Looking at Africa, at its problems and its relationship with Europe, I can’t do but reasoning out about western world and its evident and severe economic and political crisis, which has been speeding up during last 10 years.
The phenomenon causing and feeding this crisis is inequality. In western countries, the famous 1% owns more than 50% of riches – in incomes and assets – while 50% of people own only 20% of riches. It’s clear that wealth is too concentrated and envied.
Another important clue: in the world – not only in western countries – only 36 million people owns almost half of world’s wealth, while 70% of them owns 3% of wealth. That is, too much poverty in the world. Something went wrong.
The reasons why riches are so concentrated are many, but the result is tangible and delicate: in western countries people are angry, frustrated and disappointed. People who ten years ago hoped to have a bright future are getting poorer and they even don’t know why. Middle class people have less ambitions and less hope, young people are convinced that they are going to live worse than their parents and parents only want to help their sons and daughters. A world that seems to be turned upside down if compared with that existing during the second post-war period.
For people getting fixed incomes, economy has changed during last 25 years and politicians have just misunderstood or ignored this phenomenon. The main reason is globalization, which affected western people’s lives, but which rewarded rich people, who could play on different tables, on risky outsourcing and on opportunities which were denied to 99% of human beings.
Anyway, globalization was important for Asia, which managed to banish starvation for good. As in communicating vessels, in the meanwhile globalization was affecting western people’s incomes.
Some data: during last 20 years, Chinese people have multiplied their yearly incomes by 17 – from 986 dollars to 16,806 dollars in 2017. Italian people’s incomes have been multiplied only by 2.1. German incomes have gone better (x 2.6), while American ones have been multiplied by 2.2 – in 2017 the US were worth 24% of world’s GDP, while in 1960 they were worth 40% of it.
Nowadays western people who have lost their buying power are many and represent the majority. They feel defrauded, grudging and betrayed by governments.
Lots of parties – especially socialistic ones – have been the most irresponsible, because they ignored what was happening. Their crisis was the crisis of misunderstanding’s surrender.
Socialistic parties were defeated in all recent elections, starting from Hillary Clinton.
However, thanks to young, new and radical forces, Corbyn’s radical wing in UK and Sanders’ radical party in US are holding on and are preparing themselves to democrats’ revival of midterm’s elections.
Electors started to claim for a change and Brexit, Mr Trump, Mr Orban, Mr Kurtz, Mr Salvini and Mr Di Maio are the first result of this movement. It is different from one country to the other, but the causes at its bases are the same. Another problem is going to come to the surface: technologic disruption. Robots, AI and machine learning will perhaps improve productivity and services, but they will also change next 20 years’ way of working, by reducing job opportunities.
Before this western tragedy, caused by 25 years of political misunderstanding and greedy elites – which filled their piggy boxes in thanks to globalization – we must wonder what we should do to change this situation.