A society has the power to create or destroy itself from within, if it chooses to do so. Throughout history civilizations such as the Mayan and Roman have risen and fallen and studying the underlying reasons it makes it evident that the causes for the fall was rooted within. One main factor that contributes greatly, negatively, is ‘fear’. Fear is an emotion triggered by impending danger. What is significant is that this ‘danger’ does not have to be real in its form but even could be imaginary in one’s head. Studying world politics today we see that fear is shaping many policies than it should, and it is right to say that it is a negative sign.
Prior to the second World War Hitler used “fear” coupled with propaganda to turn the German public against its Jewish citizens. When the atrocities commenced it did not matter that many who were killed were in fact ‘German’ Jews. Similarly Milosevic in the former Yugoslavia was able to propagate fear and was very successful in his aims of breaking up an otherwise uniform society. So we see that creating fear has been used as a political tool throughout history. It is safe to say that modern politicians are clearly learning the wrong lessens from history. As a rule of thumb, emotions do cloud judgment and such a process statewide can have serious consequences.
The world today faces many challenges and since the start of 2016 it has been quite eventful with fewer reasons to be optimistic about the near future. Leading states seem to be taking every opportunity possible to set a bad example for the rest. Britain had its opportunity in June and it voted itself into a tricky position. The United States will get its chance during its presidential elections, and we can only hope that the public will make the right choice or simply make the ‘better’ choice. It is necessary to justify these statements as it is only democratic that these nations can vote for any option they see fit.
One of the main reasons for Britain’s decision to leave the European Union was fear created in lines of migration. Migrant population in the British labor force rose from 2.9 million in 1993 to 6.6 million in 2014. It fills a necessary void which otherwise would result in an economic downturn in country. The share of foreign born workers have increased in low skilled jobs resulting in upward mobility to the British nationals in the labor force. While contributing to the labor market, these migrants also boost the aggregate demand which is essential for GDP growth. Migration is in fact the short term and quick fix to declining birth rates in developed countries. Also in turn an increased labor force reduces the dependency ratio in the country. Germany is tackling all these mentioned economic pressures. However, Britain has failed to take the queues or perhaps is over confident about their economic opportunities.
It has to be mentioned that the recent fears have been spreading due to the large influx of Middle Eastern migrants which is mainly the residue of the Syrian Conflict. In these globalized times there is a thin line between economics and politics and this is perhaps the best 21st century example where the two disciplines clashed. Fear of terrorism, a political outcome, has triumphed and today has gripped world politics. Just like in Britain, societies worldwide seem to be turning on each other consequently failing to see the bigger picture and the factors that keep the society intact.
I would not discuss the nature of modern terrorism in this article however it is evident that the societal marginalization in developed countries would not help the counterattack; in fact by creating a distance from attributes which distinguishes the “developed” from the “developing” these nation states are playing the exact card desired by the minds behind modern terrorism. There are many isolated stories of violence in these communities based on race and fear and it cannot be left unsaid that they would have an aggregate effect in the society; maybe not today but certainly in the days to come.
Values that create a society also have the power to break it apart from the inside. Such a situation is sure to have impacts across borders in today’s globalized world. Fixing the damage done through such actions would take time as it requires building confidence in the minds of the people. Political figures need to be more responsible in their propaganda and claims. They need to be accountable. Actions based on fear have not led to positive outcomes in history. We can only hope that such actions today would not have dire consequences of magnitudes similar to those of history.