The first world or the west imitates a bubble of post-colonial theories or an unrealistic mind game. The way I see it, a capitalist economy with human rights intact, liberalization of policy, a lesser influence of government, and individualism are some of the most prominent features for a country to become a part of the first world, e.g., the United States and European countries. China has been thriving as a nation, but due to prevailing communism and a rather controversial case of human rights violations, it is not a part of the first world. Eurocentrism and capitalism are the most pertinent tools of the western craft in terms of economy, development policies, and even lifestyle in general.
The third world, on the other hand, deals with terrible economic conditions, illiteracy, exhausted resources, and a lack of pathways to make use of available resources to the best of their capabilities due to a lack of sensitivity towards their origin in times of need. As a result, the West gained control. From the very beginning, the concept of development and prosperity has been conveniently utilized for profit maximization and personal gain solely by the western world.
Arturo Escobar mentions in Encountering Development:
The Making and Unmaking of the Third World how overpopulation, poverty, and a lack of technology were some of the most obvious concerns for development in 1945. Racial backgrounds, minorities, religious sectarianism, and deteriorating ethnicity need special attention, or the results might be worse political unrest than what already exists. Eventually all the information, facts, and opinions develop the notion that the Western hegemons are not innocent and do not have any interest in the betterment or progress of the developing or underdeveloped world but are the only ones to blame after resolving the internal mistakes of the non-west. Not being considered capable enough by the west led to an inferiority complex within the non-west and established the mindset of achieving exactly what they (the west) have without consideration of what is actually required to prosper.
Capitalism has proven to be a profound trap, with less effort resulting in a slow or gradual death and more effort resulting in an immediate collapse.
Eurocentrism has also played a pivotal role in shaping the global dynamics of the Third World. It refers to Europeans’ proclivity to interpret the histories and cultures of non-European societies from a lower level, influenced by only a small portion of their beliefs or rituals. Common features of Eurocentric portrayals of Asians and Africans, or the Third World, include ignoring or undervaluing their culture and society. The most outstanding example was the age of imperialism and colonialism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Some examples of cultural practices that facilitate this mindset include “Sati,” or burning the widow of a dead man with his body in India, etc. However, this is one dimension of the non-west that the rest of the west chooses to highlight to justify its coercion. Some identified western tactics include capitalism and the neoliberal economic order.
Capitalism has proven to be a profound trap, with less effort resulting in a slow or gradual death and more effort resulting in an immediate collapse. The modern banking system is the backbone of capitalism; the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, the Asian Development Bank, etc. are examples. The Third World turns to them for financial aid, and they pretend to help in terms of loans, but the part where they start running the poor countries through their capitalist policies seems to be ignored.
Back in the day, foreign reserves were measured in gold, but since the 1970s, another awful method of looting the Third World was enforced by Richard Nixon (the 37th US president), who introduced petrodollars. This meant that all international trade payments, including those for oil, would be made in US dollars. The demise of the Soviet Union, which had existed for more than 60 years, was also precipitated by restructuring and openness-based policies that reflected hints of capitalism.
The concept of development and prosperity has been conveniently utilized for profit maximization and personal gain solely by the western world.
Multinational corporations (MNCs) are the west’s dark horse. They seem to provide jobs and “exposure” to the host country. The truth is actually the opposite; they exhaust the resources of the host country since they operate there, and most of the profit is sent back for development in their country of origin. It is actually a dilemma; they are practically settled in the Third World. The economies of non-western countries like Pakistan are so deeply dependent on the MNCs that if one of them stops operating, their whole economy might collapse. One example of the potential harm would be the termination of Google services by Huawei (a Chinese company) during the tenure of former US President Donald Trump. The flourishing economy of China lost almost 17 billion dollars within the span of 7 days. International trade, through multinationals and otherwise, has been a consistent tactic of the west for centuries. In the pre-colonial era, the arrival of the East India Company in the subcontinent for the trade of spices literally colonized the subcontinent.
In my opinion, it is about time the Third World woke up. We need to question ourselves about what we own in our own economies. To make some more sense of the context, populist leaders like Hitler, who had a cult following, won over their followers against all odds. The followers do not have a political stance; they are just brainwashed to believe what the leader says. In a similar manner, the non-West has been hypnotized by the West.
George Orwell, a novelist well known for his novel Animal Farm, sketched a scenario of practical brain surgeries to insert chips as a metaphor to explain the rigidity of communism in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In between the judgments of communism, capitalism, etc., the Third World lost its culture, identity, and uniqueness.
These realizations are definitely the first step towards change. Given that this issue has never been raised before, let alone that a solution has been proposed, the ultimate “goal” of western living standards and development should be halted in favor of more relatable development and other policies. As far as a way forward is concerned, I believe that third-world countries like Pakistan, known for being agrarian, should begin with the fulfillment of domestic agricultural needs, which can be facilitated by the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The next step could be tourism avenues through the God-gifted landscapes, and so on.
The views, information, and opinions expressed by the author (blogger) do not necessarily reflect those of Aware Pakistan and its team. The primary purpose of the blogs and articles is to empower civic voices and offer independent bloggers and aspiring writers a professional platform on which to speak in their entirety and publish their words without any restrictions.