‘Globalization of Profiteering’ Looms into ‘Globalization of Zoonotic Diseases’!

During the 90’s when the global corporate lobby and their accessories aggressively advocating for and advancing towards establishing the systems of ‘Globalization’, the socially /environmentally concerned communities all over the world warned against the global maneuvering. They predicted various key impacts that are one by one emerging up now. As the corporate houses and their bosses are swindling money as much as possible, the suffering and vulnerability are stretching further for the masses all over the world. At this backdrop, a colossal criminal phenomena spiraled up un-noticed and under-noticed, over the planet – unmindful destruction of the common natural resources – ecology, the structures and systems of all living and non living things. Globalization of ‘private-wealth-accumulation’ spearheaded during 90s now has gave birth to COVID19, one of the dreadful zoonotic dieseases!

Increasingly, says Jones[1], these zoonotic diseases are linked to environmental change and human behaviour. The disruption of pristine forests driven by logging, mining, road building through remote places, rapid urbanisation and population growth is bringing people into closer contact with animal species they may never have been near before, she says.

The resulting transmission of disease from wildlife to humans, she says, is now “a hidden cost of human economic development. There are just so many more of us, in every environment. We are going into largely undisturbed places and being exposed more and more. We are creating habitats where viruses are transmitted more easily, and then we are surprised that we have new ones.”

The avian H5N1 influenza virus that was transmitted to poultry and humans in 1997 in Hong Kong caused high mortality in both species, killing more than 70 percent of chickens and six of the 18 infected humans[2]. (Hong Kong’s location at the crossroads of many trade routes makes it particularly susceptible to the outbreak of new diseases.)

A study on industrial policy initiated by World Bank observed that trade policy regime alone is not sufficient for rapid growth. It advocated that interventions are required to enhance investment in physical and human resource capacities. More importantly, it recognizes for the first time that “economic policies and policy advice must be country specific, if they are to be effective” (World Bank 1993, p. iv).

Sensing the emerging dangers, global level institutional processes started addressing the environmental crises. The major dimensions came out of the discourses were such as, environment and human rights, environment and development, environment and sustainable development. Subsequently scientific perspectives clearly pointed out that ecosystem services and products were the crucial indicators of not only for economical development but basically for the very survival of the human beings. In the light of the above expressions of the scientific community, we could confirm that safe confinement of the potential ‘known and unknown viruses’ of the deep natural resource base, is also very essential to sustain life on earth. We need to realize the truth that only the healthy and un-disturbed ecosystem is capable of confining, containing and keeping such viruses from accessing the human contact.

However, the ‘resource-thirsty’ neo-liberal paradigm of globalized economy goes on disturbing the very ecosystems – forest ecosystem, marine ecosystems, mountain ecosystems, farm ecosystems – all over the world. ‘More the damage to ecosystem means greater the profit for corporates’ is the growth mantra of the neo-liberal economies. The very survival and sustainability of this invasive economic system relies on unmindful looting of common natural resources. Hence this perilous global economic system has altered the political system to float pro-corporate policies, to steer the global media to create favorable opinions, to foster pseudo-nationalistic fervors, to seed hatred among communities, and has started targeting human rights defenders as they linked environment to right to life!

Standing up for the Earth is a dangerous pursuit today. Global Witness report (2019) reveals that around the world, people are murdered and attacked for defending the Earth. 164 environmentalists were killed in 2018. India is placed third in the list. In order to legitimize the process of victimization of the defenders of environment /human rights, nation states of neo-liberal regimes have now started the trend of labelling them ‘anti-nationals’, ‘terrorists’, ‘urban-naxals’ and so on. The attack on the rights defenders was the prelude to the current attack by Corona virus!

Let us reflect on the words of Lynn T. White, Jr. In The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis (1967), 1207: ‘The greatest spiritual revolutionary Western history, Saint Francis, proposed what he thought was an alternative Christian view of nature and man’s relation to it: he tried to substitute the idea of the equality of creatures, including man, for the idea of man’s limitless rule of creation. He failed. Both our present science and our present technology are so tinctured with orthodox Christian arrogance toward nature that no solution for our ecologic crisis can be expected from them alone. Since the roots of our trouble are so largely religious, the remedy must also be essentially religious, whether we call it that or not. We must rethink and re-feel our nature and destiny. The profoundly religious, but heretical, sense of the primitive Franciscans for the spiritual autonomy of all parts of nature may point a direction. I propose Francis as a patron saint for ecologists.’

It is better to realize reality that countering Corona is easier than fighting neo-liberal economy. For its survival Corona relies on human weakness (lack of immunity) whereas neo-liberal virus relies on the powers of its multiple tentacles – hegemony, pseudo-nationalism, jingoism, religious fundamentalism, communal hatred, propagandist media, corporate driven research & development! Corona has a peculiar DNA structure to understand; but the neo-liberal virus has glaringly oppressive and exploitative structures/systems! Maybe the world would shortly defeat the Corona one day. But let us keep in mind that the victory over Corona could sustain only on our victory over the neo-liberal economic system!

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