The Divide

The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions by Jason Hickel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever seen the anime ‘Attack on Titan’?

— Spoiler Alert

At some point in the story, we come to the realisation that people exist outside the walls. That the world isnt desolate and uninhabited. There are people everywhere alive and well. The entire story people inside Paradis were always taught has always been a lie.

End of Spoilers —

This was exactly how I felt reading and finishing this book. The world narrative that had been presented to me since my school days, the story I had believed my whole life was torn down and I was given the harsh truth of the matter.

The socio-economic hierarchy of the world that has exited from the 80s onwards is not the result of a free market benefitting those who play fairly. Poverty is not the inherent result of the nations outside of Europe/America because they have failed to follow the principles of Neoliberal Economics.

The state of poverty that Global South countries suffer from is the a purposeful creation of a world order designed to keep them underdeveloped and exploitable.

Through international organisations and treaties such as the WTO, IMF and NAFTA, poorer countries have their own markets exposed to unfair competition from more mature economies and are simply unable to compete against heavily subsidised imported goods. This means that it is often cheaper for a country to import goods that can be made themselves!

Definitions and measurements of poverty have meant that the lines are constantly redrawn to paint a picture of improvement and progression. However upon a closer look at the statistics, they fall apart very quickly. These figures are manipulated to support the narrative that richer countries are supporting and investing in poorer ones out of the goodness of their hearts, to support and lift up their fellow man. If only the developing countries would be grateful and use the money properly (!).

While I could list every single injustice this book exposes for the purposes of this review, doing so would only depress me. I kid you not, reading this book gave me an actual headache at the amount of injustice in the world.

I am grateful to live in a part of the world that ‘benefits’ from such a system, but this shouldn’t be a reason to rest back and reap the fruits of it.

I’ll end this brief review with a quote from the early part of this book about how change starts from self-education.

“Anthropologists tell us that when the structure of a core myth begins to change, everything else about society changes around it, and fresh new possibilities open up that weren’t even thinkable before. When myths fall apart, revolutions happen.”

This is a monumental piece of work that we ALL owe it to ourselves to read.

Deconstruct the narrative and build it with the bricks of truth.

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