ravi_g wrote:A key western proposition/demand is that life is about 'development' vs. everything else. Off course, Development is something only they can define since only they are developed. Thus anything that is not about 'Development' is against poverty and hence a color revolution is necessary (off course with dollops of suavity - I plead guilty of simplifying the complex art).
The word "develop" itself, is an English word like the words religion and history.
To "develop" means to go from a "lesser, worse state" to a "greater, better state". That is the definition.
When people coined the word "developed countries", they meant "greater, better" countries, and underdeveloped countries have to go from "lesser, worse state" to "greater, better state". For that they must emulate and follow the lead of the west.
Everything about development in the western way is not good or great. But once you grab the word and label it, like "religion of peace", everyone assumes that it is all good. Because the west is "developed" it is all good. The west is wealthy. That is good. the wealthier the better. Hence the foreskin-to-top of balls metrics like "trillion dollar economy" etc
How poor can a man get? Zero money sounds like rock bottom, but debt is worse. But zero money and debt are quantifiable metrics. How does one measure the upper limit wealth in money? What is the limit of financial wealth? There is none. It is an unquantifiable goal. One can always find a bigger number than the last big number.
And the old question: how much money does a human need? This is not a social or financial question. It is a philosophical one. Actually man can survive on zero money, and from the Hindu (and Jain and Buddhist viewpoints) zero money is an attainable goal en route to reaching goals that cannot be attained with money. It is only when wealth is a social or financial issue does zero money become a liability. With money being fungible - i.e convertible into any material goods
, those who possess the most money and/or material goods always control the flow of money - which is always towards them, because they can provide money or goods as necessary. But that money flow cannot work if there are people with no money, or a people who have values that put monetary/financial wealth on a lower plane than spiritual attainments without money.
In India spiritual attainment without money is translated as wealth, but that is of no use to a material goods driven market economy. Financially poor but happy people are a disaster for people who depend on market economies and set no upper limit on wealth. It becomes vitally important to define people as poor and wealthy and define them by their material possessions. Only that can drive a market economy.
But that does not mean that wealth was never valued in India. There have always been supremely wealthy, supremely greedy wealthy people in India. But anyone who reads about the dharmic duties of the wealthy - be they kshatriya or vysya - there is a demand for sacrifice and charity. There is a moral upper limit on wealth - some of which must always be simply given away. Brahmins of course were not supposed to be wealthy - they could accept wealth, but had to give it away and not cling on to it. Someone mentioned Bill Gates earlier in this thread. Bill Gates is a good example of a man who has set an upper limit for his own wealth. But thousands of people set far lower limits on their wealth before they start giving it away. It is the psychological model of having more, and more and more wealth as an ideal that is flawed.
Wealth for all, implemented as "no poverty" should never be an ideal, but it is pushed as a "universal idea". The universal idea should be charity and a limit on wealth. The western tendency is to define lack of money as poverty and by forcing the entire nation to join a market driven economy, the people without money who used to survive previously, suddenly find themselves needing money for basic life necessities - which they never needed before. That creates poverty.
This new "Created poverty" then justifies the money lending banks (world bank, IMF) to remove that poverty. Repayment of that lent money has to be done by the poor and others by giving their time and effort for very low pay and the money they earn goes back into the pockets of the people who created the poverty using the market economy model. The work that Indians and other third worlders do can never be valued higher, because if it is valued higher, the poor cannot pay and the economy won't run. And because the value of work is low, the Indian will always remain poorer than the richer nation. The Indian doctor will always earn 1/50th of the American doctor for the same consultation. It cannot change.
That is western universalism for you