TOUR OF HISTORY
From Uday’s upcoming book “Has humanity lost the plot? A brown man’s perspective”
Today’s world is largely determined by Markets, and State, Civil Society, and Religion by-and-large toe the line. But let us go back in time a bit. It is unfortunate but true that human history has been defined by dominance, first over the environment, then amongst ourselves; and industry and religion have been the instruments. Christianity and Islam still compete for market share, just as corporations do!
CAN WE FORGET THE VIETNAM WAR?
Today’s world is defined by Capitalism (and its emerging alter-ego Philanthropy), which is justified on grounds of fulfilling needs most efficiently and creating employment. But it is criticized for prioritizing profit over social good, natural resources, and the environment; and creating inequality and economic instabilities. Although many institutional forms have emerged to address this, and more companies are talking about ‘purpose,’ for example PepsiCo’s Performance with Purpose and Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, the real impacts are few and far between. Stock markets continue to rule!
Homo sapiens. 1 species out of 10-14 million (over 5 billion are estimated to be extinct) migrated out of Africa in the last 50,000 years and overran the planet. And we caused unprecedented devastation especially in the last 200 with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. All because we developed the thumb (or God said we should rule)!
Agriculture developed 10,000 years ago, then civilization 5,000 years ago. But the most significant event was White Man’s colonization of the world in the last 500+ years without moral compunction to ‘civilize the savages.’ A way of life was obliterated, the remaining ‘assimilated’ or in the process. It is estimated that ~90% of indigenous populations were exterminated in the colonization era. Indigenous peoples today account for 6% of the population, which simply means that 94% of humanity has been ‘civilized!’ In the process, he also shifted the paradigm of happiness from ‘contentment’ to ‘pleasure.’ The West imposed itself on the East! And we gave up peacefulness amongst ourselves, harmony with our environment, and became restless, competitive, and destructive.