I hear it all the time. ‘Emerging nations’, ‘Tiger economies’, and ‘emerging markets’. India, China, Brazil, Mexico, Taiwan, South Korea, Turkey and Russia are just a few of the countries highlighted as being part of this exciting new capitalistic ‘dream-club’. They are collectively known as the Eagle’s (Emerging and Growth-Leading Economies).
Last week India declared that it had a nuclear missile that could reach the heart of China. It reminded me of the vast amounts of money that some of these nations have spent in the past few years putting rockets and satellites into space. Without doubt India, the largest democracy on Earth, is stamping its mark on the 21st century as a country with far reaching, ambitions and very expensive plans. An Indian rocket has even been into orbit around the moon the purpose of which, apparently, was to map the surface. Somebody should have told them to Google ‘moon map’: the Americans did that years ago! Even China, ironically Communist, has woken to the rewards that may be derived from a democratic attitude to money. But at what cost? I ask that question only because I am often exasperated at some of the misplaced financial priorities of our own government’s spending. In 2008, apart from hosting a very expensive Olympic games, the Chinese managed to get a man into orbit for their first ever space walk. It lead me to wonder what the average Indian or Chinese farmer living on the streets of Mumbai or working the fields surrounding Beijing might think of the financial aspirations of their respective governments. In the last two week our government declared its plans to limit the tax relief that could be claimed by wealthy benefactors. I think it would have been better to seriously research the final destinations of such financial succour. Around the world there are millions of people working tirelessly, often for no reward, for charitable organisations that provide much needed cash to help relieve the pain and suffering of poverty. However, given the sheer wealth of countries like India and China, has the time come to stop providing aid to the new wealth-drenched leaders amongst the Eagle nations? Shouldn’t they be pressured into rethinking their own wealth distribution? Not wishing to be too frivolous or to make to light of a serious subject, but how would it make you feel if you discovered that there was a charity somewhere in India that was collecting second hand clothes and cash to help relieve the poverty on the streets of Corby or Market Harborough? The bottom line is surely not how cash-rich a country is, but more a case of what it does with that money. No one can tell other governments how to control their budgets, but surely there has to be a way of persuading some that charity really does begin at home. I’m constantly being told that even today, as we struggle to pay-back our vast economic deficit, Britain is still, based on GDP, the seventh largest economy on Earth. Oddly enough, China is in second place, Brazil is sixth, Russia ninth and India is in eleventh place. When Ewan McGregor travels to India to highlight the lack of an effective immunisation programme it make’s one wonder how many other western film crews are wondering around the ‘Eagle’s’ highlighting things that ought to be done by individual governments