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English 495ESM

7 May 2010

“Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” in India?

            No longer is the United States, the UK, or any other world power the center of economic control. Thanks to a world connected through technology and trade, countries that were first seen as underdeveloped have come to the forefront to become dominant. Globalization has opened the doors for countries to both experience and witness the capitalist dream. The flood gates have been unlocked and now millions want to be part of that dream. For centuries, nations that cried out to be free of colonial subjugation, now want to be part of a world rich in economic status. As, Simon Gikandi states in “Globalization and the Claims of Postcoloniality” regarding the Guinean boys that died in the cargo hold of an airplane bound for Brussels, “The boys were neither seeking cultural hybridity nor ontological difference. Their quest was for a modern life in the European sense of the world; their risky journey from Africa was an attempt to escape both poverty and alterity” (3). Globalization has, in turn, become the means to market financial and industrial wealth. What developing nations see on giant televisions screens or old magazines paint a world where opulence prevails. Everyone owns two cars, has a successful job, and wins big on televised game shows. These images plant seeds of want, and once people realize that it’s not easy to realize this dream of success they are plunged into a world where survival of the fittest prevails; greed, envy, and murder are all seen as acceptable to obtain that dream. So, are critics justified to blame world superpowers, capitalism, or, for that matter, globalization for the corruption and broken dreams developing nations experience? Are nations, akin to the US or the UK, expected to always help those countries in need? Furthermore, should we stop the capitalist propaganda witnessed in magazines, film and television? These are questions that this essay will try to answer.

            Capitalism, with the rise of the industrial revolution, has allowed for many hard working families to climb to the top of the economic ladder. Capitalism allows for competition, and the desire to better ones economic status because people have a goal to achieve and expect to be rewarded for their hard work. There was a time when a man could hold two jobs and with a little inventiveness become independently wealthy. Sadly, however, capitalism also breeds corruption and greed. In an effort to become more economically wealthy and powerful, some may start cutting corners or bribing officials to “look the other way.” As Sir John Dalberg-Acton, 8th Bt, an English historian, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 1887 wrote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”(Web). Some become so corrupt that even murder or other crimes against humanity become acceptable. A perfect example is Maman, the leader of the organization who kidnaps children, blinds them and forces them to beg for money in the film Slumdog Millionaire. He is so desperate for power and wealth that he disregards the life and well being of innocent children. For Maman, economic advancement and the achievement of the capitalist dream of wealth and power are all goals that justify the means. The prospect of having economic power breeds one of humanities’ worst traits – greed.

           Furthermore, capitalism also fosters selfishness. The richer a country becomes the more wealth it wants to amass and therefore if they help a country they usually want something in return, i.e. natural resources. That is not to say that powerful nations won’t aid countries that experience devastating natural disasters, but the norm is that aid will be provided if they receive some form of compensation. However, capitalist nations can’t be blamed for holding back their aid, because they still have to think about their own citizens. For example, in the US, which is considered a superpower, the U.S. Census Bureau in 2008 reports, “39.8 million people (13.2 percent) were in poverty,” and the National Right to Read Foundation states, “42 million American adults can’t read at all; 50 million are unable to read at a higher level that is expected of a fourth or fifth grader” (Web). In addition, according to the Monthly Statement Of The Public Debt Of The United States, the nation’s debt, as of March 2010, is $12.7 trillion dollars. With such numbers the U.S. has to think about bettering the lives of its populace while trying to remain solvent. If the U.S. were to pour their resources into every country that needs assistance, the United States would become bankrupt and the nation would collapse as a whole.

            The question is then, should a superpower like the United States— being that they have so much influence through films, TV shows and magazines— curtail content that advertises capitalist rhetoric? Hundreds of movies, which are exported to developing countries, sell the idea to audiences that wanting more economic wealth is the natural way of life. TV shows, where everyday people compete to win thousands if not millions of dollars, crowd the airways. These television shows give people, for example in India, hopes that an average person can aspire to, someday, take part of the capitalist dream of economic wealth and status by merely answering questions. This is clearly viewed in the movie Slumdog Millionaire, where the main character, Jamal, is competing in a show equivalent to “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” with hopes of winning the ultimate prize. Jamal goes through extreme hardships and witnesses atrocities against children, but in the end is able to escape and become a millionaire. Jamal now has the opportunity to embark on a journey to partake of the capitalist dream. Indeed the film provides hope; however, the harsh reality is that not everyone— neither in the US or any other country – is blessed with the opportunity to participate in a game show.

            Indeed, as globalization brings countries closer together, it also, has allowed for concepts—such as capitalism – to take a foothold in peoples minds. However, people need to understand that not only can capitalism bring economic status, but it can also create chaos through fostering greed, dishonesty, and self-interest. As the world becomes more interconnected— globalized— influential nations need to take stock of the messages they are sending to developing countries. Indeed these powerful nations can’t be held accountable for each and everyone’s decisions, but as the old cliché goes, “with great power comes great responsibility”.

Works Cited

Gikandi, Simon. “Globalization and the Claims of Postcoloniality.” The South Atlantic Quarterly 100.3 (2001): 627-58. Print.

The National Right to Read Foundation. Web. http://www.nrrf.org/index.html

Slumdog Millionaire. Dir. Danny Boyle. Perf. Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor. Fox Searchlight U.S.A., 2009. DVD.

U.S. Census. “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007.” Web. http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p60-235.pdf

Capitalism and Globalization

Through a system that many countries identify as the pathway to achieve one’s hopes and dreams, capitalism has become a globalized aspiration. Third and second world countries dream of achieving the global status that capitalist nations achieve i.e. USA, UK, etc. etc. Unfortunately, thanks to the very foundation, the very core meaning of capitalism, people fail to see the extreme gaps forming between the wealthy and the poor, furthermore, the ever growing gap between different races. By trying to amass money and reach the pinnacle of success –  which for many is measured by how much a company is worth monetarily both in the stock market and to share holders – corporations will outsource jobs to third and second world countries, thus allowing them to save on higher wages. This in turn allows them to spend more on their luxury homes or cars while at the same time keeping a larger budget to make their companies grow. This creates a circle of dependence, where poor countries look up to powerful countries for their means of survival. However, the wages these corporations are willing to pay, in the long run, do not allow for the foreign employees to really over come their economic status. Furthermore, humanitarians along with third and second world countries have come to expect that countries like the U.S. provide aid at all times. They expect these countries to provide a solution for their own internal conflicts. But if we are to provide aid to each and every country that extends their hand in need, how are we going to help our own people? There are countless of U.S. citizens that still live below the poverty line or are still illiterate. Our country still suffers from racial strife. Not to mention that our deficit has reached unimaginable numbers. Let’s not forget the constant complaining of people because corporations outsource jobs. People do not understand the power they wield. If they were to just band together and provide a solution i.e. stop shopping at places that outsource jobs or take lower wages, they would achieve so much.

Media Literacy

Through out much of our earlier history, the form that has dominated our teaching curriculum has been books. We are expected to read, process, and apply. Nevertheless, with the advent of the digital world (no, not necessarily referring to Digimon) there has been an emergence of new ways of learning different things. However, we still need to understand how do these new media formats teach us and how do we process what we learn. Once we are able to do this, we will be able to better harness the power of lets say Myspace or Youtube to educated younger generations. By dissecting, for instance a video game, and learning how to switch mindless hacking and slashing to something that helps us interpret literary meanings in a more entertaining way, we might be able to reach countless of young minds that normally remain unreachable. We just need to be careful and mindful of what we actually expose young children too.

Goddesses and Gods

It is hard to say if there was an “all powerful, all encompassing,  omnipotent” single goddess at one point even back in the dawn of man kind. With so many different primitive civilizations emerging, it is difficult to assume that they all worshiped just one deity, be it female or male. In contrast, the argument that the early societies believed in more than one specific “creature” is supported by many more archeological findings, amongst other evidence (like oral stories). People were afraid of thunder, crops dieing, the moon, sun, and without an explanation they created greater beings than themselves to craft such wondrous objects and events. For example, the Greeks and Romans had Zeus/ Jupiter as the leader of a great court of gods, most Japanese believed in Izanami-no-Mikoto one of the two creators of Japan, while the Native Americans of the Onondaga (the Northeast Woodlands) told tales of the gods in Skyland. However, all of these cultures had a powerful female goddess that gave birth or participated in the creation of an important phenomenon – whether it is humans, Earth, or celestial bodies. This would give some credence to the idea of a singular goddess.


Thy love is flighty

Thy lustful arms break my heart

Oh hateful Eros!


A Haiku experiment.

Love In The Misty Wood

Mysterious woodland where throngs delight

spinning, twirling towards the summer’s end.

Nay! Flee not from me mischievous sprite

together in love’s awe we will ascend.

Flowing, billowy frocks dance on the spot

devious, capricious wind knows no shame.

A muse’s sigh my wishful soul has caught

for thy wandering eyes my heart will tame.

Eternity thy name has thus claimed

basking in the glorious song and dance.

Death is a mockery upon your bed

now I sit, longing for thy heart’s romance.

As the pendulum swings you watch me fade,

the constant ebb of time one can’t evade.