Monbiot on British imperial record

My attention has just been drawn (on Facebook) to an article by George Monbiot on the true record of British exploitation of its colonies during its imperial heyday.  It was actually written several years ago, and I don’t know why whoever posted it sees it as relevant now, but I think an up to date comment is in order.

I confess, I was reassured by the apparently carefully fostered illusion that British imperialism was at least less vicious than most others, but my passionately Socialist father certainly made sure I did not fall for the ‘civilizing as our main or only motive’ clap trap.

But even in 2012, when George wrote this Guardian article, if the story had a topical hook, I am not now aware of it. The question is, what should I personally, or Britain generally have done about it in 2012 or do now, in 2019?

Personally, I am transfixed by the developing ecological crisis. My Asperger’s ‘gift’, as Greta Thunberg calls it, enables me to see a vision of a prosperous, thriving world, but not only is that vision unlikely to become a reality, the way  towards it will be seen as unrealistic. I see the basic income as key, but I must reiterate my usual comment that failing any better ideas, its purpose is simply to make that vision feasible’

The most urgent problem is to halt the major polluters. But this depends on us not buying their products, and the Basic income, in tandem with taxation has a part to play. However, it is the next stage to which my response to Monbiot’ article is more relevant.

I would see countries with wealth to spare helping other countries to achieve sustainable economies. Just as the basic income operates at a personal level, it is irrelevant how the rich became rich, or the poor became poor. It is in the interests of both to behave sustainably. The same principle applies as between nation states. One obvious motive for larger than replacement families is the hard reality that not all will survive, but this is increasingly translating into migration.

My crazy vision is of a scheme whereby rich nations (never mind how) offer impoverished nations a guarantee that each woman’s first two children will reach adulthood. This would require rather more thn the currnet target of 0.7% of GDP. A World Basic Income is for me an obvious development.

The deal is that the beneficiaries do limit their families accordingly. My Asperger’s gift obscures my  view of the enoromous obstacles to such a course of action, but if anyone mentions cultural factors, what will become of such cultures as a consequence of the coming ecological crisis?

But if guilt about past crimes makes this unrealistic offer slightly less crazy . . .

 

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