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Friday, May 1, 2009

World inequality – stories that trigger our deep thoughts

Since it is the International Workers’ Day, I wish to raise the awareness of people on how the deprived laborers in the developing countries may affect the lives of all of us by referring you to some old news that you may not have read before.

A poor Somali fisherman’s venture story…

“I used to be a fisherman with a poor family that depended only on fishing.”

“Then illegal fishing and dumping of toxic wastes by foreign fishing vessels affected our livelihood, depleting the fish stocks.”

“Piracy is not just easy money - it has many risks and difficulties.”

“Sometimes when we are going to hijack a ship we face rough winds, and some of us get sick and some die.”

“...but all we do is venture.”

“The only way the piracy can stop is if [Somalia] gets an effective government that can defend our fish.”

Read the whole story on BBC’s It's a pirate's life for me

Melamine and the poor farmer’s story…

“Experts in the industry say the problems start at source - the cows.”

“Most farmers are poor and do not eat well - and neither do their cows. Average herds of just three to five cows are often kept in substandard, filthy conditions.”

“The farmers have no bargaining power when they sell the milk to middlemen, who are usually independent and unregulated.”

“The farmers get squeezed on price yet are under constant pressure to produce more milk.”

“First they dilute the raw milk with water to increase its volume, often up to about 30%.”

“That is when the melamine comes in. A nitrogen compound, it makes the milk appear to have more protein.”

“The regulatory and watchdog bodies of government have failed to keep up.”

Read the whole story on BBC’s Why China's milk industry went sour, and Newsweek’s More on Milk: Don't Forget Small-scale Farmers

Sometimes, if the privileged world had been more caring, generous, and responsive, or if the government had been more transparent, or if the UN had been more effective in carrying out its missions, some of the problems we encountered today could have been avoided.

More story on world inequality, read A Village’s Toxic Duty by Jonathan Adams.

And it is time the developed world thinks about some good solutions to the world’s nuclear and other waste disposal problems.  Sooner or later no matter how selfish a government (at any level, a nation or a local government) is, the world will run out of space to contain any kind of waste even if a government has money to lure the poor communities.

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