Feed on
Posts
Comments

This page will allow for a free-form discussion. Students should feel free to post whatever they like here: questions, comments, musings, &c.

66 Responses to “Course Discussion”

  1. Amer Dastgir says:

    In response to the question as to whether remittances are a form of foreign aid, I would have to say that I disagree with that statement. Foreign aid is simply the aid that flows between governments, either bilaterally, or by means of a multilateral institution like the World Bank. Remittances, on the other hand, is money that immigrants send back to their families at home. While it certainly plays its part in alleviating poverty and promoting economic development in developing countries, especially when I consider how high the remittance figures are for my country, and the impact it has visibly made on the lives of the poor, it is definitely not the same thing as foreign aid. Foreign aid often doesn’t even trickle down to the grassroots because of the inherent corruption in the governments of most developing countries, and the tendency for governments to spend the money on various other endeavours instead of what the money was intended for in the first place! Remittances on the other hand have a direct effect because it flows directly into the hands of those it is intended for, and the people in turn spend the money towards their own well-being and survival, be it to provide food and shelter, educate their children, etc. In my opinion, remittances have a greater impact on alleviating poverty than foreign aid does, because of corruption and lack of policing on how governments spend donor funds. Also, in some ways, foreign aid creates a syndrome of dependency on the part of the developing countries, whereas remittances are a means for immigrants from developing countries to assert their own independence and support themselves and their families back home who are largely ignored by their own governments.

    As to the question regarding whether the US should prioritise foreign aid or an open migration policy and open capital markets, it largely depends on what the US agenda is. Lately, it has been in the US interest to restrict the number of foreigners which they allow into their country to prevent highly skilled migrants from taking away jobs from American workers, espcially during the financial crisis when more and more workers (Americans and foreigners) are losing their jobs. In such a case, if the US wants to continue to contribute towards the development of poorer countries, perhaps they might want to offset their tougher immigration policy by providing more foreign aid. However with providing aid must also come much stricter policing to ensure that developing countries are spending the aid funds on what they are supposed to. However, at the end of the day, I don’t think it is as simple as prioritising foreign aid over open migration and capital markets or vice versa, because I don’t think it is an either/or situation, where greater foreign aid implies tougher migration or vice versa. I don’t see any reason why policies of foreign aid and easy migration/open capital markets could not exist hand in hand.

  2. Amer Dastgir says:

    The question of where US priorities should lie regarding the importance of climate change relative to other considerations such as protecting human rights or the resolution of the current economic crisis is a difficult one to answer. In my opinion, issues such as the current economic crisis are short-term, and therefore definitely deserve their priority over such long-term issues as climate change. If Americans are losing their jobs, and firms are going out of business, Americans are not going to stand for it if their government pursues climate change instead of fixing their economy and returning their jobs to them!

    With other priorities such as the protection of human rights, I think this is also an extremely important factor that the US needs to prioritise, because of how much I detest the abuse of basic human rights that is so abundant in the world right now. As a world hegemon, the US can use its influence to pressure rogue governments from abusing the rights of its citizens, or pressure countries to take action against domestic groups abusing human rights within its borders. For a situation such as Zimbabwe, it is appalling that the US hasn’t taken a stronger stance against Mugabe’s regime, and the human rights abuses, hunger, disease and sheer poverty occuring within Zimbabwe under Mugabe. Such issues are also current and need to be prioritised in the short-term. Therefore, where human rights is concerned, it is my belief that the US should prioritse this above many other factors related to its foreign policy agenda.

    This is not to say that I don’t think climate change is not a serious issue, given the fact that if global warming continues, the world will have on its hands millions of climate refugees who need to be taken care of. I believe that the US can play a significant role towards alleviating the dangers of climate change because of the simple fact that it is after all, the country with the highest emissions of greenhouse gases in the world, and it needs to take far more responsibility for its share of the blame than it has been doing thus far. However, again, climate change, and other short-term priorities such as the economic crisis or human rights abuses are not mutually exclusive, and the US taking measures to alleviate climate change does not necessarily take away from its ability to exercise its power to curb human rights abuses around the world. I understand, that during the present economic crisis, the US needs to prioritise rejuvenating its economy over a long-term issue such as climate change, but it does not mean that it cannot reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while it is still pumping bailout money into its economy! It is just a matter of prioritising short-term goals more when it is more pressing, while still simultaneously pursuing long-term goals in the mean time.

  3. Chris Opila says:

    I too am responding to the question whether remittances are in fact substitutes for foreign aid. In my opinion, both these items can play important roles in the development of nations but they are not substitutes for each other. Remittances flow directly to the citizens of a specific nation thereby increasing the incomes of these citizens allowing them to consume additional products. However, in my opinion whether these remittances actually effectively alleviate depends on the country to which they are sent. The migrant workers of the world are not entirely from the impoverished nations of the world. In fact, many migrant workers (especially those from sub-Saharan Africa) are at least lower-middle class, as they must be able to pay for transportation to their country of employment. Thus for many of the poor countries of the world, remittances do not represent a means to alleviate poverty as their wealth does not flow to the impoverished classes.

    Furthermore, in the countries where remittances flow to the impoverished classes such remittances alleviate poverty by increasing the incomes of the poor. This in turn allows the poor to consume/obtain the necessary products to rise above the poverty line. However, these remittances do nothing to alleviate the reasons for which the poverty existed in the first place. Foreign aid, however, can alleviate these reasons. The aid can be used to construct economic infrastructure (dams, factories, etc.) that not only provide short-term construction jobs but also provide Additionally, such aid does not even have to be money. The gift of technology, whether it is agricultural, industrial or otherwise, may also help bring nations out of poverty.

    Finally, it is true that foreign aid can be co-opted by corrupt governments and thus does not always trickle down according to theory. However, this reflects inefficiencies in the oversight process of foreign aid. If more strings were attached to foreign aid that is currently given (making further aid contingent on the efficient use of the current aid for example), perhaps the ineffectiveness of foreign aid in certain case could be removed.

  4. Kiko says:

    After watching Al Gore’s movie, I think that we need to be cautious because it is easy to manipulate data to defend our opinion. Al Gore in his movie does not show some points like:
    • 2008 winter in China – extremely cold weather never experienced during the past half a century http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Chinese_winter_storms
    • Also the very cold weather in Argentina in September 2008 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6286484.stm
    • Snow in the south (California and Florida) that same year http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,325191,00.html
    • Important snowfalls in Europe paralyzed some countries like France, Italy and Germany – http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,3997868,00.html
    • Very serious agencies like Hadley Center, NASA, GISS reported that 2008 was characterized by a drop in temperatures: “Calendar year 2008 was the coolest year since 2000, according to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies analysis [see ref. 1] of surface air temperature measurements.” (Source: Goddard Institute for Space Studies)
    • Concerning the higher level of the oceans we cannot forget that we always experienced in Earth some geological phenomenon and tectonics plate movements. The ocean level can rise in one place but decrease in another place.
    • The last point I want to mention is the Kilimanjaro. (Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/science/nature/6561527.stm)

    We can see that this data is not present in Al Gore’s presentation. I’m not saying that one is right and the other one is wrong. I’m saying that science needs some free debates and not a brainwashing only from one side. We need a debate without authority arguments principally if they have some political origin.
    My opinion is clear: I don’t believe that there is a “climate warming, but a climate change”. Moreover, I don’t believe that we have enough background, technology, and understanding to predict complexes systems concerning nature for the long term. We don’t have them to predict economic downturns even if everyone tells us that an economy is cyclical. How can we predict something like our “mother nature”?
    I have to admit that I don’t know the causes of this “climate change”; however, I know that everyone of us needs to start adapting to new extremes climate conditions. We are in a total uncertain period. Unfortunately, nothing can stop “a climate change” because it is unpredicted and has so many tantrums and whims.

  5. Ranaivo Rajaonson says:

    I found rodrick’s balanced criticism toward globalization relevant to the current challenges face by some of the weakest developing nations. A few points that i found particularly interesting: the increasingly inequal distribution of wealth created by globalization, the minoritarian contribution of the “wage convergence theory” in the decrease in wages in developping nations and the threat to stability that more economic integration may pose to . I thought of that last argument and I was wondering how a country like Madgascar, whose economy is still poorly integrated in the world market, does not seem to benefit much from opening its trade. Although it has been advocated by most of the multilateral institutions for the past 20 years, it has not proven to be a determinant factor in domestic economic growth. I think that countries that have only opened to global trade relatively recently should do so on a very gradual level and at slow pace because the small size of their economy, the uncompetitiveness of their industries and their somewhat weak state systems may lead to severe exploitation from foreign investors and the long term destruction of their domestic economy. Although the opportunities offered by globalization are immense, the tendency of highly integrated economies to defend their own interests at the expense of others and the rise of privately owned corporations that function the same way as states make small and resource rich countries more vulnerable. In fact, the appeal Foreign Direct investments represent usually come along many other potential problems. They can range from environmental damages to labor exploitation and even a rise in corruption within the state. The current financial crisis has led many firms to close down mining projects in Congo, Botswana and Madagascar. These economies heavily relying on FDI will now have to face increased unemployment along with other eoconomic challenges while the firms simply pulled out without any difficulty.

  6. Sophie Thompson says:

    In response to a question posed today in class regarding whether developing countries would benefit from fully adopting the Washington Consensus as a basis of their economic policy, I would have to say maybe? Having written a econometrics paper last year on the effects of economic size on trade openness, I found that smaller countries given the limitations of transport costs and heterogeneous preferences of consumers, among others. In turn it would seem that smaller developing economies should adopt policies of free trade, low tariffs, and flexible exchange rates. However, given the at times exploitative nature of foreign investors and multinational corporations, as well as the potentially intense attention paid to only certain sectors of developing economies, damages may be incurred. It seems maybe these smaller developing economies would benefit from the maintenance of some protections and limitations regarding the type of foreign investments allowed, while encouraging attention to a wide range of sectors to further balanced development. Unfortunately, having just finished a course on development economic theory, there is no easy answer to the question of what degree of openness is appropriate or desired. The only way to truly decide seems to be through experimentation, sympathy and altruistic support from wealthier nations, and lots of luck.

  7. Caitlin Arnold says:

    I also found Rodrik’s arguments interesting in that they hit on one of the aspects of globalization that has always bothered me. I think it’s fare to argue that there are significant potential benefits to globalization. The problem is not that globalization is inherently evil but that many people have treated it as a catch-all development strategy (which it clearly isn’t). Developing countries often lack the means to benefit from globalization in the same way as developed countries. Without stable, trusted economic structures and well established industries it is difficult for them to compete on a global scale and difficult for them to deal with the transfer of shocks through the international economy. It is important to remember that the current leaders of the world economy didn’t get there through opening themselves up to free trade. Instead they spent decades developing behind walls of protective barriers; letting their industries grow until they were stable enough to compete on an international level. It is unreasonable to assume that developing countries with unstable domestic markets will be able compete successfully with the world’s economic super powers simply through a policy of trade liberalization.
    Instead of telling others that they must liberalize their economies immediately the US and other leading nations ought to focus on stability and infrastructure development if they wish to provide aid to the developing world. It seems that many of the loans that are given out end up being used to pay of current debt. Debt forgiveness is a possibility, however as was mentioned during discussion it comes with the risk of restarting the debt cycle if reforms to the system aren’t made. Because there are set winners and losers in globalization it is unlikely that we will see a resolution to this debate any time soon. There will always be some groups who benefit more than others and the real trick will be finding a strategy that can stop the rapid growth of international income disparity.

  8. Vincent Blais says:

    Our discussion today, particularly as it related to the abilities of developing countries to benefit from globalization, reminded me of an argument that I had seen a couple months ago in the Wall Street Journal concerning development in sub-Saharan Africa. Dambisa Moyo’s “Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa” spoke not strictly about FDI but also foreign aid in general. Moyo points to a disturbing and all-too frequent cycle of corruption engendered by foreign aid, writing, “A constant stream of ‘free’ money is a perfect way to keep an inefficient or simply bad government in power.” The corruption and inefficiency that stems from easy foreign aid may hinder the abilities of sub-Saharan African states to fully capture the benefits of globalization. With such flows of aid, there is little incentive for governments of these states to attract substantial quantities of FDI and enjoy the growth that can result from efficient capital investment. Moyo argues that the reason why many sub-Saharan African states have been unable to capitalize on the opportunities of globalization is because wealthy Western nations keep funneling aid money to their corrupt and inefficient governments. While it is difficult to argue against charitable aid for purchasing food to feed the starving and distributing the AIDs drugs to aid the suffering, Moyo’s approach may be the most effective way to do so. Perhaps we should halt the aid at its current rates in order to inspire a rise of more efficient governance and to create an environment in which FDI is less risky, enabling the impoverished citizens of these states to seek employment and self-improvement. However, charitable aid to some extent still seems crucial.

  9. EY Shin says:

    After reading Melissa’s comment on immigration and obtaining citizenship, I was interested to see how each country choose to determine its principle of achieving its citizen’s nationality. There are two different principles that countries can follow when deciding its citizen’s nationality: jus sanguinis (right of blood) and jus soli (right of birthplace). Many countries that we know such as the United States, Canada and United Kingdom allow citizenship to anyone who is born within its soil. However, South Korea, France, and Germany (and other countries) follow the principle of jus sanguinis. In Korea, if a baby’s father or mother holds Korean nationality at the time of birth of the baby, she or she can attain Korean nationality. However, when a Korean citizen marries a foreigner and obtains another passport, he or she looses Korean citizenship, therefore his or her baby cannot qualify for Korean nationality. Even though many people would argue that jus soli is a better principle since the parents can actually choose the birthplace of the baby and the citizenship, in case of Korea which has one of the most homogenous population in the world, jus soli principle seems to work better. Citizens have to carry on the culture and tradition of the country, and only people who can actually make this happen are the citizens who have learned these traditions and values from parents. I think that being a citizen of a country does not mean taking advantage of its law and resource; rather, one has to agree with the country’s ideology and principles in order to be a “true” citizen. Many people choose to migrate to the United States because they value freedom and meritocracy. To me, the principle of jus soli seems like to work perfectly for countries like the United States which essentially was established through immigration, jus sanguinis fits better in some countries which have had long tradition and values and want to carry them on by their citizens.

  10. Carolyn Fox says:

    There are several taboo words in American politics. Socialism ranks highly among them. Overly and wrongly associated with some form of soft communism, the word beckons Karl Marx and Robert Owen, among others. Our discussion of globalization’s effects on income equality today had me thinking about the possibility of an American shift towards a modern welfare state, and the resulting effects. I’m not talking about Detroit and Wall Street stimulus packages, but rather a political-economic model that combines capitalism and social welfare, similar to current policy in the Netherlands.

    We’ve never explicitly talked about this in class, but perhaps a key signal lies in the correlation between the GINI index and the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), an (albeit contested and subjective) indicator of happiness and progress. Countries like the Netherlands top both lists; both globalized and relatively economically equal, it is also one of the happiest regions on Earth. I’m not about to jump to causation about the origin of this happiness, but it seems that a combination of capitalism and social welfare has the potential to equalize many social arenas and bring happiness to developed countries plagued by a Great Recession. The great hurdle, of course, would be convincing the top income earners to subject themselves to extraordinarily high income taxes. Given their disproportionate influence on policy-making, could such a switch ever occur in America? A recent article in the New York Times suggests that there is hope.

    This past week, the New York Times published an article about “Going Dutch,” a reference to the incredibly high income tax rate imposed upon all residents of the country, citizen or not. The American author in question moved to the Netherlands (Holland, in this case) and wrote this article about the process of adjusting to the 52% income tax rate. He makes several interesting points. First, the US tax rate, taking into account social security, state, local and real estate taxes, hovers around a comparable 52% figure. Second, the author has grown to appreciate the surprising returns of his tax payments from the government in the form of vacation money, childcare support, and healthcare. Third, he strongly questions the possibility of a similar system working in the US. By masking the socialist aspect of the shift, it seems that combining capitalism with social welfare has the potential to be a very possible solution in the face of growing globalization and rising income disparity.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/magazine/03european-t.html?scp=4&sq=52&st=cse

  11. Thao says:

    I was thinking about Professor Morrison’s argument during discussion today about how maybe we should just tdo the empire thing again (or get rid of that pesky sovereignty thing altogether) so that we could all become citizens of one country and thus be all taken care of and somehow deal with this inequality problem.

    well…aren’t we already on our way to doing so? globalization means that we are all becoming more and more integrated. We are, in a sense, well on the way to becoming global citizens. The internet has helped put aside many cultural barriers–someone in America can be very good friends with someone on the other side of the world without having ever met. In the crowd most entrenched in internet cutlure, you already have online friends and online dating and stuff. Some small-business owners (especially artisans) make hteir living through their online presence. Is it possible, then, to say that aid can be disseminated in this way, through the empire that is the Internet?

    Yes, I realize that in the very poor countries, people do not have access to the internet and computers that you and I take for granted. But as technology gets cheaper, thse things will be more readily available.

    We won a presidential campaign with the help of the Internet and raised awareness for a host of other issues. Perhaps this is the venue for aid that we should be pursuing. It is extremely effective and easy (www.freerice.com, http://www.thehungersite.com). Furthermore, it manages to circumvent (for the most part) those “pesky” issues of sovereignty. We don’t have to reduce inequality from the top down–do it from the ground up. Only then might the “top” be more willing to change things–once their constituents make it clear that inequality is an issue.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t really think that sovereignty is pesky or an insurmountable issue. I don’t think that it’s outdated or that it needs to be gotten rid of. Besides, it’s too much to hope that the powerful would be so altruistic as to give up even a bit of their power.

  12. Maurits says:

    Following up on today’s discussion and several earlier posts, it seemed appropriate to comment a little more about the struggles facing developing countries in adopting globalization and pursuing development policies. One aspect which I feel is often overlooked in evaluating the comparative development strategies between countries is the (often negative) impact of resource endowments on a country’s development efforts. In a book titled “the Paradox of Plenty”, Professor Terry Karl briefly touches on this idea as she details how petrostates such as Nigeria, Venezuela, Iran, pursued similar development strategies during the 2 oil peaks in the 1970s and experienced similarly disappointing outcomes. In comparing African development to Eastern European development or Asian development, I feel one has to account for the impediments caused by the resource curse that have evidently appeared to act more as stumbling blocks than as catalysts for sustainable economic development in many African countries. As Vince pointed out, Dambisa Moyo arguably provides the most compelling account as of yet for why Aid in particular has failed to achieve significant development achievements in many African countries. While she is not the first to make this observation and she is part of a growing consensus of scholars and experts who hold similar views, her account is unique in that it comes from an African person and thereby provides a perspective and gives meticulous examples that previous arguments have lacked. Moreover, she uses sound economic analysis to back up her arguement, although she wrongly dismisses the short term applicability of aid, especially following natural disasters. Furthermore, she strongly believes that Chinese and Russian FDI in Africa is a positive development, although this may be hard to justify given what most Southern African economies have witnessed since August 08. Interestingly, another book criticizing aid, mainly the roll of greed in proliferating the aid industry, recently came out; “It’s our turn to Eat” by Michela Wrong

  13. Cameron Ferrey says:

    I was also thinking along the same lines as Thao after discussion today concerning the supposed move back towards an imperial system. If this is truly the case, it’s not hard to see the implications – especially the negative ones. Even more apparent, however, is that world opinion on the matter is decidedly unfavorable.

    Prof. Morrison, playing devil’s advocate, argued that we haven’t exercised enough involvement in countries like Afghanistan, but most of the world would generally tend to consent that we’ve gone too far. According to a Pew Global Attitudes Project survey of 47 nations, conducted in 2007, only 4 of the 47 nations polled supported US involvement in Afghanistan, and by pretty narrow margins: U.S. (50%), Israel (59%), Ghana (50%), and Kenya (60%) (http://pewglobal.org/reports/pdf/256.pdf). Civilian casualties inflicted by the US continue to test the nerves of the Afghan people (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/08/world/asia/08afghan.html?_r=1&ref=world). Finally, within the US, the gap between those who support the original involvement in Afghanistan and those who oppose it has been closing steadily:

    It’s pretty obvious that the majority of the world rejects this move, at least in Afghan case. That should be evidence enough that we should not or cannot make a full return (if we haven’t already, in a more subtle way) to the old system.

  14. Cameron Ferrey says:

    graph I forgot to put in:

    Finally, within the US, the gap between those who support the original involvement in Afghanistan and those who oppose it has been closing steadily: http://sas-origin.onstreammedia.com/origin/gallupinc/GallupSpaces/Production/Cms/POLL/91r3fy32ykk2kukoaggfrg.gif

  15. Avery says:

    The question of a return to empire is an interesting one, and there have been several good comments already on the subject. What I would like to focus on is not so much whether or not a sort of “benevolent imperialism” can be justified, but if such a program is capable of succeeding, or at least capable enough that implementing such costly programs is good policy.
    Professor Morrison argued that perhaps the real cause of American failure in Iraq and Afghanistan is lack of resourcing. This is to say that if only the United States would spend enough money and deploy enough troops, it could fix both nations and, by inference, any other. The examples of Germany and Japan were used to demonstrate how “simply” state building can be if only enough resources are devoted to it. However, I believe that this characterization is too deterministic and underestimates the challenges inherent in state building.
    J.C. Smart in Utilitarianism: For and Against, makes the crucial point that when weighing costs and benefits, whether in a utilitarian ethical system or elsewhere, our ability to predict future outcomes diminishes rapidly as time horizons increase. He uses the example of saving a drowning person. Perhaps the person will become a dictator in the future, and more lives will be lost than his alone. But this does not mean we should allow the person to drown, as we have no way of adequately predicting such future outcomes in all but the most extreme cases. This problem is exacerbated by the high stakes of state building efforts. Building a political unit affects everyone who lives within that unit, often in terms of life and death. State building is also a long term process, making the likelihood of poor estimations higher.
    Of course, there is nothing a priori about state building which makes it unpredictable. Its long time horizons and high stakes would be irrelevant if resources really are the only requirement for successful state building. There is little to predict rightly or wrongly in this case, only the amount of resources which need be allocated. If it appears that too few resources are allocated, leaders can simply send more, as Obama appears to be doing in regards to Afghanistan. But is state building really this simple?
    I would argue that there are many challenges which face state building irrespective of the resources employed, or at least the level of resources which any nation is capable of employing. If the United States could afford to put soldiers on every block in the entire world and pay every person on the globe a salary, it would certainly make state building more simple. But neither the United States nor the Developed Nations as a whole have the resources to perform such actions, and even if they did, it is probable that they would meet with cultural challenges and the moral dilemma of imposing peace as an occupying power. Furthermore, the more resources which are poured into a state, the more likely it is that rent-seekers will arise within that state and unfairly seize resources. The state builder could regulate the resources more to counter this problem, but then they would be presented with the challenge of teaching the state to operate independently rather than as a dependent, semi-vassal. Finally, a successful, sustainable state rests on the legitimacy of its government in the eyes of its domestic population, a problem which resources cannot themselves solve.
    It must also be noted that the probability of catastrophic failure is very high in state building, no matter how many resources are poured in. It is important to note that Germany and Japan were relatively simple cases, which fairly well defined nation groups and stable (though not necessarily friendly!) regional relationships. In many ways, state building in both nations was “reconstruction” rather than “creation.” Less successful cases in Africa and the Middle East have not only suffered from less resources than Germany and Japan, they also present much more challenging social and security dilemmas. Iraq cannot be transformed into a secure, sustainable state unless regional issues are solved and the ethnic and religious conflicts between Iraqi’s are ended. Resources may serve as a bandage for such problems, but not a true cure. And the bandage in this case may exacerbate problems rather than solve them, even with extremely well informed and intelligent leadership on both sides who wish for a peaceful state.
    On the whole, state building in the imperial mode is simply too risky and too costly to be a viable strategy of development and security. I would rather suggest strategies aimed more at helping developing states, or at least groups within those states, help themselves. There should be no massive outlays, but small steps with constant evaluation and learning from all parties involved. This sort of approach would mitigate risk and allow for maximum input from those who development is supposed to help. This is, of course, a vague prescription, but I think the general point stands.

    Thanks for a great class everyone!

  16. Colin Taylor says:

    The discussion from section on Thursday that has continued on this page concerning the possibility of a new benevolent imperialism can also be closely tied to the discussion we have been having throughout the course on the relationship between ideas, interests, and institutions in economic policy. Examining these three can help to explain why imperialism occurred in the past and why benevolent imperialism either won’t happen or will be corrupted.
    The creation of imperial institutions in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries was almost purely based on the interests of Western powers. U.S. imperialism in Latin American and the Philippines and European imperialism in Africa and Asia primarily had the goal of gaining access to resources and markets as well as expanding relative power in the international system. Together with these interests came ideas such as “the White Man’s Burden” which justified imperialism as a system which would help the natives of conquered lands. These ideas, however, had little effect on policy, which can be seen in the lack of difference between the imperialistic policies of Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson in Latin America. While Roosevelt argued for imperialism based almost exclusively on self-interest, Wilson based it upon altruism and international liberalism. Despite this difference, the policy remained the same.
    Today, there is little talk of the possibility of benevolent imperialism, most likely because it is not in the interest of the powerful countries to pursue such a policy. Furthermore, where these countries to agree on such an idea, the primacy of interests is likely to lead such “benevolent” imperialism to become self interested and fail to achieve its benevolent aims.

    Altogether, I think it’s a much better policy to allow development to be left to those who have it in their interest: the developing countries themselves.

Leave a Reply

Sites DOT Middlebury: the Middlebury site network.