Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Colonialism and Development

Hello everyone! During half term I had may requests to write about colonialism as many expressed concern about a lack of note. I did post the essay I wrote on "To What Extent Is Colonialism To Blame For Low Levels Of Development In Sub-Saharan Africa?" - you know the first essay we wrote this year - as this is what I am using to revise from as it includes all the key case studies I am planning to use. However, a few of you said you still didn't really find that helpful, so I am going to try and briefly explain it for you!

COLONIALISM = a movement with the sole purpose of constructing and conserving colonies in one territroy by people from another

- European powers had a 'scramble for Africa' in the late 1800s and all land was claimed as colonies except Ethopia and Liberia
- Capturing of the Moroccan town of Ceuta in 1415 by the Portuguese marked the beginning of European colonialism in Africa
- Main European colonial powes were the UK, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain
- 'Scramble for Africa' saw 1/5 of the globe added to European overseas territories
- 1884 Berlin Conference witnessed the fragmentation of the African continent from 10,000 territories to 57, as present
- Colonialismestablished the economies of many parts of Africa for many years due to the exporting of materials but left them economically vulnerbable as were reliant on one export
- African nations began to gain independence between the late 1950s and 1960s - note: not all colonies were African and India gained independence in 1947
- After gaining independence, countries aligned themselves with either the USA/France (mainly central and southern nations) or USSR (northern states), and they recieved aid from such countries, although in many cases primarily military aid

How has Colonialism hindered Development in sub-Saharan Africa?

Social:-
- Civil conflict due to the fragmentation, which occured at the 1884 Berlin Conference, as this occurred without consideration of psychological or societal divisions
- Religions introduction to Africa was a secondary impact if colonialism as did not aid unification, so by generating social tensions only increased the chance of civil conflict, and also hampered disease treatment, especially AIDS/HIV due to no recongition of use of contraception
- Impacts of disease were accentuated by colonial legacy as in worn torn nations it is increasingly difficult to deliver aid to those in need

Political:-
- Formation of dictatorships which have hindered formation of stable and sustainable trade partnerships, thus limited export potential, thereby restricting economic growth
- Political instability is not attractive to TNCs whose presence and appending FDI can provoke cumulative causation, and thereby accelerate development
- No peace means not options for preferential trading or successful groupings of nations

Environmental:-
- TNCs exploiting land that lacks environmental legislation, leading to environmental degradation, desertification and deforestation - evidence for the 'paradox of plenty'???
- Environmental exploitation and contamination leads to distruption of any regulatory in food and water supplies and quality


Economic:-
- Siphoning of resource wealth continued past post-independence trade agreements
- Economic vulnerability due to reliance on one export (this is a characteristic of all LDCs)
- Formation of HIPCs with most debts originating from ambitious development projects initiated by corrupt leaders following independence

Demographic:-
- Colonialism lead to introduction of European lifestyles, principally introduction of religion, which only increased population growth rate, which is expected to exceed Asia's
- Bites in population pyramids due to civil conflict and ethnic cleansing are demographically biased, targetting the young fit men which impacts agricultural productivity


The above are some on the ways colonialism has affected development throughout Africa and then how the resonnace of the colonial era continues to hinder development - for case studies, look at the essay, as I am too lazy to write them all out again! I was trying to think of positives of colonialism on Africa but I am finding it quite difficult. In India, for example there is the education system that was installed, with lessons taught in English which has greatly enabled its development via the service industry, but for Africa I am finding it quite hard. If you have any ideas then let me know!

What were the impacts of Colonialism for MDCs (the colonialists!)?
I think this is quite an interesting question as we don't seem to look at it from this perspective but do you think the UK, for example, would have developed so fast without colonialism and would we have gone so whole heartedly down the route of industrialisation? I don't think it would have happened so fast and underestimating the importance of colonialism in early development is arguably one of the biggest criticisms of the Rostow Model of Development. Formation of colonies gave us access to raw materials, provided jobs and a workforce which we exploited, whilst also enabling early trade partnerships; all of which were intrinsic to our development. Therefore could we say that the UK would not have developed without colonialism? Maybe that is going a bit far, but I definently think that it played an important role - let me know what you think?

Neo-colonialism
- There is now a new 'dash' for land in Africa but not from Europe this time, but instead from the oil rich Gulf states and Asia. Countries like Saudi Arabia and China are leasing huge tracts of sub-Sahara, sometimes in exchange for money, ports, schools etc, are using the land to grow crops for food and biofuels to send back home. Is this right? Well, developed countries do not really possess the moral highground to object and stop this as it is essentially the same as what we did! Can nations benefit from this with regards to development? It is probably to early to say, but if it is legal, managed and fair then sub-Sahara may benefit whilst its waits for the global shift (which could be for a while!!!). However, the biggest issue could be the leasing of fertile soils in areas which already struggle to feed their growing populations - a subject you need to form you own opinion on!!!

I think this really covers the basics and hopefully for those of you who didn't understand my essay, this makes a bit more sense. As this area is missing from the textbook, I am guessing it is something we need to understand and be aware of but is not perhaps something we are likely to be asked directly about; well that is what I am hopinf for anyway!

I am thinking about moving on to write about climate for a while, with some tectonic stuff, so let me know if there are any topics, especially with development and globalisation before I move on too far, that you would like me to cover - case study maps for all three modules are on the way but they take a while so you will have to bare with me! I hope the revision is going well!

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