Minority Report

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These people are standing at the entrance to a cemetery, waiting for a funeral cortege to pass by. As it happened it was the cortege of the late Governor Perdices. This was a major event in Dumaguete and Negros, so almost everyone in town came out for it.

As you can see, it’s a very mixed crowd. Young and old, male and female, rich and poor- but mostly poor. The Governor was very popular with ordinary people. So this is really a fair picture of the general population.

But I think it’s also a picture of a possible future for the world.

The world is changing. A century ago there were imperial countries: England, Europe, America, -and colonies: Everybody Else. After World War Two, the colonies became politically independent, but still subjects to their former rulers economically: First World and Third World. (What was the Second World was supposed to be?)

But now, 50 years later, things are changing again. Free trade, multi-culturalism, the rise of Asia as economic power, universal internet communication, is shifting the lines again. Money goes anywhere in the world where labor is cheap; people move anywhere in the world where there are available jobs.

Why pay an American woman the equivalent of 500 Pesos per hour to listen to customers complain about their washing machines? With cheap world call rates, you can pay a Filipina 500 Pesos per day to do the same thing. Can’t find farm workers at reasonable rates in Germany? So hire Turkish guest workers at one third the price.

So now there are fewer jobs in Germany and America, slightly higher labor rates (for English speakers) in the Philippines, and a more mixed population worldwide: more Turks in Germany, more Sicilians in Switzerland, more Mexicans in America, and Filipinos everywhere.

If this goes on, in another century the effect will be to mix all cultures and populations and level them off at the lowest rate. Western Pop culture will blenderize noisily with Asian family culture into a mixed, bittersweet fruit shake: a situation, in the world of the future, very much like the situation in Dumaguete right now.

Look at this picture again, with a distant eye. What do you see? People of mixed ancestry- Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, Malay, American. Everybody wearing Western Clothes, mostly T-shirts. And the street signs behind them are written in English. The world of the future.


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