Friday, December 4, 2009

Priorities, India.

Supergod #1 by Warren Ellis and Garrie Gastonny (2009)

It may not be China or Russia or the United States who will be responsible for the world's ultimate destruction, but India! OK, it will probably be the United States, but India seems to be at least partially responsible in Warren Ellis' new series, Supergod.

Ellis hits the nail on the head here regarding India's massive problems with sanitation, overpopulation and water supply. He notes that a thousand Indian children per day died from sickness related to the population in the river Ganges. According to a 2006 World Health Organization fact sheet, about 456,000 Indians died in 2002 due to Diarrhoeal diseases. 20% of the deaths of children under 5 years old were from Diarrhoeal diseases. And apparently a 2003 government report indicated that only 30% of India's waste water was being treated, with the untreated supply flowing into rivers. One other thing: as of 2006, the population with sustainable access to improved drinking water was 86% in rural areas and 96% in urban areas What about access to improved sanitation? Only 52% in urban areas and...18% in rural areas! Yikes!

Of course, these are more recent statistics than the ones I think Ellis is alluding to, since he refers to the post-Cold War period. I don't have those ready (and will certainly appreciate if anyone finds them!), but an interesting bit of information about that period was that it was the setting of economic crisis of 1991. Growing fiscal imbalances had caused the government to nearly default. Then came economic liberalization! The country opened itself up to foreign direct investment, reformed capital markets, and privatized/decentralized domestic businesses. GDP grew and many people eventually escaped poverty.

However, regulation of the water and sanitation infrastructure was delegated to local municipalities. These institutions are unfortunately very weak and don't exactly have the resources to manage the upkeep. And so many people continue to get sick and remain without access to adequate water supply and proper toilets.

All this and India still finds the money (and this is before the full benefits of economic liberalization were realized, mind you) to fund a team of scientists to create its own superhuman. More than a superhuman...a Supergod! One who decides that the only way to save India is to, well...


Priorities, India. Priorities.

15 comments:

Will said...

What exactly is the difference between a god and a supergod? Aren't gods by definition kind of super?

ShadowBanker said...

Supergods are man-made.

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