Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February 18th, 2015

Neocolonialism and Global Hegemony
            This week talked about Neocolonialism, which is a theory based on the idea that colonialism hasn’t ended, it has just changed. Neocolonialism creates a colonial dependency, only using the free market capitalistic system to dominate a country economically and eventually culturally. Governments do not control the colonial process, rather businesses within each country control the colonial process. Countries can do this by creating a Lengua Franca, or a language of business that businesses in other countries must use in order to interact with them. They can also create a culture so pervasive and popular that it picks up in other countries. They can create organizations which push for education because that push for education becomes a push for a specific type of education which supports that country’s ideals. The US has westernized the world using these strategies.
            In my opinion, neocolonialism is a valid theory, and I think it is not a good thing. The way that the US has spread its ideal across the world not only prevents nations and peoples from having individualism and squashes culture, it also creates enemies for the US. Terrorist acts like September 11th wouldn’t occur with such frequency if the US didn’t use its own ideals to overpower the culture and ideals of other countries, in my opinion.     We also talked about the theory of Global Hegemony, which is the notion that when one strong country exists and exerts itself, the world could have peace and when that one country is not present or is not strong, chaos exists. Global Hegemonic theory postulates that the US is the hegemon, but that it doesn’t know it or doesn’t exert its power properly.

            The theory, for me, has too many caveats to read as credible. The hegemon must know they are the hegemon and must use that knowledge and power in the proper way, if they even exist at all. As well, the theory reads like a global dictatorship. I would cautiously say that the amount of power given in the title Hegemon is too much, and that it could lead to abuse of that power. I disagree with the idea of giving any one country more authority than another. It sounds like a hair-brained scheme to rule the world that Pinky and the Brain might come up with. I believe in the power of people, and what they can do when they put their heads together, and that, to me, transcends international borders.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February 11th, 2015

This week we talked about Colonialism, which is when a country expands their empire for personal gain. Europe tended to dominate the colonialism process early on. The countries in Europe were able to do this for several important reasons. The countries were mostly surrounded by water, which created a body of citizens interested in seafaring. There were also many countries in a small area, which created a sense of competition and a push to dominate. Many of these countries were Christian nations, and Christianity pushes its followers to spread the religion, which was also a major factor in colonialism.
Colonialism meant that a country gained a colony and its resources for that country’s own economic use. Eventually, when Europe began competing in earnest, colonialism was used to heavily exploit those colonies. The people there were seen as subjects, not citizens, and their human rights were set aside in favor of exploitation. The colonists believed that the people in their colonies didn’t appreciate or use properly the resources they had. It brings to mind the movie Pocahontas, and how the people of Jamestown thought that the “gold” (corn) Pocahontas offered was useless and that she had actual gold but didn’t recognize its value. An objects worth is determined by the amount of significance we give it, and it seems extremely egotistical to me that these European countries believed themselves the only ones capable of defining worth in the world.

The process of colonization was dangerous and harmful to the colonies. Even today we see lasting effects of colonization in the racism still evident in many countries affected by slavery, and in the idea that still proliferates of Africa being a backwards and uncivilized place, though many countries there have developed very modern cities. My opinion is that colonization did very little to help the world modernize, and created many long term toxic effects.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February 4th, 2015

We talked about Karl Marx and Modernization Theory this week. Karl Marx believed in the power of the collective. He thought that people in unorganized societies would organize themselves, and people living miserable lives would eventually rise up against those holding them down. He thought that certain ideas would prevent this kind of collective, civilized society but eventually these ideas would fade out and the collective would emerge. He believed that religion numbs people and that ethnicity encourages people to sympathize with those of their same ethnicity. He believed these things would prevent an uprising but the concepts would eventually fade out against the logic of the collective.
Modernization theory is based on Marx’s ideas. It has 4 parts:
1.      Exploit internal resources
2.      By exploiting internal resources, generate profits
3.      Use profits to advance people
4.      People are able to generate profits on their own
For Modernization theory to work, a country needs cheap labor, so it exploits its own people for that labor. As a country progresses, that exploitation spreads from just the males in the society to the females and children. Modernization theory holds that every country must go through this same process in order to become a modern country.
I disagree with modernization theory. In our modern world, most countries are already developed. Those that are not by now should be able to turn to modern countries for help and avoid exploiting their own people. I don’t disagree with a country exploiting its natural resources, such as mineral wealth or other such resources, but considering people as resources seems cruel to me and exploitation in Modernization theory results in many poor and unhappy people. I don’t think that’s necessary in our modern age. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

January 28th 2015

This week we talked about Suprantionalism, or the idea of having governmental bodies that operate above the authority of individual countries to protect the rights and people of several different governments at once. Supranationalism  transcends nattional boundaries, authority or interests for a greater cause, a collective good is the greater cause. Supranationalism began with NATO and Warsaw Pact. Examples of Supranationalism include NATO, NAFTA, ASEAN, UN,EU, and ANZUS
Some would question why states would give up individual rights in order to form a supranationalist governing body.  In my opinion, supranationalism can be a very good thing, because it protects people across international borders and countries can work together to do something that one country alone couldn't do. The UN is a good example of this. The UN created the rules governing acts of war and protects people from inhuman torture. The UN also works to keep the world economy flowing properly. All of these goals are good for the world as a whole, and in these cases, supranationalism achieves its goal.
Supranationalism can also be a bad thing. In the abstract, if a group of countries formed a supranationalist body, they could use their combined resources to overpower another country. They could start a war and win it unfairly, or use their economic power to destabilize another country's economy. In a practical sense, within the UN countries with more might have more power and are able to influence the UN's decisions toward their preferences. This means that there isn't equality or fairness within the organization, which is a major failing of this supranational group.

          Overall, I give supranationalism mixed reviews. When used properly, it can do amazing things, but I also think it can be abused like any strong power. I think it should probably have more checks to that power, similar to the way the US government has a system of checks and balances to keep one group from gaining too much influence. Perhaps all supranational groups should have to submit a plan to create a similar system before they can form, though of course that would require a supranational organization to review that submission and that might be a little more complicated than is necessary.