Monday, December 6, 2010

Blog Post 13

When examining countries before they were populated with immigrants, one of the things that we notice is that each nation had its own unique culture. Each state had a distinct “difference” that wasn’t shared with people from other countries. It was only through the years of globalization and people moving from one nation to another that a culture was spread throughout the world.

In the past, however, the concept that sovereignty protected difference, is definitely one that we saw between countries. Through its own form of government, each state (with its sovereignty) protected its culture – including language, religion, social norm, etc. – allowing it to be unique and different from others. It is because of different groups of culture in the past, that people decided to create boundaries between each other and make themselves sovereign. Unfortunately, as nations such as France and the United Kingdom became modernized, people from other countries decided to move to these countries in hopes of starting a new life.

This is not to say that sovereign counties today does not continue to protect its difference. Many nations today have a mix population with immigrants coming in and out, but people in their own country still maintain a strong pride for their unique culture. While I agree that sovereign protects a state’s difference, I wonder, however, if the “difference” from all the countries eventually become one if populations continue to mix.

Reflection #15: The End is Only the Beginning...


Oh World Politics… It really hasn’t hit me yet that this class is really over. I think that I’ve learned a lot this semester and I know that I’ve grown not only because of the class but also because of the people in the class. I truly believe that being in an academic environment with all of you has made me a better student and person.

I have always talked about schoolwork and classes with my friends and being in this UC has really allowed me to continue to do that. I feel that I usually do my best thinking and learning outside of the classroom and without being put in an environment where I live with all of you, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. Hearing all of your varying opinions has helped to make me into a more open thinker as well as a more critical thinker, and for this, I thank each and every one of you. You have all made me into a better student, one who thinks more deeply about the issues and really validates their claims. You have all been a positive force in my academic life whether we agreed every time or whether we disagreed.

I also know that being part of this type of learning environment has helped make me into a better person. Like I said above, you all have challenged me and helped me grow. The biggest change I have seen in myself, due to the constant push from those with differing opinions and ideas, is my increased willingness to see, understand and acknowledge the other side of the argument. I have always been stubborn and passionate and with those two characteristics, I’ve often found myself simply arguing unproductively with those who disagree with me. Because of you all, I’ve grown to be a more understanding person who, while not giving up her views and beliefs, has come to see that there are two sides to every discussion.

So, World Politics UC, thank you for always challenging me, always pushing me and making me into a better student and person for it. It doesn’t really end here, and I’m happy for that. So, please keep challenging me, please keep pushing me and please continue to make me into a better person than I was the day before. Thank you all.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reflective Post Week 15

alas, the time has finally come. as much as i enjoyed most of the semester, i’m kind of glad that it is coming to an end. why is that, you may ask? well for one thing, we get to enjoy a full month of winter break back home without having to wake up to go to class, or shower with sandals on, or listen to “baby-making” music while eating a meal. rather than staying up at night studying or writing papers, i can be running raids with friends in the new world of warcraft that is coming out in a few days. instead of waiting for the shuttle bus, i can drive my car and not have awkward stares at other people. lastly, i can relax. in addition, the other thing that i’m looking forward to is taking new classes next semester. for twelve plus years, i’ve been taking year long classes, and let me tell you, they are not fun. when you’re going to school and doing the same routine for five days a week for ten months, you tend to go crazy.

anyways, looking back at the semester, i have to say that i really enjoyed our discussions very much. as intimidating as it may be some times to speak up and say your opinion on something, it gets exciting whenever i had something i really wanted to say. one of the things that i liked about our class is that we learned how to apply international relations theories to real life (and sci-fi) examples. for example, in the risk game that we played in class helped us see a lot of the world politics concept that we learned about in situations that can happen in real life. as for the wednesday labs, i have to say that i enjoyed those very much. while it felt like a drag at times to wake up early to go visit a museum or a institution, in the end i’m glad i had the opportunity to visit places and speak with representatives that i wouldn’t be talking to if i weren’t in uc world politics.

and to that, i would like to close by wishing every a merry christmas and a happy new year. see you all in 2011!

Reflective Post 15

UC World Politics has finally concluded, well, at least the blogging component. Living and learning with the same extraordinary group of people has definitely defined my freshmen experience thus far. It has been a somewhat crazy ride to this point, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This last hectic week we completed our major simulation. As part of the Venezuela group, I had a completely different perspective on development than our counterparts at the table. The idea of development has been dominated by the Washington Consensus for far too long. Venezuela’s 21st Century Socialism offers an alternative development model created by Venezuela for Venezuela. I think that’s the most important element here. Why should a bunch of free market economists from rich Western countries dictate the economic policies of third world countries? These policies don’t take into account empowerment of the poor and easily enable large corporations to swoop in and make massive profits.

One thing at odds with free-market economics is the idea of nationalization. The United States is often alarmed and indignant at the thought of governments taking control of vital industries such as oil. Historically there has been a messy process through which nationalization of oil industries occurred. The Middle East provides the best example. When Iran nationalized its lucrative oil fields, the action was denounced by the British who had complete control of the fields through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. The British with U.S. support then went on to overthrow the government and reestablish an oppressive monarchy that was more amenable to Western interests. The Gulf States went through a slightly different process of nationalization. It was a gradual process that was never called “nationalization” but instead termed “100 percent participation.” This meant that states such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia slowly acquired their own national possessions.

The Gulf States and other oil states that declared nationalization in effect did the same thing; they took control of mineral wealth located within their sovereign borders. The only difference was that the Gulf States did it with Western cooperation and the others without. Developed countries should accept the right of resource rich countries to determine how they want to manage those resources. If it means nationalization, then so be it.

Venezuela through the leadership of Hugo Chavez has asserted its right to its wealth for the purpose of financing development plans that would otherwise take many decades. A set of development principles developed by the World Bank and IMF should not be imposed on Venezuela and other developing countries.

The Venezuelan model is best summarized by Hugo Chavez himself.

“We are breaking the neoliberal model. We do not believe in free trade. We believe in fair trade and exchange, not competition, but cooperation. I'm not giving away oil for free. Just using

oil, first to benefit our people, to relieve poverty”[1]

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reflective Post 15


World Politics has finally ended. That semester flew by, which is surprising since it was our first semester at college. I expected it to go slowly, but alas it did not. Overall, I enjoyed World Politics. It was an interesting class, and it sure taught me a lot about International Relations theory. I thought it was a great first international relations class here at American University. And the fact that PTJ loved sci-fi helped also…

I took a class similar to this in high school. It was a class on just domestic policy, as opposed to international. It too was a discussion based class since we used a teaching style that involved a harkness table (which is basically just a wooden table you all sit around and discuss). So for me World Politics was very similar to this class, except in that class we discussed more controversial issues, and never went to in depth into different topics. What I enjoyed more about World Politics was that we went into more depth in all the different subjects, especially the International Relations theories. I have never been really big into political discussion classes since I am not very well versed in the subject, but I enjoyed the class because when I look back, I realized I have learned a lot.

I am very excited for next semester. My group is awesome, and our topic is very interesting. So all in all, I have to say World Politics was a good time.It had its up and downs, but I am very happy with the amount of information that I learned.

And no this picture doesn't have anything to do with World Politics, but I thought this was funny. woo.


Question #13

Rosenblum notes on p. 245 of the paperback edition: "The only way to keep them [the space-residing humans, who are phenotypically different even though they are genetically the same] safe is to be separate. A nation with the power to protect its own." Hence, sovereignty protects difference, in this way of thinking about things. Do you agree?

Question #12

On p. 250, Todorov writes: "'The man who finds his country sweet is only a raw beginner; the man for whom each country is as his own is already strong; but only the man for whom the whole world is as a foreign country is perfect' (I myself, a Bulgarian living in France, borrow this quotation from Edward Said, a Palestinian living in the United States, who himself found it in Erich Auerbach, a German exiled in Turkey)." Is he right?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Reflection #14: Giving Thanks


Ok, so having been away from American for a good five days, I realized something. I’m happy that I go to American. I know that this sounds cheesy, and I’ll be the first to admit that it is, but it’s also really true.

As I was flying home, I realized that I was actually pretty sad that I was leaving American. As a small child, I always dreamed of going to a college that was academically challenging and filled with people who I could relate to and have discussions with about my passions. I’m happy to say, that as my plane headed for Minnesota left the ground this Thanksgiving break, it hit me that I had found that exact place at American. I have a large group of people around me who are active citizens in this changing world and who are more than happy to discuss their positions on issues with you. This is a beautiful thing, it allows for learning and exchange of ideas outside of the classroom and sometimes that’s where the most learning actually occurs. However, what American means to me didn’t fully sink in until I talked with a few of my friends over the break.

Upon talking with a few of my friends about their college experiences thus far, I again was struck by how happy I am that I found American. A few of my friends are having a really awful time at their perspective colleges and simply feel that they chose the wrong institution. They don’t feel that they’re leaning as much as they could be, they don’t relate to other students and for some it’s that they simply don’t feel they work well at their school. I sat quietly as those few friends bonded over their misfortune. I had nothing to add to the discussion, I love the place I decided to go to college.

I guess it was fitting that I had this whole epiphany over Thanksgiving break. I realized that I’m thankful for my parents helping to send me to American and, more than anything else, I’m thankful that I found American and all the people that come with it.

Reflective Post Week 14

Not a Traditional, but a Modern Family

After being on campus for about six months (minus three days that I spent in New York) I have to say that I was more anxious that anyone else to go back home or should I say, one of my homes. As much as I enjoy DC and the weather here, when you are spending almost all of your time with people you’ve just met a few months ago, you kind of tend to go a bit crazy.

When people ask me about my family, most of the times I describe it as “different” or “not traditional”. With my parents and younger brother currently living in Puerto Rico and my older two brothers in California (and me half way between both), this past Thanksgiving break I decided to spend it in Puerto Rico. When it comes to holidays and family dinners, we usually do not celebrate it like most traditional families. Come to think of it, I don’t even remember the last time my family and I had Thanksgiving dinners together . When we were younger, my brothers and I would always eat before my dad came back from work. When we moved to California, my dad stayed in Puerto Rico, so we would have Thanksgiving dinners without him.

While most families celebrate Thanksgiving by putting a pause in their crazy schedule and gathering to share a day together, most of the times someone in our family is missing. However, rather than coming together in a particular day, whenever our family is together, we make it up by going out to have big dinners together. Rather than enjoying traditional holidays, I guess I should just make the best of it whenever I get to see (either half or the whole) family. And I guess that’s what I’m thankful for this year, that my family is safe and happy even though we are apart.

Reflective Post 14


I appreciated this past Thanksgiving holiday for several reasons. Firstly and most importantly, the stress of school was put on hold. I enjoyed the past few days watching football and engaging in other forms of recreation. With the hustle and bustle of college resuming tomorrow, I feel like I have a clearer mind going into the last two weeks of the semester.

Last week, North Korea fired missiles at South Korea putting South Korea and the U.S. in a very precarious position. I was happy the South Korean response was a verbal warning of serious military retaliation should North Korea attack again. A military retaliation by South Korea will have far-reaching repercussions throughout the world. I do hope South Korea can exercise restraint and act like a responsible power when North Korea chooses to act up again.

Besides the flare-up with the Korea’s, Thanksgiving break was great and I hope everyone enjoyed their time spent with friends and family.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reflective Post 14

Two days ago it was Thanksgiving, a time of when we should be celebrating our thankfulness for everything in our life. A time, when I was taught in elementary school “where the Indians and Pilgrims came together and had a Thanksgiving feast”. In 1st grade before Thanksgiving break, half the class would dress up as Indians and the other half would dress up as Indians. We would then have a joyous feast of apple cider and goldfish. Not the most spectacular thing, but it got the point across that the Pilgrims and Indians were friends and liked each other. I had this belief of great friendship between the two groups up until the end of elementary school. I was watching a PBS special one night by myself on the relationship between settlers and the Native Americans, and it was here I learned the truth. The Indians and Pilgrims were not friends, they were enemies. All my childhood thoughts of the two groups were wrong. My World felt like it was crashing down. Just kidding, I’m exaggerating, but it was a rough blow to my childhood thoughts of joy and love and happiness between the Pilgrims and the Indians.

What confuses me during the holidays is why we were never taught the truth in elementary school. I’m sure some schools do tell the truth, but mine was certainly not one of them. I had to find it out on my own, and then had to ask the teacher to explain it to us the next day in class. Sure, some could argue the situation is to morbid for children to learn about, but why even mention it then? What I’m getting at is children never learn about Nazi Germany or the Holocaust in elementary school because it is to morbid for them to learn about, so teachers could easily not tell us about the pilgrims and Indians instead of giving us a false truth. Why do elementary schools teach us false facts? Its school! We should know the entire truth behind the story. They should not just tell us the Indians and Pilgrims were happy with one another, that they taught each other how to plant corn and hunt, and then they lived happily ever after. Teachers should follow up with the ending, and talk about the bad parts of the story too, not just the good parts.

Reading Todorov, we learn more about the tension and hardships between the Native American and the settlers. Todorov tells his version of the truth, a truth more believable than what we believe in elementary school. I am glad we read this book and went to the Museum of the American Indian before we left for Thanksgiving break. It reminded me that Thanksgiving is not just a happy feast between the two groups of people.

Image Source: http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb152/karnivorous/thanksgiving.gif

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Extra Blog 1

I think that the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian does a more acceptable job at portraying the “Indian” than the Washington Redskins does. I believe that most people would agree with me, if not feel free to comment and tell me otherwise. I have talked to a ton of people who did not like the Museum of the American Indian at all. They all tell me and try to convince me on why this museum is inaccurate, and how I should not listen to half the things in there. Personally, I do not know if they are true or just paranoid. In school, we never really learned about the Indians. We learned about Christopher Columbus, and all the other European settlers, but growing up my teachers never taught me about the lives of Indians. The only times Indians were brought up were when we were talking about the Pilgrims, during Thanksgiving, and once when we went to a Native American festival for a field trip (which consisted of archery, tribal dances, and gift shops—so nothing too informational). So going into the museum, and even now I do not really have a “vast” knowledge of Native Americans and their culture. But I found that the museum was pretty informational. Even if it was inaccurate, I am sure some of the facts in there are legitimate and portray the Native Americans history pretty well.

The Washington Redskins definitely does not do a more acceptable job portraying the “Indians” at all. First of all the Indian, is red and featured with a headdress. I am sure that this is not the portrayal Native Americans want at all. When reading the blog question, I showed my friend who is a Native American, and she laughed at this question, asking if the answer was a joke. She said she definitely would not want to be represented by the Washington Redskins mascot. First of all, if you go to a sporting event, the Indian mascot is portrayed as uncivilized, and definitely not supposed to be seen as an equal as us. Even when you look at the teams name—the Redskins, which is not acceptable. Really you would think Washington DC of all places would have a politically correct football team name, than the Redskins. Most (not all I know) mascots are animals, so one could argue that by using the Indian as a mascot they are comparing the Native American to an animal, once again degrading the Native American race yet again. Is there really anything good that the Washington Redskins representation of the American Indian proves?

So in the end my decision is that the Museum of the American Indian does a more acceptable job at portraying the “Indian” than the Washington Redskins. Even though the museum may be inaccurate in some ways, at least it is able to tell a little about the history and times of the American Indian, more than the Redskins do that’s for sure… (But I am sure one of you can argue this the other way)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! (Safe travels home! J)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Extra Blog #1: Redskins vs. Fighting Irish


I’d just like to start this extra blog by saying that seeing those Redskins flags in the foreground of the Museum of the American Indian was a little uncanny. Back to the point, I think that it’s clear simply by the name of the football team, the Redskins, that that this particular representation is definitely less acceptable than that representation as seen in the Museum of the American Indian.

The Museum of the American Indian is a more acceptable representation of the American Indian population because the very population that is being represented helped to create it. This is in sharp contrast to the names given to sports teams that invoke American Indian names or images. The American Indian population had some say as to what went into the museum that represents them on the Mall, this is the biggest reason that I feel the Museum is a better representation of “Indians”.

However, I do see an aspect of this that relates back to what we talked about in class briefly, the need to be sensitive because of a feeling of guilt. Think for a moment of all the sports teams that use other cultural or racial groups for example, the Fighting Irish. I’ve never heard of anyone take offense at the use of this as a name for a sports team (if you have please let me know). I think that many people take issue with the use of the Redskins or the Fighting Sioux for team names because we do have a sense of guilt because of the calculated annihilation that our fore fathers carried out against this specific group of people.

In the end I do take issue with the use of the name the Redskins or the Fighting Sioux. I feel that it can be a misrepresentation of a group of people as a whole. The term “redskin” in and of itself reeks of negative racial undertones and the Sioux, as a nation, were never extraordinarily violent. My qualms lie in this, the purely inaccurate representation that these team names take on and emphasize.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Reflective Post Week 13

During our class on Thursday, we spent the beginning talking about our experience in the lab to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. During the discussion, there were two questions that Professor Jackson had asked that I kept pondering on…

“Do the exhibit resemble more of a history or art museum?”
While looking at the different exhibits in the museum, one of the things that I noticed was that most of the pieces presented an object with a short description of the artist’s name and the title. Similar to art museums, the audience is left with their own interpretation of the piece. It was not like history museums in which most of the exhibits have a paragraph-long description about the piece’s history. A description that describes the story behind the exhibit and why it is important. Therefore, I thought that the exhibits resembled it to be more of an art museum even though the museum itself tells a history of Native Americans.

“Do the exhibit tell more about the American Indian’s past history or their modern lifestyle?”
After visiting the museum, I felt like the exhibit told more about the Native American’s modern lifestyle. Even from the beginning, (the short introduction video in the fourth floor), one gets a feeling that the exhibits were trying to show the struggle that native Indians went through to get to where they are and how they adjust themselves in today’s society. My favorite part of the museum was the third floor, where it shows exhibits about different modern Native American communities around the United States. Many of the exhibits in that floor talked about how they are adjusted in today’s society and how they have different traditions in addition to modern American families. One of the things that I noticed is that Native Americans in the United States are similar to any other foreign American families. While we are living with American traditions, many of us also celebrate our own cultures.

Reflective Post 13

I missed class on Monday and the interesting lab on Wednesday; however, the class discussion on Thursday provided me a good understanding of the learning objectives for the week. Todorov’s analysis of the Other based on the American encounters was enlightening. The theme of the entire books was very interestingly “the question of the Other.” This new paradigm of analyzing the first encounters between the Old and New World’s was something I had never before considered.

I saw Todorov’s work mainly as identifying the Spaniards as the “self” and the Amerindians as the “other.” This dichotomy I think was made on a fundamental assumption that the Spaniards were more advanced than the Indians and therefore the narrative that played out after the encounter was dominated entirely by the Europeans.

Todorov noted how the Indians were not searching for the Europeans; they were entirely unprepared for their encounter with the Spanish Conquistadors. The Aztec narrative was slightly different. Because of Aztec traditions, the Spanish arrival was already prophesized but in a different form. The “other”( Cortez) was actually a divine form as prophesied in Aztec Tradition. This elicited a response not of violence, but of accepting the Spanish with gifts and other treasures. Had there been no similarities between Cortez and the Aztec god-believed to return one day from the East- then the understanding of the Spanish “other” would have generated a different response. This fundamental belief as part of the “signs” was a major reason for Aztec demise. In understanding how the Aztec viewed the “other”, their judgment of the Spanish was defined and influenced by their traditions. Todorov explained the role of improvisation in the conquests. The Aztecs lacked the ability to improvise because they relied on traditions and previous experience. They acted not based on an accurate understanding of the Spanish’s intentions but based on dogmatic beliefs.

The Spanish came with the intention of conquest, and no amount of exposure and appreciation of the Indians would have prohibited them from their goal. Cortez learned a considerable amount about the Aztecs, but this willingness to learn was not a gesture of goodwill, but as means to conquest.

Interaction leads to an enhanced understanding of the other. But as established in the class, an understanding of the other does not necessarily lead to acceptance, tolerance, or even mutual separation. This was one of the most important concepts I learned in this class; the nature of the relationship between the “self” and the “other.”

Reflective Post 13

This week for our lab we went to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. This was my first time going to the museum, so it was a new experience for me. Upon arriving at the museum, the first thing that struck me was the architecture of the building. It was the most unique exterior of a Smithsonian I have seen yet, and I was impressed. I could tell that Katzen was based off of the design because they resembled each other a little. The limestone exterior made the museum look one with nature, in addition the plentiful plant life and wetlands outside, gave the museum a serene feel. When we entered we went straight up to the fourth floor, to the Our Universes exhibit, which presented upon Native American beliefs. One question that Professor Jackson had asked us beforehand was whether we thought the 4th floor exhibit resembled more of a history or an art museum. I personally, believe it to be more of a history museum, although that is arguable. Art is in the eye of the beholder. I do believe some of the pieces featured in this exhibit could be considered art. But art is a part of culture, which encompasses beliefs, so overall the entire exhibit does make sense as a history museum type exhibit.

Speaking of art exhibits, my favorite part of the museum (other than the gift store) was definitely the W. Richard West, Jr. Contemporary Arts Gallery. This eclectic mix of paintings and sculpture done by Native American artists was very intriguing and well-done. I have always been an art museum fanatic, so I am biased by saying this was my favorite. My second favorite exhibit was the Window on Collections exhibitions on the 3rd and 4th floors which featured various beadwork, Native made dolls and other artifacts that are affiliated with Native Americans. This exhibit also featured cool touch screens that taught you new facts and fun stories about Native American culture. My favorite sculpture was definitely the Always Becoming sculpture located outside the Independence Ave. entrance. It was the five hand-built clay sculptures by the artist Nora Naranjo-Morse. The sculptures looked very natural and I could tell they were made out of all natural materials.

Overall, I rather enjoyed the museum. It taught me new facts and stories about the Native American culture I had not previously known. I bought a clay pig from the gift store that was supposed to bring me luck, and as I was walking to the metro stop I found a dream catcher on the ground (I was previously ranting about how I had wanted one). It the pig was indeed lucky. Seeing as that was our last lab (off-campus), it was a good time. I will miss our weekly field trips, they were always a good time.

Source used: General Information Pamphlet received inside the museum

Reflection #13: Fritz Scholder


Fritz Scholder once vowed that he would never paint the Indian. Today, Scholder is seen as one of the greatest American Indian painters ever. His use of American Indians as subject matter combined with his abstract expressionism has created a completely new and different way for individuals to view Native American art. No longer do people think of the knickknack dream catchers or the feathery headdresses when they think of Native American art, Fritz Scholder was one of the first artists to induce this change.

Fritz Scholder, born a quarter Native American, lived in a none-Indian environment growing up. His father was the product of the United States Government’s attempt to assimilate the Native American population through the abuse of the use boarding school system set up to distance youth from their traditional culture. Upon growing up, Scholder moved to Arizona where he taught at an art institute for Native Americans. While teaching there, he changed his views on how he felt about painting traditional Native American subjects. Scholder would never paint in the “traditional” manner, and this became his biggest claim to fame. He took a totally different approach to all things Native American.

Upon seeing Scholder’s work, people usually either like it or they hate it. He knew this and that was part of why he loved his work. Scholder didn’t care what emotion his work evoked, as long as the onlooker felt something. When looking at Scholder’s work, it’s clear he’s accomplished this goal. It’s hard not to feel. Many of his paintings expose the real issues that Native American’s face today from alcoholism to sovereignty to self-identity issues.

I had never heard of Fritz Scholder before I saw an exhibit of his in the Museum of the Native American a few years ago. Upon entering the exhibit, I fell in love with his work. The very way in which he captures his subjects was so appealing to me. I stood for, as my family later told me, way to long just staring at his work. The colors captured me, the use of abstraction was entrancing and the emotional qualities of his paintings were astounding. I was moved by the way he expressed himself and the issues that Native American people continue to face. When I returned to the Museum of the Native American for the first time since that day, I was devastated that the exhibit, which had been showing in the museum for years, wasn’t there. Scholder was an amazing paint, but he was also more than that. He was an influential figure in the movement away from thinking of Native Americans, as well as their art, in a certain way. He took what everyone thought of Native Americans and turned it on it's head, as if to say, 'You thought you knew who we were. You've always thought that, but we define ourselves'. There is beauty in this and respect should be paid to him. Keep this in mind if ever you have the opportunity to see Scholder’s work. Keep in mind that he helped change the world one painting at a time. He knew not everyone would like, but he simply wanted everyone to see what he considered the truth. So, when you finally see his work in person, don't be afraid of the emotion, even if you hate it, know that that’s exactly what Scholder would have wanted; he would have wanted you to feel.

*Biographical information from http://americanindian.si.edu/exhibitions/scholder/biography.html *

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Blog #12: Cross Cultural Mishap


Obviously there were many reasons why the Spaniards were inevitably successful in their domination over the Aztecs: technological advantage, immunity to illnesses they brought over, desire to obtain their riches. Todorov brings up an interesting point when suggesting that another way the Spaniards dominated the Aztecs was “by means of signs”. There are a two different ways one could immediately interpret this statement. One, the Spaniards manipulated the Aztecs trust in signs to their advantage. Two, the Spaniards were aided in their conquest, unbeknownst to them, because of the Aztecs use of signs. Both interpretations could also have worked in tandem to produce another contributing factor in the Spaniards victory over the Aztecs.

As far as the first interpretation, it is fair to say that the Spaniards did manipulate the Aztecs trust in signs to their advantage. The Aztec culture embraces the use of signs as part of their everyday life and how to live. A key part of this was their specific type of religious faith. The Aztecs had idols set up for religious purposes and as a tool of manipulation, the Spaniards desecrated it, “Cort├ęs tells the story: “The most important of these idols and the ones in which they have most faith I had taken from their places and thrown down the steps… I had images of Our Lady and of other saints put there” (60). Clearly, from this short description, there is no denying that the Spaniards did use the Aztecs faith and trust in signs and symbols to help destroy them.

It is also fair to say that the Spaniards unknowingly were aided by the Aztecs use of signs. The Aztec culture embraces the use of signs and looking to the past to predict the future. With the arrival of a completely new group of people, the Spaniards, the Aztecs didn’t know what to do. “We see how reluctant Montezuma is to admit that an entirely new event can occur, and that what the ancestors have not already known might come to pass” (86). As Todorov states, this lack of knowing what to do on Montezuma’s part is a key component of lack of engagement with the Spaniards. This in turn lead to the Spaniards assuming that either Montezuma is a terrible leader who refuses to acknowledge them or he is a proud leader who is utilizing his silence as a tool. Either way, Montezuma’s lack of engagement with the Spaniards was a negative in the end.

Overall however, I think that what really helped allow the Spaniards to conquer the Aztecs was the simple lack of cross-cultural understanding. The two groups were so completely different, from communicating in different fashions to having totally different calendars. Without the effort put forth to understand one anther, while I do understand that wasn’t the Spaniards main goal upon arriving in the Americas, disastrous events arose. These massive differences in culture allowed the Spaniards to easily regard the Aztecs as a different form of human, something perhaps less than human. Upon dehumanizing a group, it becomes easier to destroy their towns, homes, families and lives. We see this time and time again and it only continues. Perhaps hostile take over is really the new way of saying conquest...

Question #11

Todorov asks (rhetorically, perhaps) whether the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs "by means of signs." Do you agree with Todorov's answer?

Blog post 11

The conquest of the Aztecs was accomplished through more than signs. Sure, the entire conquest contained elements of the Spaniards using to their advantage “signs” of the Aztecs, but a more practical sequence of events transpired during the conquest.

“The conquest of information leads to that of the kingdom” (p.g.104).

As indicated in the quote from the book, Cortez was able to adeptly gather and manipulate information about the Aztecs in the grand scheme of conquering them. Cortez wanted the Kingdom of the Aztecs to fall, and he pursued this end with great acumen. This objective of conquering the Aztec empire and not simply seeking gold was a personal mission of Cortez driven by his insatiable curiosity. The information that made its way to Cortez was the bedrock of Cortez’s strategy. Cortez used interpreters to learn as much as possible about the Aztecs and other natives he encountered. The encounters were essentially defined by Spanish terms. The natives were not able to comprehend the motives of the Conquistadors, and therefore were not able to summon an appropriate response. Cortez through effective accumulation of information about the natives was able to devise a strategy that exploited the Aztecs weaknesses. The information also allowed for improvisation. The Spanish’s ability to improvise proved very consequential in allowing them to respond to their encounter with the Aztecs with potent tactics.

Montezuma’s weak leadership did not hurt the Spanish mission either; in fact, Montezuma’s course of actions enabled a successful Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. Montezuma received the Conquistadors as honored guests. Gold and other trappings of the Aztecs did not pacify the Conquistadors but whetted their appetite for conquest of the Empire. Montezuma further placated to Cortez by abdicating his power to Cortez and the Spanish Crown, effectively ending the Aztec Empire.

The technological superiority of the Spanish over the Aztecs also proved instrumental in defeating the Aztecs. The Spanish with cavalry and canons introduced a warfare unknown to the Aztecs. With no previous exposure to such warfare, the Spanish were even able to use the sounds and presence of these weapons to instigate a significant amount of fear in the Aztecs. The weapons themselves and the tactics deployed by Cortez militarily defeated the Aztecs and heralded the end of the Empire.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reflection #12: Aid and Advertising


During our last class period, we looked at organizations that attempt to aid developing nations. One thing that came up in discussion a lot was how the marketing was set up. There was a lot of hating going on about the marketing strategies that these organizations use. For example, one of the things you could choose to donate to was giving hope to young girls in the developing world. People took issue with this one, I think, because how do you put a monetary value on giving hope? This is a fair question. But I think that as far as how it was advertised, it made sense. It appealed to our emotional side, making us want to click the donate button, thus providing services for these young girls. I think that what people need to look at if they have issues with the way the marketing and advertisement of these things are put together is why it’s put together like this. The marketing and advertisement industry is designed around getting us to buy into products. We, the consumer, dictate how marketing and advertising is set up, we’re the ones who drive the industry. So I think that what people need to focus on is why these sites are set up like this and what that says about us as people. If we don’t like the way things are advertised, we don’t buy them. We have the power to change these things.

People also had issues with the question of whether these sites are actually going to help those individuals in the developing world. I think that clearly, these organizations do help. If you provide someone with a goat or cow, not only do they have an animal that they could slaughter, but they also have an animal that can help provide for them economically. You can sell the milk or cheese, thus allowing the individual to increase their income and increase the nations economy.

My biggest issue with organizations that do things like this is that there’s a lack of education for the person who’s doing the donating. They understand that these people they’re giving their money to need help, but not necessarily why they need help or what events contributed to their current state. Some organizations do better than others when it comes to educating their consumers and I think that more groups need to place an emphasis on education. Getting people involved in the bigger issues will help us solve them.

Reflective Post 12

This week the focus of the class was on poverty and poverty alleviation. The analysis of ad campaigns utilized by charity groups was very insightful. Many people deplored the use of creative ad campaigns for the goal of raising funds for poverty projects. I personally understand the use of such campaigns; people need a superficial catalyst to express concern for a problem that they are removed from. Empathy in most cases cannot be used because it only exists with a small portion of people. However, sympathy is an emotion that can be difficult to arouse; for the reason stated above, not everyone is moved to this emotion automatically. Like any successful strategy, there has to be creativity involved.

There are many awareness campaigns that raise funds through the sale of accessories of various sorts. Is it okay to wear a wrist band that proclaims I heart Boobies? Well, it is if you would like to support awareness of breast cancer and donate to the cause. The clever use of fashion to raise funds generally appeals to many because they can give money and receive a fashion accessory at the same time. This has proven a successful awareness strategy for many causes. But, is such an awareness campaign deplorable?

The poverty alleviation charities that we looked at use highly emotional pictures to elicit a response that would potentially lead to a donation. This is understandable as I have previously stated. Poverty is a very real struggle that affects far too many people. Such people need the resources and support of those that don’t live are able to support the impoverished.

In the end what is needed is money. Money makes the difference in mitigating and ending poverty. Whatever creative tactics are used in the process, then so be it.

Reflective Post Week 12

what am i going to reflect on today? this week we went spent our time discussing about development, mainly debating whether it is right for one country to be better off than others. now i can use the special power that everyone always use in class and play devil’s advocate or i can say what i want up front. as i have mentioned in my previous blog, people are not able to change the natural environmental and historical outcome that has caused a country to be the way it is today. we cannot change the position of where a country is located allowing it for more resources. we cannot change the fact that most african countries were colonized in the past and is now struggling to improve. this does not mean that nothing can be done to improve the issue. one of the things that i don’t agree with bjorn lomborg’s speech in this week’s article was how he mentions that water is in the “good” projects and not a higher priority than the other problems. have we forgotten the basic elementary science concept that “life is not possible without water?” every single day, tons of water is used either for sanitation, to cook, to drink, etc. in order to improve underdeveloped nations, one of the first steps that should be taken is the construction of a water system that would provide clean water throughout the country. instead of focusing in the people first, we should focus in creating a system of resources that the people can use to live better. it may seem economically reasonable to deal with the people’s health issues first, but what is the point if they do not have the resources to continue living, eating, drinking healthy?

Reflective Post Week 12

This week I thought that both of our World Politics classes were very interesting, and some great points arose from our discussions. On Monday, we talked mainly about education in America, and if the system is fair or unfair. I personally am torn with this question. I think if I had to pick an answer it would be unfair, but I know in some cases the system is fair to some individuals. There was an interesting point that arose in class talking about whether or not college admissions in particular were fair. As I noted before, in some cases yes, but in other cases no.

I used to be a student admissions officer at my old school, which had a similar admissions program as to that of a college. So in order to go through the applicants and decide who the best of the best was, the system we used ranked potential students on a number scale, with the top admitted, the middle waitlisted, and the bottom declined. This system I found was a good scale to measure people on. For different factors were considered while ranking such as recommendations, transcripts, SSAT scores, essays, extra circulars, and interviews. Most people got ranked and admitted accordingly, but as it is in most colleges too there are exceptions. For example if a school has an orchestra and they need more violinists, playing the violin would weigh heavier on an application versus a student who plays the flute. They may be equal in every other aspect, and be just as good as one another on their respective instruments, but if the school wants violinists they will accept the violinist. This can be applied to many fields, such as sport recruitment, and having a diverse class. This then leads in to arguments such as affirmative action etc.

Is this system unfair? To some yes, while others would say no. Those accepted because they had some sort of “advantage” would just say that it was fair because that is the special thing that they knew colleges would appreciate. While those unaffected would probably note how this process is unfair, just because they don’t have that extra special quality, they are not accepted, even if they are similar to other students in all other aspects. This is an interesting dilemma that will probably not be solved anytime soon. This argument tied well into World Politics. Is the global economic system fair? Some would say yes, others no. it would depend on who is telling the story. To those who benefit, yes and probably to those who do not benefit, no.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blog Post 10

Consider these two hypothetical: suppose there are two squirrels each living in a different tree. One of them, Jimbo, lives happily and is able to obtain a large amount of acorns from the tree to the point where he is not even sure where to store them when winter seasons come. Unfortunately for Tiffany, the other squirrel, her tree for some reason produces a small amount of acorns that she often has to cut back in her meal to be able to survive. While it is clear that it is not Tiffany’s fault that her tree does not produce enough acorns for her to live off well, it may seem like it is unfair that Jimbo is getting a better treatment out of this.

While I hate to bring up the concept of Social Darwinism in this argument, the fact that some countries have more resources than others allows them to have a higher advantage in the economic competition. Whether it is the country’s nature (either geographic or environmental) or its historic past, certain nations have developed to become better prepared in today’s economy, while others struggle to keep up. Given the situation, one would argue that it is unjust that other countries are doing better. I, however, would argue the other way. Rather than looking at a nation’s modern economic status, we have to remember that not all countries used to be the same in the past. It was through years of slow development that has brought a nation to be where it is today. It may seem hard for undeveloped countries to compete other countries that have a better and stable economy in today’s society, but it does not mean it is unable to achieve. Looking back at the hypothetical situations, while Tiffany is not able to control the production of acorn from the tree she is living in, she is able to interact and work together with Jimbo with hopes that Jimbo might share some of his acorns to Tiffany. Similarly, countries are not able to control the nature and history that is affecting them from moving forward, but it certainly does not mean the nation is not able to cooperate with other countries to improve the situation.

Instead of taking the conditions for what it is and allow “Social Darwinism” to play its role and have the more developed countries to continue to grow, the less fortunate nations should work to figure out solutions to the problem. My suggestion to these solutions would be to provide more education to the people in the country. One cannot stress how crucial it is for citizens of a nation to be well educated in order to help the country develop. Similar to the United States’ government in which it provides large amounts of education funds in hope that it would benefit the economy in the long run by having a greater number of educated individuals, other countries should fund their education system too.

While I agree that it is unfair for one nation to be better suited in the economic competition than other countries, it doesn’t mean nothing can be done about it. It is not their fault that they just happen to have it worse. Life is unfair. It is the nature in it that (to some) motives and causes one to take action and change the situation to make it better. Otherwise, you can sit there with your sob story and wither away.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Blog Post 10

The key to understanding Inayatullah’s argument in my opinion is what he states in the conclusion.

“I have evaded all the practical issues associated with the implementation of a right to wealth because my aim is merely to place such ideas on the theoretical agenda.”

Although I agree with Inayatullah’s argument about the right to wealth in the current global politico-economic order developed from a colonial past, there are no real solutions to remedying the unequal results experienced by many countries.

The economic failures of many countries in the world are not fair. There is a global economic order in which all participants are not rewarded equally. This stems from the world being divided along the lines of nation-states. Some participate and enjoy high levels of prosperity, but most have to participate and experience poverty. This is not fair.

Inayatullah explains that an evaluation of economic failures should not preclude colonialism. Colonialism effectively created the roles played by most economies and made colonies dependent on the colonizers to guarantee their well-being.

Now, third-world economies are still dependent on a core of former colonizers but have the onus of guaranteeing their own well-being. Neo-Colonialism in a nutshell. Still prevalent but often not considered as mentioned in Inayatullah’s argument.

Most third-world countries are in a dire predicament. With slim chances of economic prosperity, poverty is a way-of-life. Finding practical solutions to third-world problems is a difficult exercise, and even considering the right to wealth does generate a practical response.

Blog #10: Economic Equality and Educational Equality

During class, the question of nations having equal opportunities in the global economic arena and the question of equal education in the United States played off each other in an interesting manner. While they are, in fact, two very different situations, the discussion allowed the class to see how they were more similar than one would have originally suspected. Just as not all students in America get the same basic education, thus hindering them in their futures, not all nations have had the same economic backgrounds. I feel that the inequality between the economic preparedness of nations, especially those whose economies have been dilapidated due to the effects of colonization is unfair, just as those student’s who attend the underfunded schools are affected by that injustice.

Following the metaphor of American public schools to the global economy, those nations that have survived colonization and those students who have survived underfunded public schools have faced large challenges and assistance to those countries and students is just. The after effects of colonization can be clearly seen today. The disparity that runs rampant in many countries that were colonized is largely due to the lack of continuous economic growth. In order to help equalize the economic potential of these types of nations, a few things would have to come together simultaneously. Global funds would need to be reallocated to the nations who face the greatest economic strife, just as funds need to be reallocated towards those schools that are most underfunded. Said funds would, of course, need to be monitored and kept out of the hands of the corrupt. The funds would ideally go towards services that would help restore the nations economy such as the development of trade schools for men and women, the development of manufacturing facilities inside of the country and general education for all. An emphasis needs to be placed on people of the nation buying and utilizing those resources that the nation itself possesses. Why mine your own tantalum (mineral used in cell phones) only to export it to Europe, China or the U.S. to have it sold back to you in the form of a cell phone? Why not produce your own cell phones with your own minerals thus allowing for much more of the profit to remain in the country and increase overall economic strength. This can be tied back into the metaphor of American public schools by stating that if you provide better funding to schools, the students will receive a better education allowing them to move higher up on the economic totem pole. This will statistically allow them to contribute more to the school system through taxation because they’ll be more likely to get a better job, house etc. This will then allow for the funding of schools to increase.

Inequality isn’t a good thing in schools and it’s not a great thing in the economic world either. Yes, there may be pros that could be argued, but, as I stated before, I like what Paul Wellstone said, “We all do better when we all do better.”

Blog Post 11

Inayatullah's argument that states having a right to wealth is based upon the claim that states are unequally prepared for global economic competition. This week we are asked if the economic success or failure under such circumstances is a fair one. My belief is that economic success could be either fair or unfair whichever way you look at it; I mean it’s just life. But is life fair or is it unfair? Life is an unfair thing. Some people and countries have certain advantages and resources that other countries and people do not have access to. Can we do anything about it? A lot of times we cannot, but some countries do prove this statement wrong. I think that it is fair to say that some countries are more prepared for the global competition than others. But just because countries are not as well suited does not mean they can work hard and overcome this obstacle.

The United States is plentiful with natural resources such as coal and timber. With its ample amounts of natural resources, the United States is able to use that to its advantage in its economy. Is it fair that the United States has so many resources compared to other countries? No, it’s not, but life is unfair. The United States is able to benefit due to the fact we are naturally better off than some other countries. You just have to deal with what you’re given and make the best out of it. This is on contrast to other countries, like Japan have very little natural resources. They cannot use natural resources to add to their economy because they don’t have a lot. Since Japan is not very abundant in natural resources they had to focus on a different route towards economic success. The government instead chose to focus on industries that they thought would benefit Japan. As stated in a website called Japan: Post War Economic Recovery, the author writes, “The focus of development was on chemicals, iron and steel, shipbuilding and transistor radios during the 1960s, on automobiles and electronics during the 1970s, and on computers, computer chips and other high-technology industries during the 1980s.” Since Japan is not abundant is natural resources, and therefore were not naturally set out to be prepared in this global economic position, they were still able to work hard and overcome this obstacle. Today they have the third highest economy in the World, following both the United States and China.

So overall I believe that Inayatullah’s argument that states have a right to wealth based on the claim that states are unequally prepared for global economic competition true. Economic success under these circumstances is fair. Countries are given what they have to work with, and they have to make the most out of it. But even if countries are not as naturally well off as others they still have the potential to have as strong of an economy as other countries.

Source used: “Japan Economy Profile 2010.” IndexMundi. CIA World Factbook, n.d. Web. 7 Sept. 2010. .

Question # 10

Inayatullah's argument about states having a right to wealth is predicated on tbe claim that states are unequally prepared for global economic competition. Is the economic success or failure of a state under such circumstances a fair outcome? If so, why? If not, what should be done?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Reflective Post Week 11

This week’s discussion in class was pretty interesting. Whenever it comes to conversations about one’s income, people always feel uncomfortable talking about their own wealth. Whether it is for their own security or because they don’t want to end up creating a bad image of themselves, people don’t usually tell others how wealthy they are. It is a matter that is often kept within the family and sometimes even between spouses only. When asked how wealthy those of us were during the discussion, I could tell that both the people answering the questions and those listening to the responses were feeling uneasy.

One of the responses that I found most interesting was when Sarah talked about her family and how she said she is “wealthy in spirit.” Her response reminded me of my mission trip to Tecate, Mexico back in my sophomore year of high school. During the trip, we visited a family to see the difference between those living outside of town and those living inside the town. Many of the people that lived away from towns and city lacked resources including water and electricity. The family we visited, in particular, lived in a small house that had enough room only to place two beds and their belongings in it. To cook, they would go outside and use metal barrels to lit up the fire and the lid to cook the food. Despite it all, the family did not complain for their living conditions. Life might not have been easy for them, but you can tell from their smiles that they were just thankful to be living another day. In the end, the experience of meeting the family influenced me to view the value of life differently. It reminded me of how grateful I am to have the things that I have.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Reflection 11: A disturbing reality

The meaning of wealth is elusive to many but in a modern world that is commercialized and focuses on material pursuit there is no doubt what wealth is; money. The sooner people accept this reality; the sooner solutions to wealth disparities can be achieved.

For the blog I’ll provide the definition of wealth as defined by Investopedia, a wealth advisor of sorts.

Wealth:

A measure of the value of all of the assets of worth owned by a person, community, company or country. Wealth is the found by taking the total market value of all the physical and intangible assets of the entity and then subtracting all debts.

The sagacious brains behind Investopedia further explain wealth:

Essentially, wealth is the accumulation of resources. People are said to be wealthy when they are able to accumulate many valuable resources or goods. Wealth is expressed in a variety of ways. For individuals, net worth is the most common expression of wealth, while countries measure bygross domestic product (GDP) or GDP per capita.

As indicated wealth is simply the value of accumulated assets. As disingenuous it might seem, this crude reality is the true meaning of wealth.

A hindrance towards accepting reality is when people romanticize the meaning of wealth. They use this flawed sensibility to construct an understanding of the poor that fails to assess their true position in society. Poor people are not wealthy despite any claims that say otherwise.

Most people during the class discussion when asked if they were wealthy responded in resounding confirmation. If the same question were to be asked to a group of students in a low-income school in an area like Anacostia, the answer would be very different. Living in America does not make a person wealthy, nor does the availability of opportunities. The absence of adequate financial resources creates disparate results even if the same opportunities are available.

Bridging income-disparities and empowering the poor is the only method through which wealth can be accessed by more people. Romanticizing the poor in this process does not help, it only undermines their position. Wealth should be taken for what it is, money.

Reflection # 11: Wealthy in Spirit

I have always sworn to myself that I won’t ever care about money, that I will always do what makes me happy above what will make me money. I have always promised myself that I will not settle and become stuck in some job that I hate simply because it allows me to feel comfortable and financially stable. I realize that this makes me sound crazy to some people, stupid to others and to the select few it makes me sound spoiled.

For most people the goal in life is to be happy. But the break down between people begins when you ask them how they’ll achieve this happiness. Many people will equate their happiness to money or what they can accumulate: a nice house, that Aston Martin they’ve always dreamed of or sending their children to college. There’s nothing wrong this I guess, I just don’t think that you can buy total happiness. To me, the goal in life is to be happy, just like what everyone else wants. But how I’ll achieve this isn’t by how much money I’ll have or acquiring things, it’ll be by doing what I love and knowing that it’s about the doing that makes me happy, not the pay check that comes every two weeks. If you’ve ever worked at a job you love, you’ll know it because when that pay check comes in the mail, you’ll look at it and think, ‘this is nice I guess, but I would keep going back even if they said they didn’t have the resources to pay me anymore, I love it that much’. It's about being wealthy in spirit.

Recently I’ve been thinking about why I have this as my goal. I’d like to think it’s simply because I’m a strong willed person who doesn’t believe that money makes you happy, and that is part of it, but there’s more than that. My parents are definitely not the Rockefellers, but we’re “doing ok”. And I think this is a big part of why I have this mentality. I’ve always been told I should do what makes me happy and I’ve also always been given opportunities. This has allowed me to become a dreamer, to truly believe that I don’t need to be well off or have lots of money to be happy. Maybe this makes me spoiled, maybe it makes me crazy, but one thing is for sure, it makes just a little different than most.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Reflective Post Week 11

What is wealth? Am I wealthy? Is wealth security? These were all questions that arose in Thursday’s World Politics class. A very interesting and controversial topic, the idea of personal wealth is usually not an everyday conversation one tends to have with people. All throughout my life, wealth was seen as a personal issue. (One not discussed with people besides their family) No one really discussed their wealth. Growing up, my friends and I were all in the same “class”. So wealth was not really something we needed to discuss. We could all usually afford the same things, so no one ever felt left out because of their family’s income. So we never really had to discuss the idea of wealth.

Wealth defined for me is probably around the same definition we talked about in class. So wealth basically having able to choose what you want to spend your money on, as opposed to being forced into one option. I really liked the idea Aubrey brought up in class. That one idea around wealth is being able to choose your future career. If you get out of college in debt, of course you would take the highest paying job in order to pay off those debts, no matter what it was. But if you little to no debt you can take a job at an NGO that you really want to do, and not feel bad for making less money as long as you are pursuing your passion.

One idea in the realm of wealth that has always puzzled me has been the idea of “class”. Whenever the idea of social classes arises in conversation, 9 times out of 10 the person I am talking to will say that their in the “middle class”. Even people I know that are obviously in the upper class, still tend to say that they are only in the upper middle class. So why are Americans so discomforted by talking about the idea of their economic wealth? I guess wealth is a personal issue. I mean today, truthfully I cannot tell if someone is upper class, middle class or lower class. Since some people choose to spend all their money towards their appearances sometimes I assume their upper class, but in reality they are middle to lower class, they just choose to spend their money on their appearance versus their housing, food etc.

Wealth is a very touchy subject in the United States. But I do believe that it is sometimes good for us to discuss it. I enjoyed Thursday’s class a lot. J

Joke of the day: "It's clear" said the teacher, "That you haven't studied your geography. What's your excuse ?"
"Well, my dad says the world is changing every day . So I decided to wait until it settles down !"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Blog Post 9

In our modern world where countries are economically interdependent and politically connected, states seek to cooperate with one another to benefit themselves while helping the other. While people used to live in their own bubble, people today are not as exclusive to their own nation. As technology advances and people become more accessible to information around the world, the interests in one state slowly becomes an interest in another. Countries seek to advance and develop at the same level as the other nations. Thus, the question of whether states should organize some form of supernational integration to interact and cooperate with each other is brought up.

When we look at an organization of supernational integration, we have to consider the economic, social, and political difference between smaller and larger states. Smaller states often deals with less drastic domestic issues because of the small population size that is has. Larger states, on the other hand, deals with more and major domestic matters because a lot more conflicts are produced by the mass amount of people. If they were to be integrated together by a supernational organization, most smaller states would greatly benefit from it because they would be politically and economically supported through the rest of the community. Larger states, however, would have a disadvantage from the smaller states because the rest of the community would not be able to support the larger states’ issues. Although this may be a downside to supernational integration, by having the organization the majority of the nations in it would greatly benefit from it because they would need to work their differences to try to bring a balance to it all. By taking a view at this issue, a constructivist would say that the by having supernational integration, states would be able to share their interests with other nations and use the ideas to expand their own. Countries are definitely growing as a global actor in the world. Because of economic globalization and their political connections, the development of a supernational formation would benefit the global actors in today’s society.

Blog #9: SUPERnational!

I would agree with our prompt for this week, due to massive universal challenges that affect thousands of people across the globe, it is necessary to come together under some kind of supernational integrated group.

Think for a moment of tackling the issue of global warming, or any other global issue, if you are a country the size of Iceland, Bhutan or Togo. Perhaps you could have an impact on what you do domestically but domestic reform, especially if you are a small nation, means that it’s hard for you to have a large impact. Just as Dr. Jacob Burksti stated during our presentation on Monday about the EU, smaller countries have a hard time being heard or standing alone in the presence of larger nations. This is one of the key reasons that it is important to acknowledge the benefits of a constructivist / supernational approach.

The economic status of the globe can be categorized similarly to the issue of global warming. As seen in the present conditions of global economics, we’re all linked. As one large nations economy falters, other countries economies are directly affected. Allowing for economic supernational integration may allow nations to help limit this trend and ease the economic depression felt by those countries that are smaller. Just as global warming is an issue that small countries may not be contributing to as quickly as larger nations, the global economy is similar. As Zimbabwe’s economy has continued to spiral downward due to massive inflation, the United State’s economy has remained largely unaffected by it. But it’s fair to say that small nations felt the effect of the United State’s economic downturn. Allowing for supernational integration could perhaps help us to regulate our economies so that the little guy isn’t always the one getting stepped on.

Overall the utilization of supernatial integration could do a lot for the betterment of the globe.