South Asia is one of the poorest regions of earth and I live here. It has nearly 1.5 billion people living in 8 countries and India alone has over 1 billion people. Then there areBangladesh and Pakistan with 150 million people each. South Asiais also home to the largest number of poor people on earth and for millions of people, life is like a struggle for getting 3 meals a day. Now, USA and other western countries are suffering from economic recession and today, I was thinking that this ongoing economic recession is bringing some changes in the life style of rich countries like USA and Japan. I felt that these changes in the rich countries may bring the people closer to South Asian people. I have made a list of 10 things in this regard.
- Living with parents: I was reading this earlier today: Daughter’s job loss brings her home
Dear Harriette: My 24-year-old daughter recently lost her job and asked if she could move back into our family home. She has lived with her boyfriend for the past three years, and he is not working, either. Her plan is that they will share her childhood bedroom. Under my roof? I know she has lost her mind! — Diane,E. Lansing
This looks like a shocking thing for both the mother and the daughter in a country like America. However, for millions of young people in South Asia, it is a part of life. We live with our elders in most cases. This is still not shocking in any society of South Asia. I guess that some American young men and women will perhaps be forced to be like us at least for the time being.
- Turning to Religion: In South Asia, people turn to religion in times of despair. They pray a lot. They visit shrines with the hope of getting heavenly blessing. In the Western countries, people are much less religious compared to South Asian people. Today, in BBC or CNN, I watched a report that in Japan, many people are now visiting religious shrines and donating money with the hope that it can help them. You can read this too: Americans find hope in religion
- Unemployment: South Asia is famous for high unemployment rate. You can find many people living in the streets in the big cities. You can find many people without land in the rural areas. Well, things are not so bad in the western countries but still, many people in USA andEurope are losing jobs. Just read the two reports:
Indian Exporters May Cut 10 Million Jobs
2008 Job Losses Probably Worst Since 1945
- Less Consumption and less Luxury: I live in Bangladesh and I belong to Middle Class income group here. My family does not own a car. We have no washing machine, just one refrigerator, no Oven. We cannot dream of going to a foreign country even once in a decade. Going to movies is like an annual event rather than weekly entertainment. I still could not get a laptop and buying a laptop is like a dream for me. The on going economic recession is forcing people in the west to spend less money. At least, car sales figures showed a significant drop.
- Government bailout and subsidy: Let us turn our attention to politics and economy. Western government officials often prescribe to third world countries that they should eliminate economic subsidy and should not bailout any sick industry. In the last few weeks, we have seen governments in USA and Europecoming out in support (bail out) of some big banks and auto industry.
- Budget deficit: All over South Asia, two organizations suffer a lot of criticism- World Bank and IMF. These two organizations are strong supporters of free market economy and capitalism. They are also against any kind of budget deficit. Now, inUSA, Budget deficit to reach $1.2 trillion. Still, US government perhaps cannot afford to listen to the prescriptions of IMF and World Bank because of growing pressure from the ordinary people. The same thing happens in South Asia too.
- Seeking Second Job: In my city, house rent consumers a major portion of monthly salary for most people. For example, for many years, I worked for 30 days and got the salary or wage on the first week and then brought the money to home and gave it to my landlady. Then, work for the next month and repeating the same ritual. I felt lucky when I could find a second job/project. This is a common story for many of my friends and relatives. Now, it seems that similar thing is happening in the US too: Many seek second job in recession.
- Social Unrest: This is nothing new for us in South Asia. We are used to seeing people going to the street and violence taking place. One of the common reasons for social unrest is poverty and unemployment. Fortunately, it has not happened inAmerica or in Europe yet but it may happen sooner rather than later if the on going economic term oil continues for a long time.
- Uncertainty: In all the big cities of South Asia, thousands of people live in the streets. Even many middle class people cannot dream of buying a home or even an apartment. Our life is always full of uncertainty. Just a big disease is enough to make us very poor as health insurance is not that much common. On the other hand, people in the Western countries have social security and stability in life. The death of a father does not result in the end of education for the children. The economic recession has been able to bring some kind of uncertainty for them.
- Difficult Loan: People living in rich countries have no idea how difficult it is for us to get any kind of loan from bank. Most of us do not have any credit card. So, we are often at the mercy of fate to pass on difficult times. I see that Americans are finding it difficult to get easy loan too: Mortgage rates are low, but loans difficult to get
I wish that the economic crisis finishes within the next few months but I see hardly any scope to be hopeful. If you are from a rich country then remember that millions of people living in South Asia have even worse condition than you.