Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Food for thought: Is Nepal headed for collapse?

A friend has just recommended to me the book, "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" by Jared Diamond. It reviews the collapse of the Easter Island and pacific civilisations to the Vikings in the past and has case studies on Rwanda, Haiti, China and Australia in the present.

The concluding chapter lists the top environmental and population trouble spots and the top political hot spots, which are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burundi, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Madagascar, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Solomon Islands and Somalia.

Some quotes:

"Today, just as in the past, countries that are environmentally stressed, over populated, or both become at risk of getting politically stressed, and of their governments collapsing. When people are desperate, under nourished and without hope, they blame their governments, which they see as responsible for or unable to solve their problems. They try to emigrate at all cost. They fight each other over land. They kill each other. They start civil wars. They figure they have nothing to lose, so they become terrorists, or they support or tolerate terrorism.

"The best predictors of modern state failures - i.e. revolutions, violent regime change, collapse of authority, and genocide - prove to be measures of environmental and population pressure, such as high infant mortality, rapid population growth, a high percentage of their population in their late teens or 20s, and hordes of unemployed young men without job prospects and ripe for recruitment into militias."

So using the framework in this paper - Nepal is headed for a collapse. The only question is when? 10 years max???

Key concepts to consider based on the above: overpopulation (Nepal has a population growth rate of 2%, only Afghanistan's is higher in South and West Asia); emigration (any able-bodied motivated young Nepali wants to "get the hell out of Dodge" to somewhere else); 5.5 million or over 20% of the population is between the ages of 15-24; and, as for young people ripe for recruitment into militias, just who comprise the YCL and the copy-cat youth gangs of the UML and Congress?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, Horatio, what's with all this pessimism? We are trying to build a New Nepal and you are already predicting its collapse. Try working for it, man, and stop being so negative.

Anonymous said...

"New Nepal" is a slogan that does not change reality. Nepal still has all the characteristics mentioned by Horatio no matter which regime is in power and which ideology is in fashion.

HORATIO said...

Thanks for the 2 comments above, albeit they are anonymous. Guys/gals, pick a nice colourful name for yourselves instead of saying "anon"; or better yet reveal yr name - like I have in my profile.

Anyway, "New Nepal" has become the most over-used cliched term in this land. Sure we must put in our two penny's worth to develop this country. Let's just not fool ourselves by thinking we are living in anything "new". It's the same ol', same ol', folks.

govind said...

In politics 2 and 2 does not necessarily equal 4.Many known and unknown factors must be brought into the equation.
The culture of Nepal is different from that of Africa and Islam.We are more tolerant of others.And for good or bad we are "India-locked"And as long as India is stable progressive and prosperous we need not fear armageddon.

HORATIO said...

Govind, but our southern neighbour has no cause to prevent an armageddon here. Why, they may very well be the cause of it!

govind said...

Of course it has!Can you have a fire in your close neighbour`s house and you sleep soundly?
Self interest,Horatio,is the greatest interest!

HORATIO said...

Ah, Govind, but what if you are yourself the one to set fire to your neighbour's house?
Therein lies the rub!