I Wish They Told Me This Shit In School

Despite being a student of history, philosophy, and international relations, and with almost half a decade of experience in working in international development, I still find myself struggling to understand the world in which we live.

No doubt, this learning process will take an entire lifetime, and even then I will encounter things that seem to make no sense.

With that being said, at the ripe old age of 27, I think I have discovered 31 lessons that have helped to improve my understanding.

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Be The Change You Want To See In The World

The title of this piece is a quote often wrongly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, and though Gandhi never said such words, the message remains true enough.

I am a firm believer in the idea that if you are not an activist, you are an inactivist. If you do not actively pursue a life that attempts to change the system, then you are ultimately a part of the system itself. Complaining is not enough to redeem yourself, neither is voicing dissatisfaction online, and neither is voting once every five years. It is your actions, not your thoughts or opinions, who define who you are. And actions are conducted every hour of every day.

It is the widely held belief that we are unable to change anything that prevents many of us from trying. This belief provides a shield to those we would hope to usurp and a reassuring comfort to those of us who have thought the thought, but then shied away from acting. By telling ourselves that it would have made no difference anyway, we let ourselves off the hook. The guilt and perhaps even shame is removed and we can continue our day-to-day lives.

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On Philanthrocapitalism – Part Four

The fact that I have to go to a fourth 2,000-word blog post in order to analyse the failings of Philanthrocapitalism and my displeasure at its argument says something in itself.

Most of the books that I read and find myself disagreeing with would not merit an 8,000 word essay, but such is the intensity and attempted persuasive power of Philanthrocapitalism that it is necessary to deconstruct just how far off the mark it is. The entire “the rich can save the world” theory is at best misleading, and at worst an outright lie. Now that we are on to the fourth blog post on the topic, I hope that you are beginning to see this.

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On Philanthrocapitalism – Part Three

To continue with our analysis of Philanthrocapitalism we will return to the book, and a character who appears more than a few times throughout its pages.

Bill Gates compares his Foundation and his charitable endeavours to government and big business. He structures it in such a way that it mimics that of governmental agencies, and such is his dedication that he now works for the Foundation in a full time capacity. However, he believes that his Foundation is not big enough to solve certain issues, malaria being one that he mentions.

Quite rightly he recognises that The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation alone cannot solve all of the world’s problems, and he realises that in order to tackle such global issues one would need global organisations and cooperation. Curiously though he does not recognise, or at least admit, that such organisations already exist. The United Nations (UN) has existed since 1945, UNICEF since 1946, and the International Red Cross with its 97 million volunteers since 1885. If such organisations are to be the ones that help tackle global issues would it not be better if Gates gave his time, money, and support to them instead of establishing his own Foundation. A Foundation, which even by his own admission, has its limitations.

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Should Governmental Policy Be Based On Ideology or Evidence?

Ideology –
“A system of ideas and ideals, especially one which forms the basis of economic
or political theory and policy”

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