The greatest reason for travel, is to increase cultural understanding. Whilst most tourists would visit Zambia to see its incredible wildlife, it would be ignorant to avoid getting to grips with its poverty and inequality. With the documentary ‘Stealing Africa‘, we can do just that and understand the issues that perpetuate this situation for millions of people. It is a story that brings great shame on businesses who engage in tax avoidance and offshoring within Africa.
In this documentary, by Danish film-maker Christoffer Gulbrandsen, we see a prime example of how the western, first world system is exploiting developing countries. We also see the perfect example of how it is now the wealthy people within society who are often the biggest criminals.
Traditionally, it has been the poorer people in society who have been responsible for the biggest crimes but it can be argued that this trend has changed over the last few decades. It used to be deprived populations that fostered the biggest crime organisations, armed robberies and bank heists. Now, the largest crimes that are committed come from inside the business world by unscrupulous CEOs and politicians. Take the banking crashes of 2008 for example – hardly anyone went to prison for these financial crimes and it is up to the regular tax-paying people to bail out privates businesses when they have broken the system with their greed.
It is said that the people who commit these huge frauds are allowed to get away with it because the middle classes no longer value and respect honesty, above wealth and material gain. The ‘Too Posh To Pay’ documentary shows us how white-collar crimes like fraud and tax-evasion, committed by aspirational middle class people is booming, whilst the working classes are becoming less inclined to commit significant crimes. It seems clear that those who desire increasing their wealth most, will be much more likely to commit crime, regardless of how much wealth they have to begin with. Being content with living modestly it seems, is much more conducive to harmonious community living.
Wouldn’t it be good to see companies evaluate the way they are working within the developing world. If business transactions are not working for all parties, then you are open to the moral weight of that exploitation. CEOs who put their companies in this position, as a result will make their employees feel guilty about the exploitation of others. Politicians who are complicit in this corruption are the responsibility of those who voted them in. We each have something to feel guilty about when watching infuriating stories, like the one featured in ‘Stealing Africa‘. This is how we have built the first world privilege which we all experience. We all should stand up and ask for it to be stopped if we believe in equality, rather than just shrugging it off as someone elses problem.
If you’re planning to travel Africa or just curious, check out our African Music Playlist here.