Saturday, August 3, 2013

Monday Musings 181: Making sense of the world order

Monday Musings 181: Making sense of the world order

Such is the human need for constructs and frameworks, that one would be forgiven if we lose our way in the maze. The globe and nation states have particularly been classified and reclassified in myriad ways, many times countries moving in and out of clusters as frequently as the change of fashion. Let us take a tongue and cheek look at some of them. 

I am sure if the big bang theory of the origin of the universe would not have been propounded, we must have had created a small bang theory, for an explosion it must have been for what we have ended up being! Another interesting theory that has slipped by, almost as an country cousin of the previous one, is the drifting of continents theory. Insects crawl up my spine to imagine, that apart from the galactic movement in empty space, where the earth is hauling itself to i-dont-know-where, apart from the earth singing songs around the sun like a starry eyed teenager, and apart from spinning around itself in the throes of some unseen magnetic intoxication, even the continents are drifting away! I mean come on, there is a limit to  the ridiculousness of this whole thing. When i look around, i see every proverbial Tom, Dick, and Harry, their aunt and her dog, chasing stability in life and the fact is everything else is in motion, chaos or movement. 

Coming back to the subject of classification of nation states, the broadest of them all is the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere, creating possibly the oldest form of divide. Clearly the northern cousins are broadly more developed, richer, and powerful than their southern counterparts. I am told there is no scientific reason why the northern hemisphere must be on the top on the global map, but guess somethings become too routine to be questioned. 

Then there is the classical distinction of a group of nations broadly labelled as the 'west', others broadly classified as the 'east', also called as the oriental. There is some kind of musical chairs between the two when it comes to deciding who is ahead. I have concluded, that the answer to this is how long a view of time do you take to answer this question. Very very long ago, East seem to have civilizational superiority, a little while ago the west seemed to have dominated and rumor has it, the east is planning a coup of sorts to usurp the pole position. Africa, where the grapevine suggests, it all may have started is considered almost as an afterthought and it usually drops through the cracks in this epochal debate between the west and the east. 

Growing up in India, text books informed me that we were the 'third world'. I mean whoever authored the term was highly unimaginative. No creative adjectives, no acronyms, no fancy terminology - just number the damn countries - first world, second world, and third world. I am sure it must have been an economist - cannot expect anything better from them, can we?

Within Asia, there is middle east, south east and far east. There is central Asia which sits in proximity with the underbelly of Russia, but maintaining tenous relations with the larger Asian identity, though there is only that much similarity between a central Asian and a south east Asian as much as between a chimpanzee and a crocodile. Within Europe there is western and eastern divide and some argue, given the length of time they have fought and continue to do so like recalcitrant children, Europe is merely a notion. 

A few years back there were the tiger economies of the south east Asian cluster. Then there is G 20, which is more secular in its construct because you have to be seriously rich to be its member, not some fancy reason of geographical proximity. In 2001 came the phrase BRICS which is where the future lay, as that guy from the Goldman Sachs made everyone believe. Dollars and Euros and some serious money chased the BRICS, but all of that has fallen like a pack of cards. The latest i am told is the N-11 or the new 11. It consists of Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia and others. I am sure someone worked very late and hard on his presentation to coin this term. Be ready to hear this term more often in the coming days. 

Where do we truly belong? Well, that i guess is a subject for another musing. For now enjoy wherever we have been placed by whoever worked late into the night.