Social media is essentially a marketing platform people use to promote themselves—and their egos. One alarming trend involves people from first world countries taking selfies with poor children in places like Africa and South America. This kind of faux humanitarianism is self-serving and racist, argues Tim Robertson, and speaks volumes about the problem with so much of Western aid.
China’s one-child policy is frequently framed as an economic and social imperative, implemented not wilfully, but rather as a necessity. Those favoring this argument often fail to acknowledge that the supposed necessity of state-sanctioned birth control came after decades of Mao Zedong dictating that the population give birth to hordes of children, so they could prop up the numbers of the People’s Liberations Army (PLA) and contribute to the country’s labor drive. The wombs of Chinese women have thus been the property of the state from the time the Communist Party came to power.
The Ebola epidemic encapsulates the inequality that is one of the defining features of this neoliberal age: The world’s poorest are most affected, but have neither the resources nor means to manage. While the world’s richest, with both the resources and the means, react in a manner that best serves their own political and economic interests.
It’s reflective of just how punitive Australia’s refugee policy has become that the government still has the ability to horrify thinking Australians this long after Kevin Rudd announced his PNG Solution. At the time it seemed the lowest ebb in what has been a very dark decade for Australia’s treatment of the world’s most vulnerable people. But under Scott Morrison, there have been almost weekly revelations of further brutality inflicted upon refugees that still have the power to shock and abhor a nation that has long struggled to empathise with non-white victims.