[LETTERS to the editor]Income gaps are the cause of conflictsCivil wars and strife are prevalent worldwide, especially in Third World countries. A distinguished professor at Harvard University, Samuel P. Huntington, said in his book “The Clash of Civilizations and Remaking the World Order” in 1996 that conflicts between social classes, groups defined as economically rich and poor, which occurred during the Cold War, will happen within civilizations; while violence between states and groups of different cultures and ethnicities will spread all over the world.
Judged by appearances, the Darfur conflict ― a discord that began in February 2003 in the Darfur region of western Sudan, mainly between the Janjaweed, a militia group recruited from local Arab tribes, and the non-Arab peoples of the region ― Mr. Huntington’s theory seems to be right.
In other conflicts such as the genocide that took place in Rwanda in 1994 or the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia ― which were sparked by warfare between rival ethnic groups of Serbs, Croats and Muslims in 1991 ― the collisions we see these days seem to only occur among different cultural and ethnic groups.
In that respect, it is possible to agree with the theory, but in my perspective, the fundamental cause of these frays originates from growing economic gaps between the developed countries and the least developed countries.
Polarization grows graver day after day. A joint report by the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy institute found that the incomes of the poorest 20 percent in Sudan grew on average by only $2,660 over the last 20 years. At the other end of the spectrum, the richest 20 percent of the country saw their wealth grow by $45,100 over the same period.
Pragmatic solutions should include more contributions from developed nations if we want to live in a less violent world.
by Hyun- Min Lee