Talk to Russia to save the world’s poor


The Third World’s poor are suffering the spillover effects of the Ukraine war. IMAGE/Twitter

Unyielding Western leaders should repeat one stat each night before going to sleep — the West comprises only 12% of the world’s population

Populations in Western countries are angry. Western elites, who are supposed to lead their societies in the right direction, are instead leading them in the wrong direction on Ukraine. There is a wiser course of action.

This wiser course of action is based on a simple principle — that the perfect is the enemy of the good. G7 countries should accept imperfect solutions that will make their people happier. That will also help the billions of poor people in the Third World who are suffering from higher food and energy prices.

Moral priority has to be given to the sufferings of the poor — the bottom 10-20% of the world’s population.

The greatest American political philosopher of recent times, John Rawls, emphasized that the justest society was the one that took care of the bottom 10%.

As he outlined in his seminal work, A Theory of Justice, any social or economic inequalities, if they are to satisfy the principles of justice, “are to be to the greatest benefit of the least-advantaged members of society.”

The global poor are suffering today for three main reasons. The massive post-Covid-19 stimulus packages, especially in the United States, have unleashed global inflation. 

Financial Times economist Martin Wolf recently wrote that “the combination of fiscal and monetary policies implemented in 2020 and 2021 ignited an inflationary fire.”

The illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine, followed by massive sanctions on Russia, has led to a huge spike in energy and food prices. Despite these sanctions, the EU has paid more money for Russian gas.

Since the war began on February 24, 2022, Europe has paid more than US$60 billion for Russian oil and gas, while complaining that India and China were buying too much Russian oil.

This led to the now famous quip from the Indian Foreign Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who said “our total purchases for the month would be less than what Europe does in an afternoon.”

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