Monday, 8 June 2009

That little bit of humanity

An anonymous person commented in Disparities Insanities Inhumanities saying that scenarios mentioned there-in can only be eliminated if we revive communism. He (assumed he) spoke like a true intellect; filled with knowledge that communism can kill the evil capitalism. However, he lacks wisdom.

An intellect will say “revive communism”, a wise man will say “amplify socialism”. I am not asking all of us to be Robin Hood and rob the rich and give to the poor. Rather, I would prefer to have the rich to voluntarily do something for the poor.

In the movie
“Home” which was screened last Friday, it was mentioned that 2% of the world population possess 50% of the world’s wealth. If you ignore human rights and seize all the wealth from these rich 2% and make the 2% to be on par with the rest of the 98% world population, then it’s communism. No, I am not asking for that.

Socialism is asking the 2% to relinquish 20% of their wealth to help the rest of the 98%. Simple maths will tell you that 20% of the 2% who possess 50% of the world’s wealth is equal to 10% of the world’s wealth. Can you imagine what 10% of the world’s wealth can do to the world?

Unfortunately, for someone who has $100m to give away $20m is akin to a crime. Instead, someone with $100m wants his wealth to increase to $120m and this someone doesn’t care the additional $20m is going to come from those who hardly have $20k. That’s capitalism

A very good example of socialism was also mentioned in the movie
“Home”. It was a point which fascinated me. It’s truly an epitome of socialism.

The movie mentioned about a man who established a bank in Bangladesh which will ONLY lend to the poor, changing the lives of many people in Bangladesh. I did some research and found out that this institution is known as
Grameen Bank.

Based on Wikipedia, this bank does not require a guarantee or collateral. There is no signed contract and repayment is purely based on trust. Have you ever heard of such “bank”? Remember those times you get a call from the bank when you miss your credit card payment deadline by just 1 day?
I find it heart warming to know that in the midst of a cruel capitalist world, there is a bank which is doing things totally against the orthodox. Certainly, there are quarters criticising this bank claiming that it has put the poor into debts. But I think this bank has redefine the meaning of “debts”. And I see it as giving the poor a venue to obtain a source for survival. I see it as a bank fulfilling its true purpose… providing funding to those who are truly in need.

It’s about not about complaining about disparity. It’s not about despising insanity. It’s about giving birth that tad bit of humanity.


2 years ago…
Zewt mystery in century entry

30 comments:

ikanbilis said...

praise the Lord for the wonderful humble founder of the bank.

Anonymous said...

You're both wrong.

Money is obsolete.

Watch Star Trek.

:^)

Cindy Khor said...

wonderfully written. now i'm starting to guess who those 2% are... i know bill gates's one of them.

beezee~bee said...

...and a tad bit of humanity with a whole bit of humility please!

some do it for the sake of 'publicity' and that's a shame.

Jerine said...

Cindy Khor: The De Beers family is in one of the 2%. I don't think Bill Gates is one of them.

I don't think any particular economy system can be better than another. It's all depends on what the country wants to achieve actually. In poor country like Kenya needs communism. Poor people outweighs the rich. In this community, the rich often exploits the poor, so there is no progress in the society. However, in developing countries, you need capitalism to encourage competition. And in developed countries, you need market socialism to maintain the development.

I wish to comment more on this, but I guess I would be writing a blog post here if I continue.

Fi-sha said...

Dear Zewt

Thanks for sharing for this heartwarming reality when people nowadays see these 2 words - "poor" and "help" - too cumbersome to even think about let alone do something about it.

Have a great day Zewt!

Swee Ping said...

Yeah, what the founder Prof. Muhammad Yunus does for his society is really amazing. The micro-finance helps to improve the live of the poor, in ways that the banks fails to do.

pinknpurplelizard said...

Mohd Yunus was a pioneer of microfinancing (i think he is coz i dunno any others). His main aim was just to help his own community.

Sometimes the debt incurred by some thru illegal means are caused by desperation but most of the time it is stupidity. Stupidity coz of gambling - they need to 'borrow' to fuel their destructive habits. Others have credit card debt coz they wanna live lifestyles they cant afford. Suze Orman said that its normal for majority of Americans to have about USD600 credit card debt monthly.

Every philosophy like socialism, democracy, communism, dictatorships, etc works in certain cultures and set-ups only. It is not a one drug solution for everyone. Usually the ones that fail the philosophy are the leaders and/or the officials in charge.

-eiling- said...

As people get richer, they loose their humanity. Is so unfair that the rich gets richer (and easily) and the poor remains poor.

Klaw said...

That's why the founder won a Nobel Prize or something like that.

He's the pioneer of microcredit schemes.

pavlova said...

Commnunism certainly doesn't work.
Look at China. Only their political system is communism based now. They are slowly opening up their markets to capitalism.
The only true Stalinist state is North Korea...

Communism is a very dangerous ground as it can lead to absolute dictatorship, again pointing out to North Korea.
There is no real economy in North Korea anymore, they are relying heavily on foreign aid.

Cuba is another communist state, but who knows how long it'll last under Fidel.

So if you see the models of communism around the world, none of them have really stood the test of time.
Capitalism in itself, isn't a great model either. But Americans, being Americans, who tie socialism to communism, I don't think we would see them becoming socialists anytime soon, as hard as dear Obama tries his best.

So far the 'wealthy' countries, or the ones who rank top in the OECD like Western European countries (e.g UK, Germany, France, Switzerland etc), Australasia (Australia and New Zealand) all have a mixture of both capitalism and socialism.
You still need some government intervention to 'ensure' that corporate entities are not out there to 'get the people'.

But then again, maybe Asians just want to make as much money as possible.
To Asians, what is humanity if it can't put food on the table?

fufu said...

the rich one getting richer while the poor one still poor or some getting poorer... sigh...this the reality... capitalism >.<

3point8 said...

hmmm... Grameen Bank, repayment based on trust. sounds dodgy to me.
I wonder what would happen if someone misuse that trust, Especially if a powerful ring leader is using a mob to abuse that collective trust.

Hmmmmm........
Oh well, if the bank is still surviving a few years down the road and if the community has truly benefited from this system, then I suppose its a good thing.

aShLeY said...

I didn't know there exist sucha bank... Pardon for my ignorance. Anyways, it's really heartening to know that a system based on trust still exist, especially so when money is involved.

Anonymous said...

Dear Zewt,

you said

"An intellect will say “revive communism”, a wise man will say “amplify socialism”. I am not asking all of us to be Robin Hood and rob the rich and give to the poor. Rather, I would prefer to have the rich to VOLUNTARILY do something for the poor."

Which world are you living in? Wise people dont say that. They know how humans behave. How about you voluntarily give 50% of your wealth to the poor?

U wrote a weak piece on socialism. I think everybody knows what socialism is (except cindy khor). What they dont know is how to make it work as it should be. Maybe a wise man like you can propose to the White House a workable socialist system to eliminate disparities.

While u are at it, i would also prefer that JERINE look up the forbes for the list of richest people.

The original anonymous

Anonymous said...

ashley,

The pakistani culture is different. Not paying back money you borrowed is considered very shameful, akin to you mating in public. So their microcredit system is workable.

in our society, there is no shame if you dont pay back. No shame if you take kickbacks. No shame if you are a corrupt. So it wont work here.

Btw, you are hot. I want to start a bank called hotfinancing. Only for HOT people. If they dont pay back, then the law must allow my bank to scar the face of the person depending on the size of the loan.

The original anonymous

zewt said...

ikanbilis - hello, welcome. Praise the Lord indeed.

anon @ 9/6 12.07am - hahahaha... but we have not reached that stage yet, have we?

Cindy Khor - i think he is.

beezee~bee - unfortunately, that is so true.

Jerine - blog it... it will be enligtening to read it.

zewt said...

Fi-sha - always a pleasure to share.

Swee Ping - he deserves his recognition no matter what others say.

pinknpurplelizard - too deep :P .... i think we should all strive towards a comfortable life for everyone, that no one should be exploited.

-eiling- - an affluent society loses its humanity... think i have blogged about that before, the exact title.

Klaw - he truly deserves it.

zewt said...

pavlova - that's right... a good combination of capitalism and socialism. that's what i am talking about. but we all know, to find the perfect equilibrium is almost impossible.

fufu - thus, we need a dose of socialism.

3point8 - well, if the institution is not all about making money, then it's not dodgy.

aShLeY - when profit is not the motive, a lot of good things can emerge from our human heart.

the original anonymous - i live in a world where there are jus too many ppl like you. just becos we live in the real world does not mean we cannot be real to our heart. if i am to give 50% of my wealth to the poor, i will not be able to commit to a lot of things. besides 50% of what i have is not much. but 50... not 50 but 20% of the rich can do wonders to others.... and the rich can still enjoy the lifestyle after doing that. if i give away 50% of my wealth, i will have to alter my lifestyle tremendously. sounds like an excuse, i know... but truth nonetheless.

you have something against cindy eh?

Ah Siang said...

Most political idelogies are ideal but flawed because to err is human. Humans at best are flawed. You may have a perfect system but there will be always someone there to exploit it.
Look at communism vs democracy. China is a communist country and does so well, and on the other hand, India the world largest democracy still has a huge poverty rate. But then, there are also many poor communist countries. Because if I earn the same as a peer without regards to how much effort i put in, why I work hard for?

Is capitalism ideal ?
US, and most western countries practices captilism + democracy, which we now are experiencing the effects when it failed. Capitalism progress but at the same time is vulnerable to manipulation and corruption by the leaders.

So to me, the most important thing is the leader. If he is good, then the country prosper, and if not, the otherwise happens.

On Giving 50%..its terribly hard.

Thats why, there is a parable on who is more blessed, the lady who has one penny, donates the penny to the temple or the rich who have 1000 pennies and donate 20 pennies to the temple.

Kudos to micro financing, but it's also vulnerable to corruption. Our Dasar Ekonomi Baru is something like that except it benefits only certin racial group.

Ah Siang said...

Most political idelogies are ideal but flawed because to err is human. Humans at best are flawed. You may have a perfect system but there will be always someone there to exploit it.
Look at communism vs democracy. China is a communist country and does so well, and on the other hand, India the world largest democracy still has a huge poverty rate. But then, there are also many poor communist countries. Because if I earn the same as a peer without regards to how much effort i put in, why I work hard for?

Is capitalism ideal ?
US, and most western countries practices captilism + democracy, which we now are experiencing the effects when it failed. Capitalism progress but at the same time is vulnerable to manipulation and corruption by the leaders.

So to me, the most important thing is the leader. If he is good, then the country prosper, and if not, the otherwise happens.

On Giving 50%..its terribly hard.

Thats why, there is a parable on who is more blessed, the lady who has one penny, donates the penny to the temple or the rich who have 1000 pennies and donate 20 pennies to the temple.

Kudos to micro financing, but it's also vulnerable to corruption. Our Dasar Ekonomi Baru is something like that except it benefits only certin racial group.

pavlova said...

zewt, pardon my french...

but

in response to Ah Siang, this "To Err is Human" is a complete load of bullshit when it comes to defending our political system.

So just because we humans are not perfect that we can just say "Oh, our system is corrupt just because we humans are imperfect"

Then might as well go cheat on your wife/husband. When you spouse catches you in bed with another lover, simply just shrug and turn around saying: Oh, well, to err is human.

"We need to have a good leader".

Who is responsible for voting the leader?
We.

Who is responsible in keeping the leaders/ powers to be in check?
We.

But do we even care? No.

My parents go to ceramahs, talks on how corrupt the system is and how we should voice up and create change, but behind closed doors, they still praise good things about Malaysia.
Such hypocrisy drives me mad.

So yeah, it's time we have some guts/balls and have a stand, whether you like the country or not and stop creating excuses.

Anonymous said...

pavlova,

Your analogies are off the mark by a mile. You parents are wise. They know how to differentiate Malaysia from the people who run Malaysia.

Sadly, you aint. From the way you write....your brain is equal to the average 20 year old at best. Hope your body is around that age.

Dear Zewt,

Hahah..i wish there were more people like u. We need more optimists. And i have nothing against Cindy. She's hot.

Anonymous said...

Pavlova

Have you even casted your vote during the last election? It's always easy to point fingers at others which to my dismay even towards your own parents. Ask yourself what have you done for the country.
If you have guts, go thrash out things with your parents and not release your frustration over them here.

zewt said...

Ah Siang - good analogy on the old lady vs the rich man. i suppose you know your parable well.

pavlova - when it comes to politics, it's just doesnt gell, isnt it?

the original anonymous - ppl run away becos of the attitude of those who stay.

Anonymous said...

to the 2 Anonymous above: Spot on. Talk is cheap.

to Zewt: ppl run away not because of the people who stay. 98% of the people don't have an option to leave. Do your parents, your family and many of your friends have the option to migrate? Did you plan to migrate because of the attitude of these people, your family? For the fortunate 2% who got the option to leave, many have forgotten their roots and begin to put down the country of their birth. They have forgotten who put them there (overseas) in the first place. These "bananas" don't contribute taxes, they don't contribute anything to this country and they worship and sing praises to their adopted country. Like the Malay saying "kacang lupakan kulit". They choose to ignore their second class treatment and subtle racialism they face in their adopted country. Again, this country and its politics are 2 mutually exclusive entities. Don't hate the country and its people because of some low life politicians.

Anonymous 3.

Anonymous said...

pavlova,

show us your balls. reveal yourself and your brave deeds.

attending ceramahs doesnt mean you have balls.

the original anonymous

Bee Ean said...

Zewt,

Do not idealize socialism. In some countries, it is not the 2% who are paying 20% to the poor. They are asking 90% of the population to finance the 10% poor who become too comfortable and ask for more. At the end, people in the middle class have to low grade their lifestyle so that those who are considered poor but in some case do not work hard to come out of the situation can update their lifestyle. In socialism, middle class is the one that are being penalized.

About the bank in Bangladesh, we had a documentary on it. They interviewed some borrowers, and in fact these poor people who have no project in their mind, just lie so that they can get a loan and help go through difficult times. They know since the beginning that they won't be able to pay back. At the end, this bank has a lot of bad loan and thus preventing it to borrow more towards people who really want to start a business.

Anonymous said...

BEE EAN,

Please get your facts right. You are a classic example of people who spread falsehood. U say the bank has alot of bad loans....show us the percentage of bad loans...quote a reliable source.

As far as i know, this bank you are talking about in bangladesh has the highest loan repayment rate in the continent. What documentary did you do? What compelled you to say what u did?


The original anonymous

zewt said...

Anonymous 3 - i am afraid i cant draw a line between this country and the politicians becos everyday, the quality of the air that i breath is directly linked to these politicians. and since i continuously breath... i cant draw a line. i decide to leave (in the future) becos both for myself and becos of those 98% who thinks this place is the best place in the world.

the original anonymous - and commenting behind an anonymous nick isnt either.

anyway, interesting point on grameen bank. looks like it's really doing well.

Bee Ean - everything is subject to abuse. however, as long as the majority still benefits... and i mean the majority of the needy... then i guess it has served its purpose.