This year, Oct 31st won’t just mark the day of American rendition of the day celebrating the supernatural. This October 31st, there will be 7 BILLION PEOPLE ON EARTH (That is, plus or minus few days, weeks, months, or a year…but close enough for U.N). That means, since our parents’ days (1960’s), world population DOUBLED in size.
While people want to celebrate this moment by finding out 7 billionth baby born this year, needless to say, the mood of the occasion isn’t just all balloons and celebrations, but rather trying to know if we can handle 7 billion people living together on this already overpopulated planet. The number of people continues to grow, while the resources decrease by the minute.
To put in perspective how the wealth is shared around the globe, as it is, we can think of the world as a village of a 100 people. (I apologize beforehand for the depressing and repetitive background music)
Maybe this video is a sort of an Occupy Wall Street in a global perspective. Obviously, there are problems with the way resources are spread throughout the world; some countries ended up with more, others with less. How does this issue connect with Shklar? Well, how would one earn or earn the right to earn, if there aren’t enough resources to go around? If earning is an essential part of being a citizen, then doesn’t that mean if there aren’t enough to go around for everyone, then how can we say those who are excluded are excluded on basis of them not having the right qualification?
It’s true that the definition of citizenship is bound by strict rigid definitions, often by physical boundaries. Especially by Shklar, she seems to define citizenship purely by two components; one’s civic right, and one’s economic ability, or the ability to earn. However, if we just consider those two components, it makes it much easier for one to exclude others from this great world of “citizenship”. We can take this problem to a global scale in the context of the 7 Billion people. In Shklar’s definition, we can say that many groups around the globe who has no right to vote or right to earn (women, children, disabled, etc.) also have no right to the title of a citizenship. In this context, we could also say that having this title gives you a right to have a say in decisions which will affect you and others around the world, and as a citizen, you will most likely choose the decision that would benefit yourself, rather than the other. This means that the others will continue to be excluded, while they are continuously burdened by the citizens’ decisions. Is this really fair?
With 7 billion people, the definition of citizenship as Shklar presented will be too simple to accommodate for many issues that may be overlooked, such as lack of resources or lack of system to spread those resources fairly around the world. It is true, that in essence the idea of citizenship is supposed to be bound by countries, cities, etc., but now everything is so intertwined that a small policy decision will probably affect millions and millions of people around the globe. Then how can we say that it is fair that we don’t let those who are affected by those decisions who are not “citizens” in Shklar’s sense not have a say in having a voice in those decision making?