes so cheap they’re hardly worth cleaning, then we have become slave owners. Globalization has been perverted (or was always intended) to allow multinationals to exploit the labour and resources of the developing world, and we sit back and reap the benefits… For a little while, at least – the great monster capitalism eats its hard-hearted children too, as we have begun to see.