A couple of weeks back, I was traveling to Mumbai, a densely populated city on India’s west coast. It is the financial centre of the Indian subcontinent. It is a region, famous for its demographic diaspora.

Mumbai is also famous for its maze-like, super-cheap and robust railway connectivity. I remember I took a train from Kalyan to Bandra to visit a friend’s house. It was an hour-long journey. I wasn’t traveling alone. I was traveling with the friend himself. And we were discussing a lot of topics during the commute. One such topic was ‘homelessness’. Homelessness is the condition wherein people fail to arrange a safe, secure and stable habitat.

For a very long time, I have believed homelessness to be a manmade disaster. The reason was simple. In my opinion, anything naturally available and critically essential to human existence must be made into a basic human right. But, a quick google research tells me that is not the case with land! Internationally, no treaty or declaration specifically refers to a human right to the land.

Countering my left-wing socialist views, my friend argued with rationals. He made me calculate the total surface area of the land on earth. Using simple high school mathematics, a few basic calculations and a couple of obvious assumptions, I found this to be approximately 60,000,000 square miles. Of this, 33% is desert, 24% is mountainous and only the remaining is actually habitable. This leaves us with approximately 25,000,000 square miles of habitable land. Then I divided this by the approximate number of people living on earth. We found out that each person (irrespective of his or her age and gender) can have up to 2 acres of land to live on. Not to forget, this habitable land also includes the forests and therefore ain’t very beneficial. Now, if we also brought into consideration the land space required for farming, manufacturing and other essential constructions, we would be left with less than 1 acre of land per person. Also, every 3 seconds, a child is born and every 11 seconds a person dies. The ratio roughly turns out to be 4 to 1. With life expectancy increasing, the 11 seconds will rise and the 3 seconds will decline. “In other words, we have a severe land crisis bomb ticking on which is going to blast, if not now, very soon!” he concluded.

I did agree with his rationale to some extent. He had a valid point. But the socialist ‘me’ couldn’t settle with this. I argued for this unjust fallacy. When you think about it, the majority of our world works to pay their rent, or for a place to live in. But why? The land belonged to everyone equally in the beginning. It surely didn’t belong to the governments. And neither did it belong to any private entity. They didn’t create it. The land was created by nature, by God or whatever you’d like to call it. But somehow we have found the reasoning in being charged for what should be free unequivocally. We continue to be sheeple, thinking that money should be given in exchange for things that are rightfully free to all the living beings by default. And we have even developed rationales to justify this fallacy.

My friend cut me short again! “And where do you plan to build the factories? Where do the 6-lane highways lie? Where does your shopping mall stand? And where do we place this railway station?” my friend fired, pointing out of the window.

“And why do we need them? Why do we need shopping malls? Why do we need 6-lane highways? Can’t we live like people used to live in good old days? Can’t we have lived in our own parcel of lands and have grown just the amount of food we need to survive?” I argued back.

Bandra arrived pretty soon. And we had to get down. Of course, we didn’t talk on this anymore.

I don’t know who was right and who was not. But I still believe this thing. There doesn’t have to be homeless people, or people being evicted because the economy can’t sustain itself and provide jobs. There doesn’t have to be hungry people because the economy can’t produce enough.

However, as easy as they might seem, they are too idealistic to be followed in this pragmatic world. For that is why tough socialists have constantly failed and feeble capitalists have survived.

OMP Admin Note:  Moinak Das is an aspiring writer and an impromptu storyteller. A curious wanderer as he is, you can expect any genre in his writings. So enjoy reading and let the ink of imagination flow.


4 thoughts on “Homelessness – Is It A Man-Made Disaster? ~~~ by Moinak Das

  1. Interesting post! But what about the tragedy of the commons? Socialism will never work because there are too many selfish people who take advantage of others for their own benefit. I still say homelessness is the result of overpopulation on a planet of limited resources and limited opportunities.. Worse still, the world’s problem breeders are the middle class and wealthy people in industrialized nations, since their consumption rate is so much higher than the norm. But try explaining that to them. Heh. Good luck with that! /(=^ェ^=)\

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree with you. A lot of people tell me that the western countries are not to be blamed at all. They blame us ‘developing nations’ and the so-called ‘3rd world countries’ for our ‘breeding like chicken’ habit. I agree with this too. But isn’t a lot of our problems, in some way or the other, a result of the overexploitation of resources by our developed counterpart?
      I still remember a few countries sanctioned our high carbon footprint. It told us, we produce a lot of carbon from our inefficient industrial procedures. But isn’t this what makes a nation developed? How can we bypass the way to where all other countries are today? Hasn’t America done this before? Hasn’t England polluted this planet before?
      I do not support Capitalism for a reason. I know Socialism would not prevail without problems. But unlike Capitalism, it won’t promote the ‘Rich becoming richer, and the Poor becoming poorer’. At least not deliberately.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It may be unfair to blame them, but personally I blame the U.N. They don’t have the courage to stand up to the Security Council or the European Union because of the money issue, so they focus on Third World overpopulation even though the earth can support many more poor people than rich people. That’s convinced a lot of morons that overpopulation is a developing country problem, not a wealthy nation problem…but just where do the first world countries get our resources? Yeah, that’s right. We negotiate with Third World dictators, warlords and royalty, outbidding local populations. The local populations then suffer, and when that results in acts of terror in Europe and America, everyone here says, “Omg why do they hate us so much?” Grrrrr. Yeah, I wonder, lady. I really wonder why they hate us when they’re losing drinking water every day while you’re sitting in your big damn Ford Explorer with your six kids who’ll grow up to need high paying jobs and smartphones and iPads and their own Ford Explorers. Does the average housewife even know how many gallons of water are needed to build six Ford Explorers? Argh. Then I say, “People, since the Big Five won’t do it, it’s our job as indie writers to write about the root causes of environmental, social and economic hardship,” but they tell me, “Ooooh, I’d really love to do that, but I’m too busy writing a sparkly shapeshifting dragon series.”

    D’oh! Sorry to rant, but they drive me nuts. Especially since readers can’t get enough of those sparkly shapeshifting dragon books and the authors are making six figures. But thanks for letting me vent! I truly believe that capitalism or socialism don’t make a difference, but once the world’s population decreases to carrying capacity, especially in industrialized nations, there will be plenty of high paying jobs available for everyone. Unfortunately it’s too hard to educate stupid people, especially the religious ones, so it probably won’t happen without a world war, pandemic or famine. Waaaah. (ノД`)ヽ (ノД`゚)゚。

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t explain, I am so so glad someone has the same opinion as me. And about that indie writers initiative, I have something in mind too. I will talk about it soon.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s