Are We Cruel, Stupid or Just Shameless?

Published on strategic foresight.com, by Sundeep Waslekar, Oktober 2008.

The bright graduates of business schools have proved me wrong. Writing in Part 18 of this series in August 2007, I had warned of a worldwide economic collapse by 2010. The MBAs have ensured it already in October 2008 …

… While we have public funds for fighting wars and bailing out badly run financial enterprises, we don’t have resources for bigger problems …

… The problems are not only of the elite of the developed world. The elite in emerging economies are not fundamentally different. In India about 1 million people (according to NGO estimates and one third of this number according to government estimates) are manual scavengers. They spend their daily life cleaning, removing and carrying on their heads human faeces from dry latrines. Asia’s rising economic power is flushed with dollars and pounds to buy overseas companies but lacks pennies to provide toilets with water to every citizen.


India’s manual scavengers earn a princely sum of three or four dollars per month. They are richer than many people in Rwanda and Somalia. Africa’s 1 billion people can start a new life if their debt of $300 billion is written off and accounts of their rulers in Western banks are unearthed. The world has neither funds to rid Africa of its debt nor guts to reveal banking secrets of corrupt rulers. We need all the funds that we can get to save the bank managers who manage these corrupt accounts.

This is not to say that the global financial system should not be rescued. We certainly need to save it. However, at the same time we should remind ourselves of bigger problems that we tend to ignore. We desperately need a new architecture of global governance with new priorities, methods and rules that are capable of dealing with the complexity of 21st century instead of a system that merely confirms the outcome of a war fought more than six decades ago. (full text).

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