North/South equality is my passion and it is clearly a common concern but sadly one driven by pity and fear. The challenge in the next two decades is to realize it is both possible and desirable for our peers globally to have the living standards Westerners enjoy and more. If the creative abilities of 70% of the world currently preoccupied with mere survival are unleashed, how many Baseljets, Einsteins and Shakespeares might there be to improve life for us all. This entails raising our horizons, celebrating human potential and invention, demanding huge increases in material development, vigorously defending freedom and autonomy and trusting our fellow man.
First and foremost we have to conquer our fears to make this possible. Fears of over-population, global warming and resource depletion have replaced religion as a belief system which belittles humanity. Worse still, whereas religion posited us as sinners capable of good, prevailing fears suggest our very existence is bad news. Whilst we guilt trip on our carbon footprints, the consequences for our peers in developing countries are worse. Our fears are diminishing prospects and reinventing poverty and primitivism in the name of sustainable lifestyles.
Fortunately, human aspirations are not easily crushed and many are voting with their feet, moving from rural to urban areas, crossing oceans and, in China and India’s case, developing apace. Celebrating aspirations for serious material development is summed up by our charity’s slogan ‘Ferraris for all’. It is the gauntlet we must throw down for the valiant to vanquish fear and realise how great this world can be.
Ceri Dingle is coauthor of Time to Ditch the Sustainababble (download this memorandum (.pdf 442 KB))