30 Sep, 08 | by Deborah Kirklin
As I write, much of the information rich world is focussed on the precarious state of the highly interrelated global financial structures. For many others, the daily struggle to survive, coupled with lack of access to minute-to-minute updates about these unsettling events, means they remain unaware of the economic drama unfolding around the world. This, unfortunately, will not protect them from the inevitable fallout of these disturbing developments.
The relationship between health and poverty is well established. The reliance of a large proportion of the world’s population on cheap food has been brought into stark relief by food riots in a number of countries, sparked by rising food prices and the hunger and fear this inevitably evokes.
Even in so-called emerging markets- those parts of the world like China and India where growth far outstrips that in older more established industrial economies- there is rising concern about what a collapse of the financial system would mean for these fledging economies.
So as politicians in Washington struggle to find it within themselves to vote for an expensive bailout that might lose them their jobs come the November US elections, I wonder if it is anything other than naive to ask them to contemplate the human dimension, within and well beyond America, of their decisions. To echo a well worn metaphor, if America catches pneumonia not only will the world sneeze but many many people around the world will find themselves out of work, unable to eat and care for themselves and their families, and life expectancy for the poorest and most vulnerable in all parts of the world will shorten. more…