Friday, October 30, 2009

Cultural Imperialism, The Catholic Church & Africa

In my class, called The Developing World, we are actually talking about this very subject, although not in relation to the Catholic Church. Its good to hear that the Church is speaking and standing up for unity of the family in Africa. The World Bank refers to Africa as the world's foremost development challenge. The number of people in this region living in extreme poverty has almost doubled since 1980. Over 300 million people lack access to clean water, and 450 million have inadequate sanitation. Since 1990, U.S. investment in Africa has mainly been donated to countries like Egypt or Nigeria whose countries can contribute resources to the world, or help with security related to fighting terrorism, but not so much to the countries in Africa that would help the poorest of the poor.

Two differing perspectives as to reasons why Africa is struggling is:

Externalists argue that Africa's problems and solutions are based on factors outside Africa.
They believe this is due to colonialism and globalism.

Internalists argue that problems and solutions are internal. They believe it is due to corrupt leadership in Africa.

One other theory that I learned of earlier is called the Dependencia Theory. This is the belief that the industrialized North (Developed Nations) has created a neocolonial relationship with the South. The Developing World has become dependent upon the industrialized nations for capital investment and foreign aid.

I believe that the problems related to Africa's development could be both external and internal. I don't know whether I agree with the Dependencia Theory, or not but it could be possible that the industrialized nations are trying to keep the wealth for themselves instead of caring about the needs of the Developing countries, and the poor. What do you think?


Opus #6 said...

Great question. I wish I had the answer to the whys and how-to-fix Africa's problems. There seem to be few opportunities there, even if one gets an education. With little infrastructure, where will one get a nice job? I hope they are able to figure things out. We should definitely help them when there is a famine. Same for any country.

Kyle said...

I haven’t studied the economic situation in Africa well enough to even begin to speculate as to the primary causes of its poverty, but I suspect that its economic woes can be traced to both internal and external factors: local, national, and international. The developed countries have an obligation to support the development of under-developed countries and should strive to build an international community based on solidarity, generosity, and mutual respect. Love has the power to inform not only our decisions as individuals, but our decisions as communities, even national and international communities.

Dr. Dave said...

Africa is truly the world's poorest continent. That said, it's also the the continent with the most potential.

The Right Look said...

It's great to know that America has helped Africa in so many ways. Sad to know that N-Obama is going to throw his monkey wrench into it and screw it up!


Doom said...

From what I saw happen in India, when we cut them off from financial aid for developing nuclear weapons, instead of falling, they ended up doing quite well (considering).

Another example, an article at Goomba's about Israel, showed an example of internal problems, and solutions. Though they did have the benefit of Russian Jewish scientists and American Jewish retirees who returned 'home' with venture capital, who returned at just the right times to accentuate each other.

Although, with Africa, I think there is more in play than what is politically correct to discuss. Like it or not, the problem is not just there, not just now, and I have never heard of a different large scale success there or of theirs. Further, I have some belief in environmental factors. Simply put, the hotter the climbs the less manageable the situation. Technology requires an infrastructure that requires people comfortable and stable enough to create the infrastructure which would make the people comfortable enough to... it's a cycle. Almost every major power has tried their own version of states crafting to develop even a minimal infrastructure there to no avail.

Europe and America have tried everything from force to carrots and nothing works there. I hear China is considering moving in. Personally, I do not think much can be done there. It is resisted regardless by the people and environment. It is sad to watch, but pouring in money or aid does zero good there. China will learn, just as we and Europe did.

Maybe in time they will dig their way out, but I cannot foresee that. Though it doesn't help with our left illegalizing anything and everything (world wide, like DDT, to CO2, to... pick one) which could help them do it themselves. And yes, they need everything they can get so they don't dare use DDT as it should be used, which could get in their crops and be banned from sale in better markets.

(Most people don't realize this, but we had just as much disease as Africa does not that long ago. DDT, swamp draining (banned, I am sure, in Africa through the threat of cutting off aid), the use of chlorine in our water, and a few other things made America healthy. They don't have a chance, in many ways.)

Anonymous said...

You got this right girl.

Teresa said...

I agree. How to help Africa is an extremely complex issue.

Teresa said...

I totally agree!! I believe that the developed nations need to nurture Africa's growth.

Teresa said...

Dr. Dave,
I agree. I think once Africa is given a proper chance and given the tools to grow that it will thrive in the world.

Teresa said...

The Right Look,
I don't think its right for Obama to attach strings to the monetary aid when it is a violation of family values.

Teresa said...

your right. Some of Africa's problems do involve environmental factors. DDT had the disease malaria under control until the environmentalists made the false claim about it. They have lifted the ban on DDT but environmentalists still fight against its use, therefore Africa is still waiting to be able to use DDT again. It would bring them great relief against this horrible disease of Malaria.

Teresa said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Anonymous said...

Terri, what many people don't realize is that the Anglican Church (Church of England) has its strongest growth and its most powerful base on the African continent.

With the recent naming of a gay priest in the USA, a backlash has grown in the church and that backlash was sparked by black African churches that have been much more conservative than their European cousins.

Andrew33 said...

TYou are correct about there being a multitude of reasons for Africa's decline. Part of their problem is that for 3-400 years, their strongest and the best among them were taken as slaves. Another problem is the spread of Islam, while oddly, everywhere islam spreads the Sahara desert spreads too. I have looked at climatological maps showing the spread of the Sahara over the last 100 years, overlaid with a map showing how Islam has spread geographically and the parallels are amazing. Timbuktu used to be the wealthiest city in Africa. now islam and the desert have ravaged Timbuktu like a cancer. Is it by total accident that where islam spreads, so does desert?