Global Express
An interactive quarterly for those who care about the future

Asia Focus: Third World Slaves to West


[cover image]

Third World Slaves to West

I think we're all guilty. Guilty of not standing up to governments that enforce slavery in Third World countries to obtain a more decadent standard living for themselves.

Every time we buy inexpensive coffee from supermarkets, some poor labourers in Asia, Africa or South America have been paid about 20c an hour for their work because they owe money 'given' to them as aid from Western countries. Each time we buy these goods, the money comes straight back to a First World country in the form of repayments on the interest of huge loans that can never be paid off. In 1985, the year Live Aid raised millions of dollars for starving people in Africa, the poorest African countries gave twice as much money to Western countries as they received. Almost half the Filipino national budget is devoted to paying off foreign debt.

The gap between rich and poor has never been greater. 40,000 people are dying of starvation every day and there's little the people who care can do because our countries don't seem to want an equal distribution of wealth. As 'wealth equals power equals wealth', there are too few people who will sacrifice this for the satisfaction of seeing starving mouths fed. As long as the poor are kept poor, they will work for next to nothing just so we can save an extra dollar or two.

Although it seems we can't do much, we can do some things. We can buy products from companies like Community Aid Abroad where the money goes back into schemes in Third World countries to help the people help themselves. We can educate people by writing to magazines. We can write to politicians and let them know we are not happy with the way we are treating our Third World brothers and sisters. And we can actively try to change our own lives: use resources sparingly, live simply and spend money on schemes run by genuine organisations aimed to help people worse off than ourselves.

People power is the only way we are ever going to change the injustices of the world. Let's change the attitude so many of us have - 'rape the Earth and its inhabitants and damn the consequences as long as number one's alright'.

Dan Davies, Australia

Last update: 2000-02-12 17:20:13 (EEST).
Copyright © 1996-2003 by Global Express. All rights reserved.
Contact us at