The Prince and the Paupers

I still regard myself as a loyal subject of Her Britannic Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, but it’s hard not to come over all Cromwellian when her son and heir says something like this. He has praised the Mumbai shanty town featured in the film that everyone’s talking about (it seems), Slumdog Millionaire, as an architectural model for the world.

His Royal Highness said:

I strongly believe that the west has much to learn from societies and places which, while sometimes poorer in material terms are infinitely richer in the ways in which they live and organise themselves as communities…

It may be the case that in a few years’ time such communities will be perceived as best equipped to face the challenges that confront us because they have a built-in resilience and genuinely durable ways of living.

One wonders why, if these communities are more “resilient” and “genuinely durable,” they always seem to be the first to be wiped out whenever there is any kind of natural disaster. One also wonders why HRH hasn’t moved out of Highgrove and into some British equivalent of Dharavi. Perhaps that’s because, thank God, there isn’t one (although some areas of certain cities come close).

It seems that His Royal Highness has chosen to apply the mantra I=PAT to the way people try to live, where I = impact on the planet, P = population, A = affluence and T = technological level. The lover P, A or T are, the better. As I point out in my book, The Really Inconvenient Truths, another way of looking at this is S = DPS, where D is the Death of 4–5 billion people, P is the Poverty of those that remain, and S is the Technological Stagnation that they live within. Prince Charles may not have called for the death of billions, but he certainly seems to be doing his bit to glamorize poverty and technological stagnation.