Narrowing Gaps, Yawning Gaps

Not only do the deep plates of the Earth’s crust slide and rearrange themselves (producing earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tsunamis), but also the world powers’ foundations, generating all sorts of impacts. Emerging countries such as China, India, Brazil, and a few others, are acquiring greater strategic importance, while affluent countries seek ways to retain as much of their big share of clout as they can. Between those new and old poles, immense majorities—who are unable to keep up with modern times—survive. Thus, some gaps are narrowing, while others are yawning wider; inter-country gaps and intra-country gaps; wealth, quality of life, and knowledge gaps.

The dynamics of economic growth per se ensures neither justice nor sustainability. A certain degree of global consensus is required in order to give way to a more balanced development that does not forget those who lag behind. The “salvation” of a few (even if they are more in number than in the past) ends up being no solution, as environmental and migratory tensions, as well as tensions resulting from conflicts over the control of, and access to, ever scarcer natural resources destabilize trajectories and condemn the majority of the inhabitants of the planet to an undignified life. There are no technical or economic reasons for things to be this way. While our selfishness, short-sighted view or negligence generate destruction and instability, the best in our civilization strives to repair, prevent, and find better sustainable development paths.

Each generation has done what they could or wanted to improve or worsen collective fate. There has always been a need to reconcile an enormous diversity of interests, traditions, beliefs and values. Let us hope that the present generations and, very specially, the leaders of the new emerging powers, do not forget the lessons from the past, their own origin, and contribute to the adoption of less mean, more caring and inclusive solutions. The Doha Round is one of the major contemporary negotiation rounds, where key interests of emerging economies are confronted, and opportunities and challenges are found. Let us hope that no petty attitudes from the affluent countries or lightness of the emerging nations prevail there. What is at stake—the distribution of the benefits resulting from international trade—exceeds by far the total external aid the North supplies in minute doses to the South. We should be capable of reaching trade agreements that do not negatively compromise the development of the Southern Hemisphere. The affluent countries exert enormous power and clout; hence, great caution should be used when weighing how to preserve or promote the dynamic competitive advantages of the countries in the South, especially the poorest ones. It will be necessary to persuade firmly and creatively those who propose asymmetric agreements. In Opinion Sur we endorse that search for equity and sustainability.

As you will see, we have also improved this issue’s design; we hope you find it easier to read.
Cordial greetings. See you in our next issue.
The Editors”

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