There’s a circle centred around a geographical point in Asia where 51% of the world’s people live. That’s 3.6 billion who live in an area only slightly larger than the United States (once you factor-in the land that humans can actually live on)
‘The Circle’ has perhaps the widest disparity levels in the world; While some of the people living within that circle have fabulous wealth, others live their entire lives at landfill sites sifting through the flotsam and jetsam in a desperate attempt to find items of value to sell on the street.
Of course, there are disparities all over the Earth but nowhere else are there 3.6 billion people living in relative proximity to each other, some of whom may drive a different Lamborghini each day of the week and fly their personal jets at the weekend to the many exotic resorts in that part of the world, while others live in squalid tents with no water supply nor electricity their entire lives.
If ever there was a region of the Earth where investors might find the most highly motivated workers and many natural resources available to create huge returns on investment, this has got to be it!
In the West, where I live, we are beset by ‘First World Problems’ — it’s a family emergency when little Jimmy doesn’t get EXACTLY the tablet computer he desired for Christmas, or when the pizza delivery driver is 20 minutes late with our pizza. Even more serious is getting stuck in a traffic jam when we’re on our way home from work.
Very. Serious. Problems.
In The Circle, a ‘serious problem’ is when a venomous cobra has killed five people in your tent-city neighbourhood overnight, or when the water supply that is required to sustain human life is suddenly cut off by the authorities or by farmers who divert much of the water for their own use farther upstream, or when the river disappears due to drought.
In some areas of The Circle, once a criminal gang begins operating in your region, your life begins to change on that very day and whatever they decide to do with you, that will be your fate for the rest of your life…
Like the lions of Africa, life is ‘day-to-day’ for alarmingly large numbers of humans caught inside this sometimes cruel circle. At any given moment, a lion in Africa may get killed by hunters/poachers, by competing lions, by a pack of hyenas, or by a stealthy underwater crocodile at the old watering-hole, or any number of other reasons. Shockingly few lions make it to middle age.
And so it is with people who live within most of The Circle. Life is cheap there. You live ‘day-to-day’. If you can’t find a way to make yourself useful or even better, indispensable to someone wealthy — you’re gone.
As I’ve said, it’s a region with highly motivated people and under-developed resources.
If the 20th-Century was ‘all about The Baby Boomers’ and ‘enabling’ their generation to add huge wealth to the Western nation economies by virtue of their buying power (called ‘Disposable Income’ by economists) — we in the 21st-Century might do as well by empowering the people in The Circle to become all that they can and should be…
And in so doing, we’ll lift billions of people out of poverty, creating trillions of dollars of new wealth for corporations and dramatically increasing revenue to government coffers, and provide opportunities for ‘Circler’s’ to earn life-changing disposable income.
Instead of the one success story that we hear endlessly trumpeted on headlines everywhere; Apple Computer now worth $1 Trillion Dollars (by virtue of Apple’s decision to choose low-cost manufacturing in China and sales to EVERYWHERE on Earth) we could have dozens or hundreds of similar success stories (and not only in regards to personal electronics, but in many segments of the economy)
The people who live within The Circle are highly motivated to do their part.
All it will take to add trillions of dollars of wealth to the global economy is the empowerment of an already motivated people via the implementation of a more detailed version of this vision, along with courageous political leadership to see it through to its best destiny — a destiny that works for everyone on the planet.
(Or, we could allow mediocrity to rule the day allowing the region to deteriorate, becoming the largest breeding ground for terrorism that the world has ever seen with enough terrorist numbers to seriously impact life on planet Earth — as compared to the relatively minor bits of terrorism we’ve seen emanating from other impoverished regions, thus far)
The West became incredibly rich by empowering The Baby Boomers in the 1945-2000 timeframe and the ‘Boomers’ responded by creating unprecedented wealth and a better standard of life for billions of people.
It’s high time for us to empower The Circle so that they can add their wealth-creation and better-standard-of-life contribution to our shared civilization.
The best time to do that was 20-years ago. The second-best time is now.
John Brian Shannon serves on the Editorial Board at kleef&co. John has contributed to the United Nations Development Program and to corporate blogs. Presently writing about Brexit at: LetterToBritain.com