Earthquakes and Cyclones are a small part of a much more tragic story

Some would say it’s cruel or inappropriate to suggest that the big tragedies are the daily death toll from disease and malnutritioon even more than the horrible scenes we’ve been seeing on TV from Burma/Myanmar and China as a result of the Cyclone and the earthquake that will take between 100,000 and 150,000 lives when all the reports are in.  

However I’m compelled to point that out because TV news and our own human inadequacies at processing math and information mean that the silent catastrophes of easily preventable diseases – which kill some 20,000-30,000 people per day – are the real catastrophes on this planet yet they go largely unreported and ignored because we focus our attention on the spectacular problems rather than the more pressing ones or interesting ones.     You don’t have to trivialiize the tragic loss of life in violent conflicts or natural disasters to recognize that there is a *far greater* loss of life in the day to day problems we largely ignore.   No, these do not “keep those populations in check” as some poorly informed folks suggest.  On the contrary rising the standard of living is one of the surest ways to reduce birth rates barring the draconian type of approach taken in China with the “one family one child” policy which has also worked.

What would work to a solution to the real tragedies?  First, we need to do a little math and recognize that the daily death tolls from preventable, solvable problems are huge compared to the death tolls from the things many people worry a lot about yet cannot influence much (Middle East Conflicts) if at all (Earthquakes).  

After recognizing we can save millions of people *monthly* from a shift in resources we need to view national security in broader terms, recognizing that a greater measure of global stability – the primary goal of our US military projection throughout the world – would be more easily attained with strategic spending on simple and preventable education and disease programs combined with a modest marketing program to make sure those assisted recognize who the good guys really are.     Currently the USA spends a subtantial amount (though it is tiny compared to our capacity) helping fight poverty the third world.  Yet we get little if any credit for this.   Unfortunate because this does not inspire more of the type of assistance that creates global win-win situation where people can thrive and the US can help maintain global stability at a fraction of the cost of military approaches.

Why aren’t others seeing this?    US politics have created a crisis of economic and military stupidity.   Liberals insist – naively and with little research to back them up – that globalized corporate capitalism hurts the poor more than it helps them.    There are regional exceptions, but if you look around you note that where there are multinational skyscrapers and multinational influence (New York, Hong Kong) there is … a lot more prosperity and a lot less poverty than where global business is banned (Myanmar, North Korea).

Meanwhile most conservatives remain sadly and stupidly hypocritical when it comes to funding our bloated military, which currently accounts for well over half of all global spending.  People who should know how to balance a checkbook abandon all fiscal reason in an ego and emotionally driven fervor to fund every weapon they can get their hands on, often leaving veterans to fend for themselves where this type of spending is clearly an essential obligation of the country to support those who have served.

COMMENTS are VERY WELCOME, even if you think I’m totally full of sh** on this!   

Myanmar Cyclone, China Earthquake

The Cyclone in Myanmar and tragic earthquake in China will take over 100,000 lives.   I don’t really have much to say but it seemed cold not to mention these events here at the blog, especially with all my jolly posts about the recent trip to China.     Here’s hoping the Burmese Government opens up to international aid.  Their reluctance to do so is having the opposite of their intended effect – people will now realize how poorly that Government looks after their own people.

More from China is here at the Shanghaiist Blog