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Adnane Ben.
Boston USA
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Global Inequality From Al Qa3ida Perspective
12:00:00 AM Friday May 23, 2003


The messages of Osama Bin Ladin, the believed leader of Al Qaida, all revolved around exploitation of Muslims by the rich nations, and their immediate governments. He encourages Muslims to stand up.

His messages led me to understand that he is challenging Global Inequality, somehow, after he has failed to challenge Social Inequality in Saudi Arabia, and his close aid Al-Zawahri also failed in Egypt (rise of the Muslim brothers - Ikhwan Muslimin). The means of their fight, as many believe, unfortunately are against the interests of Muslims who do not share the mindset of the extreme struggle. So how is he drawing the line ? Is he missing the point ? is he getting the point ? How close is he getting to his goal ? How far is he eluding his goal ? Is he accomplishing anything at all ? Are Muslims being led to more misery ? or to an new awakening that can end up in prosperity ?

I came across a good reading about Global Inequality recently and I am pasting an extract of it, by John J. Macionis in his book Society - The Basics. If you have time I encourage you to read it. It is optional. You can skip it if you want. We may never live to see social equality, under an Islamic government, a secular government or a combination of both, let alone global equality. Is Bin Ladin's struggle worth it ?

The following is by John J. Macionis: Society, The Basics. 1994 Edition, Pages 200-202

"People in the United States, sociologists included, are discovering many ways in which our lives are caught up in global trends. We read, for instance, that US corporations are investing abroad while business interests from abroad are buying up more and more of this country. The increasingly global economy is polarizing our society as its boosts the fortunes of the rich while cutting factory jobs and putting downward pressure on wages.

Social inequality is far more striking in global context. The concentration of wealth among First-World countries, in contrast to the grinding poverty in the Third World, may well end up being the most pressing dilemma facing humanity in the twenty-first century. But the role of the global economy in this problem remains a hotly contested issue. To some analysts, rich nations can draw poor countries toward prosperity; to others, rich nations have locked the Third World into an endless cycle of misery.

Faces with these two divergent approaches to understanding global equality, we might well wonder which is correct. But the truth is that each view has some merit as well as inherent limitations. The following table summarizes key arguments made by each approach.

Modernization Theory and Dependency Theory: A Summary


Modernization Theory Dependency Theory

Historical Pattern The entire world was poor just two centuries ago; the Industrial Revolution brought affluence to the First World; as industrialization gradually transforms the Third World, all societies are likely to become more equal and alike. Global parity was disrupted by colonialism, which developed the First World and simultaneously underdeveloped the Third World; barring change in the world capitalist system, rich nations will grow richer and poor nations will become poorer.

Primary causes of global poverty Characteristics of Third World societies cause poverty, including lack of industrial technology, traditional cultural patterns that discourage innovation, and rapid population growth. Global economic elations - historical colonialism and the operation of multinational corporations - have enriched the First World while placing the Third World in a state of economic dependency.

Role of rich nations First-World countries can and do assist Third-World nations through programs of population control, technology transfers that increase food production and stimulate industrial development, and by providing investment capital in the form of foreign aid. Firs-World countries have concentrated global resources to their own advantage while producing massive foreign debt in the Third World; rich nations represent a barrier to economic development in the Third World.



In sorting out the truth, we must also consider empirical evidence. In some regions of the world, especially the Pacific Rim of eastern Asia, the market forces endorsed by modernization theory are raising living standards rapidly and substantially. At the same time, other societies of the Third World, especially central Africa and parts of Latin America, are experiencing economic turmoil that frustrates hopes for market-based development.

The Third-World societies that have surged ahead economically have two factors in common. First, they are relatively small. Combined, the Asian societies of South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan equal only about one-fifth of the land area and population of India. The economic problems smaller countries face are more manageable; consequently, small societies more effectively administer programs of development. Second, these "best case" societies have cultural traits in common, especially an emphasis on individual achievement and economic success. In other areas of the world, where traditions inhibit individual achievement, even smaller nations have failed to turn development opportunities to their advantage.

The major "paths to development" advanced by modernization and dependency theories are both currently undergoing significant transformation. On the one hand, few societies seeking economic growth now favor a market economy completely free of government regulations. This view challenges modernization theory, which has favored a free-market approach over government-directed initiatives. Also, as recent upheavals in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe demonstrate, a global reevaluation of socialism is currently under way. These events, following decades of poor economic performance and political repression, make many Third-World societies wary of this path to development. Because dependency theory has historically supported socialist economic systems, changes in world socialism will surely generate new thinking here as well.

In the short term, no plan for development is likely to effectively reduce the pressing problems of world hunger and rapid population growth. Looking at the next century, however, there are reasons for hope. [There are two approaches that] identify the two keys to lessening global inequality. One insight, revealed by modernization theory, is that world hunger is at least partly a problem of production and technology. There can be little doubt that a higher standard of living for a swelling world population will require greater agricultural and industrial productivity. he second insight, derived from dependency theory, is that global inequality is also a problem of distribution and politics. Even with higher productivity, in other words, the plight of the world's poor will be unchanged unless decisions are made to distribute this bounty more equitably.

As debate over global inequality continues, people are coming to recognize that the security of everyone in the world depends on reducing the destabilizing extremes of global poverty. We can only hope that, as the Cold War between the superpowers winds down, energy and resources will redirected to the needs of the vast majority of humanity trapped in a desperate struggle for survival."

John J. Macionis: Society, The Basics. 1994 Edition, Pages 200-202

The content of this page —graphics, text and other elements—is © Copyright 2007 prospective author, and Raioo, Inc., only when stated otherwise, and may not be reprinted or retransmitted in whole or in part without the expressed written consent of the publisher.



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Adnane Ben.'s notes (341)
 
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