The claim by a sixteen-year-old inmate that he came from a rich family was more interesting to fellow inmates than concerns regarding the boy’s innocence or guilt. The mention of fifty six thousand dollars mesmerized the other inmates who “could not stop talking about the cars and clothes he could buy.” The scene illustrates an aspect of money mindedness, which reflects the influence of westernization. Abdul’s cellmates were more concerned with the topic of money than the fact that one of their colleagues had murdered his parents.
The possibility of denial of inheritance due to legal restrictions was not a concern to the inmates. The erosion of morals, values and customs due to the influence of the western culture has been a prevalent phenomenon in various parts of the world. The admiration of money and flashy lifestyles is a foreign element in the local Indian context considering the low standards of living evident amongst most members of the society.
The fact that the majority of the working class in India cannot afford basic health needs due to meager salaries illustrates that cars and fancy clothing are not common within the local Indian community. The impact of westernization has been greatest amongst the young people because they are yet to face the realities of life and acknowledge the fact that the acquisition of expensive cars and clothes depends on the standards of living in a country, which are proportionate to the per capita income.
Westerners have been able to live luxurious lifestyles due strong economies, which provide opportunities for massive generation of wealth. Developing countries such as India offer limited employment and business opportunities for generating wealth, which makes the idea of a luxurious lifestyle a dream for most of the local people.
The two boys, aged about seven years, reminded Abdul of his little brothers. Abdul did not like the idea of the police arresting children found working because poverty necessitated everyone, irrespective of the age, to work. The idea that “drudge labor in an urban armpit like Annawadai might be considered freedom” was gratifying to Abdul. The adoption of money economies in various parts of the world has largely been due to globalization, which has promoted the idea that everything is for sale.
The increase in child labor, especially in commercial entities, has occurred in response to the demand for cheap labor, which is becoming increasingly available because of the desperation for money. The monetization of necessities means that people have to pay for food, shelter and clothing. The fact that children in developing countries, irrespective of their age, have to combine efforts with their parents to survive has promoted the explosion of child labor.
The undeveloped industrial sector in developing countries means that most products are imports whose production and transport costs are transferable to consumers. Globalization has opened up the world to allow exchange of products, services and ideas, which promote social and economic comparison forcing individuals in poor countries to result to devious, unethical and harmful means to attain standards of living similar to those of people in other parts of the world.
Child labor is one of the many ways in which monetization of necessities due to globalization has led to an obsession with money and disregard for human rights in different parts of the world.