Global Citizenship

Nov 2, 2006 | Posted by Scott Hughes, author of Achieve Your Dreams | Post a Comment

Global Citizenship
by Scott Hughes

My favorite philosopher, Diogenes The Cynic, first said, “I am a citizen of the world.” He wanted people to recognize him as a human being and not by his geographic origins or some other trivial grouping.

I like to take that philosophy and apply it to the concerns and problems of our contemporary world. I want to feed the hungry children all over this world. I want to provide clothing, shelter, education, and socioeconomic opportunity to all the children – and adults for that matter – of this world.

I want to see the end of the world hunger that kills 16,000 children every day. Similarly, I want to see food, education, and opportunity offered to those who have it not, namely the 3 billion people living on less than $2.00 a day. I want to proved food, clothing, shelter, education, and socioeconomic opportunity to everyone in the world, not just the people geographically close to me or ethnically similar to me.

I do not want to rob people of another nation so that the people of “my” nation can benefit. For example, I do NOT want to wear fancy sneakers if it leads to the abuse of foreign children in a foreign sweatshop. I do not want innocent Iraqi citizens to die in an ignorant attempt by the U.S. and the U.K. to help and protect themselves. In the same respect, I do not want innocent U.S. citizens to die from collapsing twin-towers in an ignorant attempt by Arabs to help and protect themselves.

I value innocent lives equally – whether they’re the 40,000 slaughtered Iraqi citizens in the Iraq War, or the 3,000 American citizens slaughtered in the 9/11 Terrorist Attack, or the 16,000 innocent children who die every day from hunger, or the 2.2 million Americans rotting in American jails and prisons – most of whom have not been convicted and over 25% of whom are charged with victimless “crimes” – and the uncharged unconvicted children suffering in Guantanamo and other U.S. international prisons, many of which are secret.

I try to be a citizen of the world.

However, I do not think the recent adoptions by celebrities of third-world children exemplifies the aforementioned philosophy. That’s not to say I don’t commend these adoptions, such as that by Madonna. I find the adoptions very commendable; Madonna has not only saved this child’s life, but also brought the child into a whole new environment where the child won’t be deprived of many necessities such as would have happened otherwise.

Despite the incredible commendability of the adoptions, I think the adoptions exemplify a common misconception. They exemplify and symbolize the illusion of a separation between the hunger and poverty epidemic in the third-world and the global problems facing all of us, including working-class America.

It seems we find it easier to treat the terrible hunger and poverty epidemic in these third-world countries as some completely separate issue of unluckiness, rather than admit that that epidemic is just one terrible symptom in a global line of many symptoms of an even worse underlying problem.

So, while what Madonna and these other caring celebrities individually did is commendable, we as a collective cannot solve these problems of hunger, poverty and such if we look at these particular epidemics as separate issues.

For example, we must not just go to Africa like Madonna and see the problem as something only faced there. That’s not to trivialize the terrible epidemics in these third-world countries; they’re serious problems and they need to be addressed ASAP. Nonetheless, we cannot solve those problems unless we recognize and admit that they share the root cause with most of the social problems in our world. I’m not just talking about the 14 million children in the U.S. that live in food insecure households; that’s just another terrible symptom.

Henry David Thoreau said, “there are a thousand striking at the branches of evil to the one striking at the root.”

I commend Madonna and anyone who strikes or even takes out a branch of “evil.” However, no matter how many of us – and we’ll never get everybody – hack away at the branches, we’ll never knock down the tree unless we strike the root. To truly solve these problems, we need to strike the root – social inequality and corrupt politics.

To put this in perspective, look at the following facts: The U.N. says that a $40 billion increase in funding could feed, clothe, and educate the entire world. The U.S. governments alone spend over $50 billion every year on the war on drugs. (Interestingly, the war on drugs not only wastes money that could help, but the war hurts the poor and minorities. It’s poor and black people who end up rotting in jail-cells. For example, in the U.S. more white people take illicit drugs, while more black people go to jail for illicit drugs. Classism is even more of the issue, with rich people using expensive lawyers, bribes, and such to get off.)

Some would say, make the government solve this problem. That’s an arguable solution, but I would argue that the government will never solve these problems. Obviously, the politicians care about their own well-being and their own interests, not ours. The politicians only pretend to care about our interests to gain votes. We need to understand that the government – and the mostly-corporate special-interests that control it – use OUR money, which they steal through taxation and inflation. The government – and the mostly-corporate special-interests that control it – will never spend that money the way we want it spent, and they will never spend it to solve our problems. Indeed, it is these very problems that give the government an excuse to steal the money and freedom from the people. If we want to decide how to spend the money, I believe we can only do that by taking our money and freedom back, and then using it to solve the problems that face us, namely hunger, poverty, and lack of socioeconomic opportunity.

Thomas Jefferson said, “when the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.”

We want to solve the preventable problems plaguing the citizens of this world, right?

To do that, we need to tell the powers that be that we no longer will allow them to steal our wealth, freedom, or rightful power. We need to tell and show them that we plan to use OUR wealth, freedom, and meritocratically rightful power to solve the problems facing us, the citizens of the world. We can tell them that they can do whatever they want, but from now on they will have to do it without stealing our wealth or freedom, and without the government.

The key of course, we actually need to use our wealth and power to invest in education and development, namely with student loans and business loans, respectively. If we include food, clothes, and shelter with tuition costs, then we can solve these epidemics essentially for free.

About The Author: Scott Hughes runs a Self-Defense, Safety, and Security Blog as well as this Hunger and Poverty Blog. He also owns The Online Book Club, and Discuss these serious issues with him at The Hunger And Poverty Forums.

© Copyright 2006, Scott Hughes. All Rights Reserved.

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About Scott Hughes

I am the author of Achieve Your Dreams. I also published the book Holding Fire: Short Stories of Self-Destruction. I have two kids who I love so much. I just want to be a good role model for them. I hope what I do here makes them proud of me. Please let me know you think about the post by leaving a comment below!

5 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Jesse O.
    November 2nd, 2006 at 6:15 pm #

    This is an Amazing article if!! if only we could get this out to all the citizens of this country they would be touched! how do we do so? please email me back!

  2. sat mehra
    November 3rd, 2006 at 4:43 am #

    What a wonderful article and thought ” Global Citizenship”

    My wife Aloisia and I have done some work on ” Small childen Malnutrition Deaths ” We are both convinced that with 2 US$ a day, poor village families in Asia can buy, in government Ration shops, enough Grains, Rice and small things, just to exist. Our
    visits to hundreds of villages show that children don’t die of empty bellies, but Malnutrition. As Global Citizens, we should try
    to get to the roots of so called Hunger deaths. Please go through our ” GREEN VILLAGE REVOLUTION “; achievd through water saving technology, where ever their is an acute shortage of cultivation water and high percentage of Malnutrition children deaths. Let me have your opinion.

    Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)


    According to UNICEF Study Reports, Since 1990, there is no change in small children Malnutrition Deaths. Even a villager, earning TWO DOLLARS a day can buy Rationed Food to feed his family. But the small children under five, die of Malnutrition, due
    to lack of nutrient rich food like Vegetables. For those poor villagers, Vegetables is an unaffordable luxury. Under-nourished Children can’t develop body resistance, to stand to even simple illnesses.

    The concept of Green Village Revolution, is to provide know-how and training to grow vegetables in VILLAGERS’
    OWN BACK-YARDS. Please refer to Sapam Wet Irrigation System. The under poverty line villagers can be provided with vegetable Saplings, Piping to install the system, teach and demonstrate the working. After one time demonstration and installing one pilot project, the villagers can prepare their own wet irrigation system. The thin plastic piping material is available and is very cheap. Waste fibre and old cloths can be donated
    or bought. The MULCH is a Gift of God, available as wild grass, falling leaves and small jungle waste. Almost all villages have a clay pot maker, and the prices are very low. Even 2 litre used mineral water or soft drink bottles can be used.

    For marginal farmers, having quarter to one acre land, a Microcredit of say US$ 50 to US$ 100 can be arranged, which can be repaid within 12 – 24 months, from extra profit.

    The villagers and marginal farmers, have no chance (because of cultivation water shortages) to cultivate even once a year. With water saving Wet Irrigation System, they can start 3 times a year vegetable cultivation. They can feed their children with nutrient rich vegetables, and sell the rest.


  3. KarlKropotkin
    November 3rd, 2006 at 6:19 pm #

    the resources necessary to feed/clothe every person on this earth are absolutely available. the issue is not that. the issue is, as you stated – politics and economics. but i think you need to go deeper than simply outlining economic schemes to erradicate poverty … you must full-on attack those systems that actually create the imbalance of wealth and hierarchy of power. most namely – capitalism and government.

    thats just a very vague response – message me if you like.

  4. Bibhu Prasad Mohanty
    November 6th, 2006 at 10:58 am #

    I wonder if such great souls are here in this world why and how hunger and poverty exist . I am confident and believe that very soon these two words will be history. More people with this conviction as the human being of the world should come forward to end hunger.

    If we love world, Wold will love us.

    Thanks to all those great children those who openly declare there concern and love towards world. They are the angles those who see the future world without any border and narrowness. Bearing the burden of love and world needs great heart and conviction. I salute them with love and care!

    Bibhu Prasad Mohanty
    Hunger Solution
    Lingaraj Nagar
    Jeypore, 764004

  5. Kristin
    December 1st, 2006 at 2:37 am #

    I think you have raised a very interesting point. I agree with you that poverty and hunger are a major problem and it should be resolved. However, I believe that every little bit of help will contribute to the ultimate resolution of the problem. Eventually everyone’s little part in chipping away at the problem will collectively make a big dent.

Children suffering from Poverty