Almost everyone agrees that the rule of law is widely applied in most of the developed Western world, where even less fortunate citizens enjoy basic human rights in terms of education, health care, shelter and freedom of expression, and where equality among citizens is a well-established fact. Whereas in the developing world, citizens are certainly denied most of their basic needs, economic and infrastructural development is weak, the quality of life of the majority is sub-standard and repressive policies applied by authoritarian rulers and their cronies are the norm.
Western nations are driven by peace and prosperity; they are keen to secure their borders to ensure that their citizens can live in peace, and they have the potential to realize economic growth by exporting their products and technologies to the developing world. Western businesses expand into the developing world aided by their friends and cronies in developing nations (who obviously know how to maximize their Western partners’ revenues). This helps the wealthy to become wealthier, keeps the impoverished grounded in their poverty and strengthens the grip of authoritarian rulers through their cronies with links to the West.
The clear majority of citizens in the developing world are not only trapped in dreadful living conditions with no light in sight at the end of the tunnel; most of them do not believe that they will ever actually be able to get out of this dark tunnel. This leaves the ambitious segment of the developing world perpetually dreaming of landing in the developed world, where they can find better jobs and a decent living — and the mentally disturbed segment of the population believing that the solution to their problems lies in exporting what they know best (terrorism) to developed nations.
Meanwhile, most Eastern citizens strongly believe that the West is largely responsible for their miserable living conditions — an allegation that cannot necessarily be validated, but that is well perceived in the developing world. Thus, millions of illiterate citizens are left to live in harsh conditions, embracing incorrect beliefs. Moreover, their access to advanced technology and machines will prompt this depressed segment of society to make use of the latest technology to carry out horrific attacks.
When an enviable quality of life is enjoyed in only one part of the world, the result is discontent, corruption and ultimately terrorism.
“Garbage in, garbage out” is how the universe operates. The inputs we throw into the channel that connects the two worlds yield the outcomes that we are living with today. The wide availability of Western technologies and machines in the developing world is sufficient proof that the West knows how to target and reach universal consumers. The fact that, unlike its product exports, the West’s moral values and humanitarian development have not been conveyed to the developing East demonstrates the developed world’s lack of interest in this matter. Additionally, the consistent flow of illegal immigrants and the inability to prevent terrorism in the developed world is proof of the West’s failure to safeguard the security of its own nations.
The management of the channel connecting the two worlds is in the hands of extremely narrow-minded leaders from both worlds. These leaders are deliberately shaping the channel to serve the interests of a tiny minority at the expense of a powerless, unprotected majority. We are expending the wealth of the developing world, squandering it on products that we are not in urgent need of.
Working only on realizing economic growth in a region that is known for its poverty, illiteracy and immaturity has not only led more regional wars, it has also contributed to the spread of terrorism. What we really need is a smooth sharing and flow of quality education and moral values. While these come at minimal cost, they will greatly enrich, secure and enhance the prosperity of the entire world.
• Mohammed Nosseir, a liberal politician from Egypt, is a strong advocate of political participation and economic freedom. Twitter: @MohammedNosseir