Profit at a price

International trade has been a regular part of the history of mankind from the days of the silk route to china or the Arab routes to India for spices. Places like Constantinople which were the center of the trade routes were regularly fought over for control of the trade. The Europeans brought a new front in international trade by taking over most of the sources of international trade by taking control of countries.

Over time as independence spread through the world, international trade thrived by the major powers creating power vacuum’s and fostering civil wars. The US, UK, France and Russia kept up profit margins by propping up friendly governments and dictatorships by the constant supply of armaments, ammunitions and have the local economies have an unhealthy dependence on foreign supplies.

The Asian tiger economies of China and now to an extent India seem to have followed this “business model” of achieving trade and profit without addressing any local concerns. Sudan’s economy has a significant dependence on Chinese trade. The Chinese could have pressurized Sudan to stop the massacre in Darfur much earlier, but they have chosen to ignore the issue while hundreds of thousands of people die in the region. Similarly the military junta in Myanmar which has kept the 1994 nobel peace prize winner Aung San Su Kyi under house arrest for the past decade, is propped by mainly by Chinese assistance.

India unfortunately with an eye on the Chinese growth has also started trading with Myanmar without taking any principled stand on the gross human right violitions. India which has historical ties with Iran is also inking new agreements with the state for its natural gas reserves, irrespective of Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and putting the entire middle east in more turmoil.

The Asian economies are now treading on the same paths that the western economies took to grow. This blind quest for power and money will end up with more of the current unequal distribution of wealth while the poor grow poorer. At what price can the profit generated can be justified.