There are 204 sovereign states. About 90 per cent of the global economy is constituted by the G20 group of nations comprising of about 4.5 billion people. The remaining 2.5 billion live in 184 non-G20 sovereign states. Of the bottom billion, about 40 per cent of the poorest of the world’s poor live in South Asia and the remaining 60 per cent in the non-G20 countries.
The G20 is well advanced in its political and economic organization to be able to manage the political stability of their societies and their economies to engage in geopolitics as autonomous sovereign entities. The 400 million or so South Asian poor, therefore, are relatively better off than the remaining 600 million counterparts who reside mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
At a time when the United Nations is seriously concerned about the explosion of global population by the century’s end and well known scientists such as Stephen Hawking of Cambridge University, who occupied Sir Isaac Newton’s Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge University, are deeply concerned about species extinction by 2100, beggar thy neighbor policies in the G20 as before World War I could become the norm.
Why care about the world’s poor when there are more mouths to feed than there is land and the treasures below it? Cross currents of angst confusing the people are stirring social sentiments around the world. On the one hand, human rights are taking center stage in global development frameworks which have been laboriously developed in academia such as Harvard and on the other there is an undercurrent of trepidation and lament about the billions who wish to make earth their home. World population is expected to be 15 billion by 2100, with only about 2 billion living in the G7 group of countries.
Looking closely, at issue is not a lack of resources. It is the utter absence of a worldview when suffused with a state of abundance. The current global model of geopolitical gerrymandering is not sustainable even if the world’s poor are not taken into account.
It is imperative for the G20, as it inexorably converges over the course of the first half of this century to provide ever better living standards for its peoples just as the G7 had in the past 70 years, to rethink its politics especially when an economic meltdown is staring it in the face.
Europe is in the midst of the worst debt crisis because of the fractures glossed over in the treaties governing its Union, China is in an expansionist mode to safeguard access to resources, and India is emulating United States and Europe, muddling along in a crisis avoidance, quasi-open market, quasi-socialist mode.
As economic borders are increasingly becoming resistant to closing their doors, political and cultural boundaries are nervous about remaining open. The well-off want to help with the money to avert calamities but are not interested in foreigners knocking on their doors.
United States, though plagued by its own woes, is the only country relatively better off. Europe must look inward to stabilize its Union and stay the course toward the fulfillment of its vision, and China and India must likewise remain on track to raising the living standards of its peoples.
American imperium may after all have a purpose than to tango with those who can care for themselves. The flood of American dollars belongs elsewhere, to create an American common market, if only as a private sector initiative, for about 2.5 billion people outside the G20.