Oxigen_Waste

First World guilt?

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How often do you feel it/do you feel it at all?

 

The fact that our (the so called first world countries) prosperity and comfort comes at the expense of the exploitation of the remaining ~80% of the human population's worksmanship and the natural resources that rightfully belong to them coupled with the fact that most of our "popular" jobs/careers seem to be completely based around the superfluous and that so much of that stolen energy is diverted toward entertainment when most of the world is coping with survival is something that leaves me awake at night sometimes... We truly do live in a cruel world and the only distinction between us and the rest of the world is pure chance. That mere concept by itself is scary enough, the knowledge that all our prosperity comes at the cost of most of the world's population's misery is bleak indeed. When one takes into account that half of the world's poor live in resource rich countries (resources that we, the first world, thrive on), and that 50% of the world's wealth is in the hands of 2% of our population, the portrait is quite clear, we are still living in a feudal world, the kings of old are the oil barons of new, whose grasp on our #1 resource and it's hereditery nature dictates the trends the rest of the world follows and we, the first world's population, are nothing but the new nobles and borgeouis...

 

Another thing that bothers me is that considering the biggest problems in our world right now are overpopulation and dwindling resources, we still indulge our reproductive trends without proper control, with the average of children per couple being >1. It makes no sense...

 

Bah, *rant rant rant rant*.

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The thought of 7 billion people sucking the life out of the planet and each other is mortifying.

 

Start pulling out, people!

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I rarely feel it. Sorry if that makes me a dick.

Edited by Guy
Because editing posts is a first world privilege.

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I think the notion of the 'Third World' is becoming increasingly irrelevant in an age where the global urban population exceeds 50% and is ever increasing - the poor and bereft exist in all our cities and more and more they are not a minority. You can just as easily be born into poverty and oppression in somewhere like Mumbai or Mexico City as you are in Lewisham or other parts of this country.

 

Back to the question, do I care? No. Like you said, it's pure chance. If the First/Third world dichotomy was switched, no one wouldn't act any different.

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I don't really feel it. When I was a kid, my family was struggling like crazy and we nearly lost the house on several occasions. Now, however, I am what many would consider very well off. I worked hard for it so I have no need to feel guilty. If I can do it, anyone can do it

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Yes. I do. I do feel somewhat part of the problem, and I think about it on a weekly basis.

 

Norway would never have been swimming in luxury if it wasn't for the sick and starving. It is just wrong.

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No. I've never enslaved anyone. I've never stolen anything from anyone. I've never hurt anyone. Why should I feel guilty?

 

Yes there's a lot of inequality, but none of it is my fault. I'm not going to feel guilty for being born in the UK instead of Uganda.

 

 

Why do middle class people always feel the need to empathise with the world's poorest? If you really feel guilty, then donate some money, volunteer to help. Don't just sit around crying as if that makes you one with the people.

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It's not really the right way to live to feel guilty all the time about something that you personally have no control of. I'd feel more guilty if there were problems right in front of me that I was doing very little to sort out. Everybody has problems and there is suffering everywhere, but on different kinds of levels.

 

I wouldn't say it's a selfish attitude, because it's not. Not everyone can be a Mother Theresa, and even then for every one person you help, there are hundreds more out there who also need it. But, if there are people nearby who you realistically can help, then that makes more sense to me, imo. Didn't you say before that you've never had a job in your life and are pretty much set up for the rest of your days anyway? If so, then maybe you could go out and do something voluntary.

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My feeling of guilt diminishes the more I realise how little one can do to change the situation. Charity work is not doing much for the concerned countries in the long-term, and most concrete improvements (like helping improve their education system) still depend on a multitude of factors beyond our control (since any permanent change needs to come from those governments and/or people's mentality).

 

Charity work might be the equivalent of applying a small painkiller to a wound that needs suturing. I guess it's better than nothing, but the feeling of uselessness remains.

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I wouldn't say it's a selfish attitude, because it's not. Not everyone can be a Mother Theresa

 

ALERT! Mother Teresa was in fact a horrible old swine. :heh:

 

Do I feel guilty? Nah, not really. I mean I feel sad/angry sometimes that the world is the way it is, but to feel personal guilt just seems a little bit silly. I'd like to think I appreciate the little things in life more than most too, like just having the ability to shower and keep well fed. I suppose the closest thing I feel to guilt about this sort of thing would be feeling very spoilt on occasion.

 

 

Edited by ipaul

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I think the notion of the 'Third World' is becoming increasingly irrelevant in an age where the global urban population exceeds 50% and is ever increasing - the poor and bereft exist in all our cities and more and more they are not a minority. You can just as easily be born into poverty and oppression in somewhere like Mumbai or Mexico City as you are in Lewisham or other parts of this country.

 

That would be an incorrect assumption, actually. The "first world" is basically the EU, USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. There's a ridiculous difference in what "poverty" means over in London to what it means in Moscow, and Moscow is on the borderline of becoming part of the "first world". Mexico City is even more extreme, and as for Mumbai there's just no possible comparison on the extremes of poverty there when compared to the extremes of poverty in London. Let's not even mention somewhere like Mogadishu, Lagos or Monrovia (which is basically a post apocalyptic metropolis, with child soldiers smoking heroin, rampant cannibalism, systematic displays of public rape, etc etc). There are ridiculously few of us first worlders in comparison to the rest. Hell, to this day there continue to be more desert nomads who are still living off fossil water (they live as we did over 2000 years ago, basically) than the entire combined population of Europe. Just because we are an incresingly urban species doesn't mean we live in the same realities.

 

No. I've never enslaved anyone. I've never stolen anything from anyone. I've never hurt anyone. Why should I feel guilty?

 

Yes there's a lot of inequality, but none of it is my fault. I'm not going to feel guilty for being born in the UK instead of Uganda.

 

 

Why do middle class people always feel the need to empathise with the world's poorest? If you really feel guilty, then donate some money, volunteer to help. Don't just sit around crying as if that makes you one with the people.

 

I don't empathise with the poor. I don't empathise with anyone, really. I just think it's sick that we live like parasites developing our exuberant new empires at the cost of somewhere else's resources and still act like the knights in shining armor who are here to save the day for everyone else through the power of charity (which is a farse, by the way, especially volunteer work). We made this system the norm, and we keep it in place, every day. What bugs me about it is how we glorify that reality. We've turned the world into a giant labour camp of sorts and act like we're doing a good thing. It's fucking despicable and the irony is, we're the ones who are supposed to have a moral code. :D

 

In the end, it IS your fault. And my fault. All of ours, basically. Every single day of your life you choose to ignore it. You make a conscient decision every single day to NOT care about it or do anything about it. You and I accept this system. Which makes sense since we're the ones who get the reap it's rewards, but is nonetheless completely sick. It's hard to swallow, but deep down the reality is that every single tiny comfort you get to enjoy or indulge in comes at the expense of someone else's misery.

 

The best examples would probably be Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, 2 of the world's most resource rich countries, currently with way over 70% of their populations living below the poverty line. Countries which once, not that long ago, were actually on their way to progress until we, the western world decided to intervene (in the name of freedom, of course) and establish the oil empires you find today... making 1% of their respective populations incredibly powerful and rich while everyone else withered away from a somewhat stable average into deplorable misery and poverty. Of course, WE managed to get their precious oil, which would otherwise be wasted on improving their own civilizations. Nice going!

 

Didn't you say before that you've never had a job in your life and are pretty much set up for the rest of your days anyway? If so, then maybe you could go out and do something voluntary.

 

I think you're confusing me with somebody else, here... oO

Edited by Oxigen_Waste

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Like others have already said.. I don't exactly feel guilty because there is really not a great deal I can do to change the way the world works. I do feel very grateful for what I do have though.

 

There are a lot of things that piss me off enormously though, and I think people who do these things should feel incredibly guilty. Things like wasting food, obesity (when it's due to nothing else but over-indulging on food), media hype, advertising/consumerism gone too far. (hey, we all like nice things and like to reward our hard work with shinies.. but there's a line..)

 

I dunno, I have days where I just seriously hate how things are.. =\ It's actually the #1 reason I don't want to have kids.. but that's not exactly something I would say to someone.

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I think you're confusing me with somebody else, here... oO

 

Ah, my mistake with that one.

 

My point still stands, if you want to change things, then give it a try, but be reasonable. You're not going to change everything, but changing someone's life for the better is do-able. Unfortunately, a lot of the problems that you mention are down to leadership, like you mentioned with Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. A lot of these problems can be helped by the people in power, but a lot of us don't possess that.

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Ah, my mistake with that one.

 

My point still stands, if you want to change things, then give it a try, but be reasonable. You're not going to change everything, but changing someone's life for the better is do-able. Unfortunately, a lot of the problems that you mention are down to leadership, like you mentioned with Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. A lot of these problems can be helped by the people in power, but a lot of us don't possess that.

 

Who do you think put them in power if not us? We're behind every so called revolution. :D

 

As for trying to change things, I really couldn't care much less than I do. What bothers me is the hypocrisy of it all, not that people are suffering... Unlike most people I have no problem whatsoever in admitting I genuinely do not give a fuck about anyone that I do not know or interact with. I'm a very loving guy to those that do exist around me, but everyone else I completely disregard. Life is fucked up, but I don't care.

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Who do you think put them in power if not us? We're behind every so called revolution. :D

 

And the consequent civil wars. I wonder what countries like Angola or Afghanistan would look like nowadays, if the US and USSR hadn't meddled in hopes of gaining political/tactical leverage across the world.

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Who do you think put them in power if not us?

 

Who is this "us" you keep talking about? I've never participated in any revolution. I've never even voted for a party that came to power (with the arguable exception of Lib Dems). Why should I feel bad about something my distant relatives did centuries ago?

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No. I've never enslaved anyone. I've never stolen anything from anyone. I've never hurt anyone. Why should I feel guilty?

 

Yes there's a lot of inequality, but none of it is my fault. I'm not going to feel guilty for being born in the UK instead of Uganda.

 

 

Why do middle class people always feel the need to empathise with the world's poorest? If you really feel guilty, then donate some money, volunteer to help. Don't just sit around crying as if that makes you one with the people.

 

Exactly this. I don't feel bad or feel like it's my fault or feel guilty at all and I have no reason to feel like that. However, I do feel sorry for them.

 

Nobody should be made to feel guilty because of the lives they were born in. Royalty can't help that they were born into the Royal Family just like I can't help that I was born in a working-class family. In the end, it's about who you are from it and what you make of it that counts.

 

Like Serebii said, if you work hard and you get it, why should you feel guilty? Nobody should be guilty for the lives they were given. You should be thankful you're not them, I agree with that, but you shouldn't feel bad or guilt in any way shape or form, it's something you can't help.

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That would be an incorrect assumption, actually. The "first world" is basically the EU, USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. There's a ridiculous difference in what "poverty" means over in London to what it means in Moscow, and Moscow is on the borderline of becoming part of the "first world". Mexico City is even more extreme, and as for Mumbai there's just no possible comparison on the extremes of poverty there when compared to the extremes of poverty in London. Let's not even mention somewhere like Mogadishu, Lagos or Monrovia (which is basically a post apocalyptic metropolis, with child soldiers smoking heroin, rampant cannibalism, systematic displays of public rape, etc etc). There are ridiculously few of us first worlders in comparison to the rest. Hell, to this day there continue to be more desert nomads who are still living off fossil water (they live as we did over 2000 years ago, basically) than the entire combined population of Europe. Just because we are an incresingly urban species doesn't mean we live in the same realities.

 

That's absurdly naive of you to attempt to qualify it like that. What exactly is your experience of poverty in London?

 

This isn't a game of who was more deprived or suffered more than any one other. I'm not even sure what exactly the point of that list is. Is there a list of 'Third World Problems'? What about sex trafficking? Because that is a massive problem in Europe, and in London. When is something allowed to stop being a Third World problem and become a First World problem?

 

This is why the term 'Third World' is problematic and God knows one you should never assume, and there is plenty of literature on the subject, because to arbitrarily ascribe value to one form of suffering over another is stunningly fucking stupid and counter-productive. The whole reason I mentioned urbanisation is because it is part of a post-modern discourse that did not exist when we, the West, decided to 'create, the 'Third World'.

 

Why do middle class people always feel the need to empathise with the world's poorest? If you really feel guilty, then donate some money, volunteer to help. Don't just sit around crying as if that makes you one with the people.

 

Please, I'm middle-class and I don't give two fucks. I just like doing the middle-class thing and reading academic articles around it.

Edited by Daft

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I'm so glad everyone in this thread can articulate my feelings on this subject in ways far beyond my individual capabilities.

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Not that fussed. When I see the Oxfam adverts with all these sick dying children, I think two things:

1] Why don't they just stop having sex and making these living corpses.

2] The advert says something along the lines of "A child dies every 5 seconds from starvation", if that's true and surely the birthrate cannot compensate for that - shouldn't the problem have solved itself?

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Who do you think put them in power if not us? We're behind every so called revolution. :D

 

As for trying to change things, I really couldn't care much less than I do. What bothers me is the hypocrisy of it all, not that people are suffering... Unlike most people I have no problem whatsoever in admitting I genuinely do not give a fuck about anyone that I do not know or interact with. I'm a very loving guy to those that do exist around me, but everyone else I completely disregard. Life is fucked up, but I don't care.

 

I'm very confused now as to what this thread is about. Are you saying that you're feeling guilty because you don't feel guilty?

 

This reminds me of all those Ludacris Inception memes.

heard-you-like-dreams-e1280242797220.png

 

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I'm done in here. It makes my brain hurt to think about grown up stuff.

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2] The advert says something along the lines of "A child dies every 5 seconds from starvation", if that's true and surely the birthrate cannot compensate for that - shouldn't the problem have solved itself?

 

That's ~31,000,000 children a year. An African population of over 1 billion can easily support that.

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That's absurdly naive of you to attempt to qualify it like that. What exactly is your experience of poverty in London?

 

This isn't a game of who was more deprived or suffered more than any one other. I'm not even sure what exactly the point of that list is. Is there a list of 'Third World Problems'? What about sex trafficking? Because that is a massive problem in Europe, and in London. When is something allowed to stop being a Third World problem and become a First World problem?

 

This is why the term 'Third World' is problematic and God knows one you should never assume, and there is plenty of literature on the subject, because to arbitrarily ascribe value to one form of suffering over another is stunningly fucking stupid and counter-productive. The whole reason I mentioned urbanisation is because it is part of a post-modern discourse that did not exist when we, the West, decided to 'create, the 'Third World'.

 

Good of you to mention sex trafficking as it's one of the clearest ways to exemplify just how different things are. Sex trafficking is a problem im Europe. In Monrovia it's not a problem... because it's part of every day life. I'm not sure wether you don't understand just how wide that gap is or wether you're just procrastinating for the sake of it, to be honest. There's no black and white scale, but Hackney and Croydon are as tame as it gets.

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