Martin Luther King (MLK) was born 90 years ago now, and he remains rightfully so, fondly remembered and admired. The Baptist minister and social activist found his calling helping lead the American Civil Rights movement from the mid 1950s until his assassination on the 4 April 1968.
While I could talk to you for hours about the amazing and brave work MLK did for his fellow man in fighting the darkness of racism, you can get that anywhere and again rightfully so. Instead I am going to talk to you about what we can do to truly remember the great man, and use his message to find the injustices we continue to fight today.
Poverty and Inequality
This week Oxfam told us once again of the horrific scale of inequality that can be seen hanging over the world. With the 26 richest billionaires owning the financial assets equivalent to the poorest 3.8 billion people in the world. That 3.8 billion accounting for roughly 50% of earth’s population. A stat made even more drastic when you take into account 2017 and 2016’s numbers. Where that 50% owned the same level of assets as the richest 43 billionaires in 2017, and 61 billionaires in 2016.
This is a devolving situation as more and more people are being dragged down into degrading poverty. Meanwhile the richest get richer. However, despite the prevalence of this issue and the growing numbers of those facing the massive affects of such inequality; little to nothing is being done to control it or prevent it. A statement which stood out to myself in the Oxfam report which highlights the UK governments failure to take the issue seriously was that the poorest 10% of Britons end up paying an equivalent, or higher, level of tax than the richest 10% of Britons once consumption taxes are included. This teams up nicely with rising level of homelessness in the UK and the growing level of Britons relying on food banks to survive.
But never fear the UK has taken the brilliant step of leaving the worlds biggest free trade bloc. Free trade being something economists from near enough all ideologies tell us is great for employment, wealth, peace and equality. Score one to the UK.
The planet is dying due to human caused climate change which shows little to no sign of changing.
Okay I was thinking of just leaving that last sentence just as it is, with no further comment. To me “the planet is dying” should be enough to scare the cows out of you. However, I look around and clearly it has no effect on most of those around. And when I say “around” I don’t just mean ‘in the same room as me’ I mean around the world. Scientists vary on one thing, how long do we have. From my research into scientific papers, we have between 0 years to 40 years before we finish the end game.
The major cause of our devastation is our reliance as a planet on animal agriculture to feed ourselves. Now I could run through all the terrifying statistics and the why but there is a far more interesting and hard hitting way for you to learn. the film Cowspiracy is a must see for everyone. Below is an inforgraphic for the film with just a few on the key stats.
I could insert here a near endless list of social, or economic, issues which needs people fighting for them. (Don’t worry an extract of that list does feature just below). But for now I think it is important the issue of privacy is not forgone. Myself a staunch privacy advocate and academic can happily admit that privacy is an issue which has been courting much needed attention in recent months. Both from governments and individuals. However, the still disappointingly low level of coverage has not materialised into action which is sorely needed.
Above is a clip from the film ‘Snowden’ which is in very little way a metaphor or exagerattion of the issue we currently face as an internet community. However, as anyone with even a basic engagement with recent news will have heard of the recent backlash against social-media sites, especially Facebook. While the recent backlash has raised the issue to even more people, social media and internet giants have massive power. Power over our personal lives and power over the internet. They can control and manipulate both to their whim. With little to no effective push back from global governments, we are leaving the definition of privacy for them to decide. It is likely that by the time you feel your privacy has been violated, your privacy will be a thing of the past.
The List (as promised)
- Growing scarcity of water resources
- Global reliance on plastic and fossil fuels
- Growing prominance of racism
- The various humanitarian crisis’ arising from human conflicts
- Growing censorship and targeting of journalists around the world
- Falling government accountability, as economic hardships continue
- The continuing failure to adapt to socio-drug issue