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  • Created on: 18-03-13 23:01
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Assess the view that the relationship between superpowers and the
developing world is a neo-colonial one
Neo-colonialism is an indirect method of exploitation and maintaining power. This is usually
an economic way of sustaining control through the pattern of aid and debt repayments. This
is in contrast to colonialism which is considered a `hard' method of gaining control often
through military force which results in an external nation taking control of a territory in
another part of the world. It then reinforces this control by settling the new colony with its
own people. For example, the British Empire grew through the process of colonialism ­ 27%
of the world's land surface was once part of this empire. However, the era of colonialism
ended in the period 1945-1980 when colonies gained independence and now many left wing
(socialist) geographers believe that superpowers use subtle ways to maintain power.
Neo-colonialism is most often linked to Africa and is used as an explanation for the lack of
development in that continent. This can be explained by A.G. Franks 1969 dependency theory
-a Marxist perspective which suggests that the developed world help to maintain the
developing world in a permanent state of underdevelopment ­ trapping these countries in
stage 1 and 2 of WW Rostow's `Take Off' Model. The developed world is draining these
countries of human capital (the `brain drain') and resources (minerals, ores, food.) Neo
­colonialism is basically an extension of this dependency theory.
You can argue that the pattern of aid is a vital mechanism of neo-colonialism rather than
developed countries simply trying to support the world's most needy countries. The US are
using aid as a `political weapon' - the top 4 recipients of USA foreign aid are not actually LDCs
,instead they are key geopolitical allies of the US e.g. Israel (the greatest recipient of aid) is a
key Middle Eastern ally. Even the aid given to genuine LDC countries is for political reasons
e.g. $698 million was given to Pakistan (a country known to have nuclear weapons.) There is
a total lack of overlap between the most indebted nations and the top 10 receivers of US
aid. Much of this aid is `tied' in various ways, you could describe it as `boomerang' aid e.g.
most Chinese investment projects use Chinese workers, Chinese machinery, Chinese
companies and the Chinese own interest rates which could change at any time.
Debt repayments channel money from the developing world to the developed world in the
form of high interest loans. Even debt relief schemes e.g. the HIPC (the heavily indebted
poor countries) have been criticised as it is increasing the dependency of these countries on
the World Bank. This international governmental organisation will set up easy ways to get rid
of debt but they have to agree to structural adjustment plans (SAP's) ­ these plans results
in the World Bank controlling the country's currency and setting the interest rates. This
dependency on the World Bank is another way of promoting underdevelopment in the
developing world.
There are also patterns of unfair trade between superpowers and LDCs. The world trade
system is essentially a western `free trade' one with the USA and the EU being very
influential across the world. The world's three major stock markets (London, New York and

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Tokyo) are all in the `west'. In today's globalised world emerging powers have started to
benefit from world trade, mainly due to the role of TNCs e.g. Nike, which originate from the
west. Although countries such as China have gained hugely from this there are still many
LDC's that have been cut off from globalisation ensuring that they stay in a state of
`underdevelopment'.…read more

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There are currently 1 million Chinese workers in Africa and
there will be 10 million by 2015 therefore there are not many job opportunities for the locals
­ the few jobs that are available have low wages and the health and safety regulations are
extremely lax. This influx of the Chinese has resulted in inevitable culture clashes and social
issues e.g. the Chine mistreating African workers creating cultural tensions. In addition, the
Chinese are outsourcing their most polluting industries e.g.…read more


Hartati Medina

Good essay. Did you do this in timed conditions?

A 15 mark essay does not have to be more than 2 pages long. -_-

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