Sanity sometimes sounds callous

The pictures below are of seven+ star hotels in Dubai [more], an Arab emirates city in the Middle East. They are considered some of the best if not the best hotels in the world. Unbelievable amounts of money have been spent and are spent in this region:

Because of its “if you've got money, you're A-OK” extradition laws, UAE is a choice destination for South Asian and Middle Eastern multi-millionaire crime lords as much as it is for earth-raping proletariate-abusing shieks. It's also a police state nation with no respect for civil rights (or anything else) for anyone who's not ultrawealthy, so fuck Dubai..

Here's what you need to do. Scrounge up the $2,000 a night it costs to stay at one of these hotels, dress the part, and walk in with a nice laptop on which you've installed some good packet sniffing software. Install keyloggers where you can. Take advantage of unpatched Windows boxes in the business centre. Whatever. But get those machines monitored. If you do, I guarantee that within two days you will have access to billions of dollars.

Maybe you can donate it to the tsunami fund if you can figure out how to launder it. Me? Personally I don't really care about taking their dirty money. I think I'd rather just start transferring money between emirates randomly and screw up their accounting as much as possible. The faster these empires fall the sooner the world can start to heal.

That said, don't (only) donate to the tsunami funds. I've been watching people donate so much money and time to the various tsunami funds. Blogs have popped up to help people donate, eBay is filled with people (many of them scammers I'm sure) promising to donate their sales, and I'm even getting email from piercers who want to donate their tips to help. First, let me be clear that I think it's wonderful that people want to help out on this. But please consider what I'm about to say.

This tsunami killed about 100,000 people. Perhaps it will turn out to be more. That's a lot of people of course and it's a terrible disaster, but as I mentioned previously, 50,000 people die every single day of causes that we could easily prevent. Even if it hits a quarter million, that's five days of preventable hunger and disease deaths. Five days. In fact, many of those deaths occur in the very region the tsunami struck. I find it fascinating, sad, and disturbing that no one cared about the deaths there until a flamboyant natural disaster struck.

I guess everyone wants to be a part of something big.

But let me point out a simple truth:

If the money being donated to the fashionable tsunami relief funds was instead donated to poverty relief and sustainable hunger solutions, we could save millions and millions of lives. That is, by channeling our aid efforts toward the tsunami instead, we are making the decision to let a lot of people die.

I guess the question is if you want to make real change, or if you want to feel good about helping out on something dramatic?

I'm sorry if that's hard to hear. All I'm trying to say is that if you really want to help people, as much as it truly is desperately needed in Sri Lanka, it's desperately needed all over the world, and whether you want to hear this or not, it'll do a lot more good in other places. If that sounds disturbing to you, then you're starting to understand just how big this problem is.

Unlike natural disasters which are almost wholly out of our control, excesses of hunger, poverty, and disease are almost exclusively byproducts of the decisions we've made culturally. They are our fault. The good news is that they're relatively inexpensive and comprably easy to fix. The bad news is that relatively few rich people give a damn when someone poor starves to death.

Yeah, you're rich.

What, you say “but I only make $4.50 an hour”? Well, they don't even make a dollar a day. You're rich. If you can read this, you are rich.

The odds of you starving to death or facing their level of poverty are slim to none, as much as life can still suck here when you don't have enough to pay your bills… So maybe it's not worth caring about. Tsunamis on the other hand, well, not only are they flashy, but they're also going to eventually wipe out New York City and plenty of other places that rich people live. Maybe that's the explanation, I don't know.

Even if you don't want to donate the money, let me point out the obvious again:

An F/A-22 fighter jet costs $258 million, and 277 are on order. If 150 were ordered instead, that would leave an extra $33 billion in the budget. The estimated cost for permanently curing hunger and malnutrition is $21 billion.

That's your money, your tax money being consumed. Money well spent, right?

Now that's a good investment!

That said, given the tiny percentage of people even willing to go to the effort to recycle their garbage, cut down on their water or meat intake, or any number of other small things that can create big change, maybe it is time to just let the system crash. Those that don't die in the plagues will understand that we need to rebuild the world into something better.

Holy hell do my posts sound deranged some days.

One Comment

  1. Take advantage of unpatched Windows boxes in the business centre. Whatever. But get those machines monitored.

    Monday, June 13, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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