The Next Stage In World History
The interest of the developed countries is directly opposed to the interest of the underdeveloped ones. The former will oppose vehemently the efforts of the latter to join the ranks of the developed countries, and their method to do that initially will be divide and rule, writes Justice Markandey Katju.
Before the Industrial Revolution in Europe in the 18th century, the situation in the world was that there were agricultural societies everywhere using primitive methods of production e.g. bullocks, buffaloes and horses for tilling the land.
Consequently very little wealth could be generated, and hence only a handful of people (kings, aristocrats, etc) could be rich, and the rest had to be poor. When the cake is small, very few people could eat it.
This situation has radically changed after the Industrial Revolution, which began in England in the early 18th century, and then spread all over the world. Now modern industry is so powerful and big that enough wealth can be generated to give everyone a decent life, with a proper job, adequate income, healthcare, proper nutrition, good education etc. So now no one in the world needs to be poor.
But the fact is that despite this unique situation which has been created in world history, the majority of people in the world are poor and suffering from all kinds of socio economic ills.
Today our world is really two worlds: the world of the developed, highly industrialized prosperous countries (North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and China), and the world of the poor, underdeveloped countries (countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, including India).
Since as stated above, today no one need be poor after the Industrial Revolution and the coming of modern industry, the next stage of human history will be the transformation and uplift of the underdeveloped countries into the ranks of the developed, highly industrialized countries, because without doing so the people of the underdeveloped countries will remain condemned to massive poverty and a host of other socio-economic problems.
Before the Industrial Revolution, most people had to be poor whether they liked it or not because the primitive methods of production could generate little wealth. But thereafter, as stated above, the situation has drastically changed. So the 75% or more poor people in the world are saying that since now we don’t need to be poor, in view of the drastically changed position after the Industrial Revolution. Why are we being kept poor?
The truth is that the developed countries don’t want the underdeveloped countries to become developed countries, and will oppose this transformation tooth and nail, for the reason I have explained in my article ‘Was Jinnah right?’ published in indicanews.com.
As explained therein, with the cheap labor available to them, the underdeveloped countries are at a distinct advantage (since their cost of production will be less, and so they will be able to undersell the industries of the developed countries).
Consequently, the developed countries are apprehensive that their own industries will close down if the underdeveloped countries become highly industrialized ones, as they will not be able to face the competition with them.
As long as the underdeveloped countries do not have a massive industrial base, they are no danger to the developed countries, but once they have it they pose a huge danger, e.g. the Chinese who built a huge industrial base after their revolution in 1949.
Today Western supermarkets are packed with Chinese goods, and these often sell at half the price at which Western manufacturers can sell (because Western labour is expensive). Consequently, many Western industries had to close down as they could not face the Chinese competition.
It is therefore natural that the developed countries will oppose tooth and nail the attempt of underdeveloped countries to become developed countries.
Thus, the interest of the developed countries is directly opposed to the interest of the underdeveloped ones. The former will oppose vehemently the efforts of the latter to join the ranks of the developed countries, and their method to do that initially will be divide and rule e.g. in India to instigate people to fight each other on the basis of caste, religion, language, race or region. For this they will use their local agents e.g. the RSS and BJP in India.
The 21st century will therefore witness massive conflicts between the developed and underdeveloped countries, in various forms. However, despite all efforts of the developed countries the ultimate inevitable tide of world history cannot be stopped, and underdeveloped countries will one day certainly become developed ones, though that will entail massive struggles and sacrifices by their peoples.
Markandey Katju is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. He was also the Chairman of the Press Council of India.