King Midas Story, Then as Now, Lacks Happy Ending: This Society Is Taking on More of the Characteristics of So-Called Underdeveloped Countries; an Ever-Widening Gap between a Growing Class of Have-Nots
The Midas myth is an allegory for our times. We are witnessing a rapid and accelerating concentration of wealth. For those few who have the Midas touch, everything is turning to gold. What they apparently refuse to recognize is the grim reality of tire lesson of the myth. You cannot eat gold. Once the process reaches its logical conclusion, all that is left is a mountain of worthless metal.
The process is occurring equally at the world and national levels. Fr. Xabier Gorostiaga, rector of the Central American University in Nicaragua and Latin America's foremost economist, says we are living in a champagne-glass civilization in which 20 percent of the world's inhabitants own 83 percent of global income, while 60 percent survive with only 6 percent of the income.
The concentration of knowledge is even higher, with 10 percent controlling 90 percent of the research capital at the top universities.
The gap is not only enormous. It grows constantly wider. A recent U.N. report on development reveals that the breach between the rich countries (the North) and the poor countries (the South) has widened from a ratio of 1-to-30 in the 1960s to 1-to-150 in 1992. During that same period, the share of world trade enjoyed by 80 percent of humankind fell from 28 percent to 18 percent.
The debt owed by the South to the North multiplied 14 times to the unimaginable total of $1.4 trillion. so that today poor nations spend. on average, $43 per person annually on debt service, while they can find only $35 per person for health and education combined.
What has happened at the world level has similarly happened at the national level. Economist John Kenneth has described the process for the United States in A Journey Through Economic Time (Houghton Mifflin, 1994). This society is taking on more of the characteristics of so-called underdeveloped countries: an ever-widening gap between a growing class of have-nots, not only economically but to an increasing extent physically segregated from the dwindling number of beneficiaries of the system.
All of this, of course, is not just happenstance. It follows inexorably from the world "order" imposed by the industrialized nations of the North. The primary instruments of this control are the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which are controlled by the Group of Seven industrialized nations. …