Space Aliens horrified by Earth


An alien spacecraft surveying the earth would surely be astounded by the 'civilisation' that inhabits it. On the one hand it has sent men to the moon and sequenced the human genome. On the other tens of millions die every year because they lack access to basic medicine and clean water. 2.6 billion people have no access to sanitation, 2 billion have no electricity and 100 million are homeless. How can this be?

After some time they might notice that a minute and almost invisible layer of super rich must somehow be controlling the entire planet in their interests. In fact the wealth of the three most well-to-do individuals now exceeds the combined GDP of the 48 least developed countries. 3 billion people live on less than $2 per day. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates had more wealth than the bottom 45 percent of American households combined in 1999.

And yet, except for small minorities most seem to accept this system. Almost as if in a dream they work the land, the mines and the factories that produce all the wealth but seem unaware that most of what they produce is pocketed by the tiny elite. Business Week reported that in 1999 top executives earned 419 times the average wage of a US blue-collar worker. Between 1970 and 1990, the typical American worked an additional 163 hours per year. That's equivalent to adding an additional month of work per year - for the same or less pay.

They might wonder how this tiny layer pull off such a scheme. Is it by brainwashing? Is it by repression? Perhaps theories would develop around control of the media, control of education and the huge number in jail for petty theft. But the question remains, why don't the overwhelming majority rise up? What is holding them back?


This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper 'Workers Solidarity'.

This edition is No61 published in November 2000

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