Monday, June 25, 2012

The Summit

“Summit”- the word denotes the highest or extreme point of something (usually a mountain or hill); the highest degree of achievement attainable, the acme; and a meeting of the heads of governments.
The just concluded G20 Mexico and the G20- Rio summits in the one of the most environmentally threatened and polluted cities in the world flatter to fall in any category perse except the last. For it to denote the pinnacle of something great is a misnomer. I would call it a retreat and a jamboree cocooned in hedonistic opulence amidst the surrounding filth and squalor of Rio de Janerio.  Thanks to the insane ideology of development and the privileges that go with political and bureaucratic positions of power, the pageant was enacted.

Rio de Janerio- the concourses that swarmed into Rio for the conference of G20 behemoths and the United Nation’s sustainable development may have dreamed of white and pristine beaches straddling deep blue waters on the Atlantic coast But like any visitor who flies into the financial capital of India, “Mumbai” would notice- the slums and squalor around the landing strip of the airport, what the summit men in Rio would have seen and felt was the stench of sewage and filth. This is because the airport in Rio is by the bay that takes in more than a billion liters of untreated sewage water. However when you are cocooned inside the air-conditioned and super filtered environment of the seven star hotels and condominiums one erases the realities outside. An avoidable and unnecessary nuisance best wished away and forgotten!

The citizens of Rio are certainly poorer by a good millions of dollars now that they have to foot the bill for the epicurean confluence.

What did the mela achieve? The G20in Mexico that preceded was attended by the heads of the two largest economies, the USA and Germany. However, they chose to see the G20-Rio summit for sustainable development which followed as trivial and avoided Rio. The moot question is what has such summits, be it the Cancun, the Rio and the many others  achieve? Apart from burdening the tax payers of the cities that host the fantasy, what else have they given back?

An underdeveloped or developing country like India had to honour her commitment as the member of the IMF and dole out a few billion dollars to the charity fund to bail out the extravagant lots in the developed world from the nook they have got themselves in. It is ironical that institutions like IMF and the developed economies of the west that has always been sententious and condescending to the developing and under developed world, now need doles from the later to resurface from the abyss they have went down themselves.
 Since seldom has such fĂȘtes changed the world, is it necessary for the group to come together like this and waste millions in cost when technology like video conferencing can be used at almost insignificant cost? The millions that go for hosting of such circuses can be diverted to clean up the squalor around. It is plain and simple truth that developed Europe and the Americas are adept in keeping their environmental stables clean while their excreta and garbage is shipped and thrown into the third world. The intertwining of the global economy has ensured a safety net for the developed world. And a Damocles sword for the underdeveloped and developing world! A hiccup in a distant economy among the developed countries will create flutter and tremor in the far off impoverished Timbuktu.
The myopic and narrow concept of GDP as the measure for success and economic growth is outdated and should be jettisoned. If the world in its scramble for growth or development has nothing to sustain and leave for posterity then such agenda is not development but a death knell.

The end of the story is that opulence and extravagance or living beyond one’s means by a distant cousin on the other side of the Atlantic will siphon the meager savings of the poor cousin on the far side of the world, in the Indian Ocean. In fact the perilous fellow has to borrow to bail out the other-his rich distant cousin! It is like the annual UN General Assembly and frequent Security Council meetings! Have these prosaic conferences managed to stave off  wars, a systematic genocides? 

As for sustainable development it is a well coined phrase and pickled in hypocrisy. I wonder if there is any one in the world who would bate an eyelid for something beyond the threshold of his comfort.


sujata said...

I agree totally with your view. This holds true for another concept that the developed countries have suitably coined - The earth hour. The west has increased carbon footprints, has exploited the environment and nature to the maximum and now it preachhes earth hour to the underdeveloped countries, who feel only to glad to ape anything the west say is good! I think America and Europe should stay away from power and oil for a complete year probably then there would be a minute difference to the harm they have already caused.

Insignia said...


Agreed. We will continue to work hard while they party and our money will go to bail them out! Thats the strategy created by developed world. Disgusting!

Practice what you preach is not the anthem there..Spoil everything and later preach is what it is

rama said...

I totally agree with your points, nothing can be achieved by such non productive meetings, and the money spent in organising such meetings could definitely be spent on more important issues. Talk less and do more should be the motto.

Ruprekha said...

Agree absolutely. These so called high profile conferences are nothing but burdens on some. The big powers which have done the most damage and still doing by these exercise.

A New Beginning said...

I totally agree with you, whats the use of such conferences when
no solution is extracted out of them....
Very well written.

Meera Sundararajan said...

These summits really serve no purpose!

....Petty Witter said...

You always have such an interesting take on these things, thanks for raising some important issues.

anilkurup said...

@ Sujata/@insignia/@rama/@Ruprekha/@ A new Beginning/@ Meera Sundarajan/@ Petty Witter

There seems to be unanimity in our thoughts on such fantasies and meets. But what else could we do other than grudgingly pay our taxes for the extravagance of these folks?

anilkurup said...

@ Sujata/@insignia/@rama/@Ruprekha/@ A new Beginning/@ Meera Sundarajan/@ Petty Witter

There seems to be unanimity in our thoughts on such fantasies and meets. But what else could we do other than grudgingly pay our taxes for the extravagance of these folks?