Fanja Randriamihavo, 15, is one of 3,000 people who live and work in Ralalitra, one of Africa’s largest rubbish dumps. The site, in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, spans about 50 acres. Each day, it receives more than 600 tonnes of waste from the capital and from the three million residents of its sprawling suburbs.
People who work on the dump site collect metals, coal and plastic from among the chaotic mess of needles, rats, faeces and aborted babies. They are paid just 3,000 Malagasy ariary ( 70p) a day.
As a side issue, it’s amazing how they become aborted babies when there’s shock horror to inculcate, mere blobs of tissue when we discuss abortion or not.
Still, yes, poverty is shite:
But matters are not that simple, and the moral lines are not that clear. In fact, let me make a counter-accusation: The lofty moral tone of the opponents of globalization is possible only because they have chosen not to think their position through. While fat-cat capitalists might benefit from globalization, the biggest beneficiaries are, yes, Third World workers.
After all, global poverty is not something recently invented for the benefit of multinational corporations. Let’s turn the clock back to the Third World as it was only two decades ago (and still is, in many countries). In those days, although the rapid economic growth of a handful of small Asian nations had started to attract attention, developing countries like Indonesia or Bangladesh were still mainly what they had always been: exporters of raw materials, importers of manufactures. Inefficient manufacturing sectors served their domestic markets, sheltered behind import quotas, but generated few jobs. Meanwhile, population pressure pushed desperate peasants into cultivating ever more marginal land or seeking a livelihood in any way possible–such as homesteading on a mountain of garbage.
That is, we’ve a cure for this sort of absolute poverty. Neoliberal globalisation.
Please note that my proof comes from a left wing New York Times columnist (but I repeat myself) and Economics Nobel Laureate. This ain’t just ideological burblings, this is the real world cure for the ailment.