Monday, June 15, 2009

Of outcomes and interests

An event takes place. Obviously, people are affected. Some positively, and some others negatively. What happens thereafter is what is more interesting. Those negatively affected protest, perhaps violently, and offer conspiracy theories challenging the outcome, and sometimes, they go one step further and give reasons for their protests.

Take the Israeli elections that took place a few months back. The outcome was so scattered, with no skew whatsoever, that every party's leader claimed victory, till finally one candidate claimed his victory and held on to it through whatever means. And now, take Iran. People, who are supposed to have elected the leader, are on the streets protesting the result. They claim that opponents and some clerics were imprisoned prior to the polls. And the President rubbishes all claims of unrest, saying that the protests are trivial. People claim that the elections were not free and fair. But how on earth is anyone supposed to know? Remember how Queen Elizabeth became the Queen of England? By imprisoning the dissenting clergymen at the exact time of the elections? Take for instance the massive opposition against globalization that gripped Seattle some years ago. The underlying basis for the protests was that the people cared for the labor exploitation happening in India, China and other developing nations, under the guise of wanting to provide cheaper alternatives to Developed-World manufacturing. But one is tempted to ask whether the reasoning had more to do with protecting endogenous labor and jobs than with protecting the voiceless masses elsewhere in the world.

Take the Kyoto Protocol. The world is marching towards global warming that can hurt all of civilization. And it is now that countries need to take collective efforts to stem the damage. But then, some nations want developing countries to chip in in the effort, not minding the fact that these developing nations are deep on the left side of the growth curve, (relatively speaking), and there has been considerable cumulative damage done by developed countries in the past, as they had forged their development course. So, who pays for that damage? Back then, the so called steamrollers of development (India and China) were nobodies who could do nothing but look on as the world environment deteriorated. But now, that these countries have some cash on hand, isn't it wrong to force them to chip in towards paying for correcting the cumulative environmental damage done thus far? Taking an extreme analogy, I can perhaps quote reparations after World Wars - the debilitated nations were forced to further pay for damages caused by her intentions thanks to the World War. For the benefit of all the players and to prevent the situation from hitting a stale mate or a roadblock, a more equitable proposition is thus required.

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