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The Western Imperialists are a group of individuals that have been greatly debated and spoken about in current culture. Interestingly, this group dates back to the 1700’s when the idea was first formed. The organization started off small and decided members should consent to membership, have strong reputations, have a well-established family, good social connections, and be wealthy. This group grew and pulled in many influential members and was thought to have impactful contributions.
The western imperial powers have devised so many means to maintain such asymmetrical relationship at all cost even post colonially. It is the employment of these methods that some scholars call Neo-colonialism or Post-colonial imperialism.
Neo-colonialism is the geopolitical practise of using capitalism, business globalisation, and cultural imperialism to influence a country in lieu of either direct military control or indirect political control, imperialism and hegemony. The term neo-colonialism was coined by Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah, to describe the socio-economic and political control that can be exercised economically, linguistically, and culturally, whereby promotion of the
culture of the neo-colonist country facilitates the cultural assimilation of the colonised people and thus opens the national economy to the multinational corporations of the neo-colonial country.
It is pertinent to point out at this juncture that imperialism not only has material dimensions but also cultural aspects. This form of Colonial Imperialism by the Western imperialists not only created structurally weak nations in the World but also exploited indigenous populations, thus breaking up the material make-up of these societies and culturally destabilising them. The political aspects of this menace have been deeply asphyxiating, being that these weak political structures created by the western imperialists have received political and economic functions at independence, which they are not developed enough to handle.
At independence, most colonised countries were exposed to and incorporated into a world system that they are not matured enough to advantageously play the politics inherent in it and thus are left at the mercy of the imperial-capitalist nations of the West who own and run the system in their national interest. This explains why Japan isolated itself from world politics and western influence until it was matured enough and structurally ready to take on the turbulent waters of world politics. This readiness was demonstrated in Japan’s immediate involvement in imperialist and expansionist politics and thus annexed Taiwan and Korea in 1895 and 1910 respectively.
The method of subjugation and total-world control started around the middle of the sixteenth century and continued till the end of the nineteenth century. The era witnessed numerous economic activities that were of great benefits to only the Western imperialists and their Capitalist countries. Some of these activities included the slave and free trades, colonial conquests and annexation of the present day third world, all of which had economic motives. These in turn paved the way for the incorporation of the economies of these overseas territories. This process had many consequences.
First, it led to a one-sided transfer of the economic wealth from the overseas countries to the colonising countries, thereby resulting in capital accumulation in the latter, and the depletion of economic surplus generated in the
Secondly, it promoted complementarity and dependence whereby countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America became the producers of primary products for the industries in the advanced industrialist west and importers of manufactured goods. This led to an international division of labour skewed advantageously in favour of the West.
Thirdly, it resulted in the decimation of local manufacturing industries through the process of flooding the markets of the colonised territories with foreign goods at cheaper rates, resulting in the withering away of local industries that were previously producing the goods.
These western imperialists invest much in the developing countries of Africa through multinational corporations (MNCs). These companies exploit market area and cheap labour. To prove the above, countries from Europe and America have been able to get inexpensive natural resources from the poorer countries in Asia and Latin America including oil for power ores and minerals. The industrialised or imperialist nations also use their MNCs (Multinational Corporations) or even Transnational Corporations to further plunder the resources of the third world till this very day.
As a classical example, North-America and European corporations have acquired control of more than three-fourths of the known mineral resources of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Such multinational corporations invest in countries with cheaper labour markets U.S corporate foreign investment grew 84 per cent from 1985 to 1990, the most dramatic increase being in cheap labour countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Nigeria. These Transnationals that are controlled by the Western Imperialists have developed a global production line. General motors’ has factories that produce cars, trucks and a wide range of auto components in Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, Belgium, Yugoslavian, Nigeria, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and a dozen other countries.
Another economic method is world market control. Europe and America control the world market by fixing the price of African cash crops and by keeping the prices low, they make Africa remain dependent on their aids. Thus these nations are perpetually kept in a situation of unequal exchange.
Another damning economic tool utilised by these Western Imperialists against the rest of the world is the giving of loans and grants. Imperialist nations make use of financial institutions such as World Bank, IMF, IFC to give the developing countries loans and grants accompanied by very high-interest rates and unrealistic conditionality. This proves hard for these other countries to pay back in the long run, which results in debt burden and hence underdevelopment and dependence. For many years, a country like Nigeria has groaned under the heavyweight of debt burden until some were cancelled under the Olusegun Obasanjo civilian regime (1999-2007).
The IMF operates as a United Nations specialised agency and is a permanent forum for consideration of issues of international payments, in which member nations are encouraged to maintain an orderly pattern of exchange rates and to avoid restrictive exchange practices. The IMF was established, along with the International Bank
for Reconstruction and Development, or World Bank, at the UN Monetary and Financial Conference held in 1944 at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire with the sole aim of rebuilding the war-torn Europe (thus, an institution of the West, run by the West for the good of the West and practically the West alone). The IMF began operations in 1947. Membership is open to all independent nations and included 184 countries in 2004.
This is one of the ways that these western imperialists have come to predominate other less-fortunate countries. The U.S.A, for instance, exerts considerable influence over certain Third World nations as a result of its national economical financial organisation such as the World Bank and IMF.
Technology is another economic tool of this Western Imperialism. Nowadays, you here of privacy concerns and data mining amongst numerous applications, websites and gadgets manufactured by the West. This data is used to monitor and control the flow of information to other lesser countries. The monopoly of this vital mined data is monopolised by these western imperialists and sometimes used for blackmail to keep their stooges in check. Asides this, there is a minimum technology transfer from the rich countries of the west to the poor countries of Africa even in a situation of import substitution. For example, in Nigeria, the Coca Cola Company brings
machinery but do not allow the staff members from Nigeria to access the technological know-how of the manufacturing process of soft drinks. This makes it that money is made in these countries but is spent outside it because money for the purchase of the machinery and expertise returns to the developed countries of the west.
These western imperialists also utilise the mass media in the maintenance of an asymmetrical international order. Through worldwide mass media such as BBC, CNN, VOA, DW, the imperialists disseminate information that psychologically justifies their activities in other parts of the world.
Education is also used by the neo-colonialist to exploit developing countries. In developing countries, the curriculum is informed by imperialistic rather than practical education. Hence the imperialists through colonialism have instituted a system of education that is not based on creativity, productivity and solution finding, but on paper works and theoretical explanations. Thus while the states of the west are busy producing and innovating through practical education, most scholars in the impoverished parts of the world (Africa especially) are busy gathering certificates.
Cultural indoctrination is another way the western imperialists maintain their exploitative grip on Africa. Through the use of the mass media, books, magazines and the internet, the western imperialists inculcate their cultural
values which include the mode of dressing and food into Africa. Through the adoption of western cultural ideals, new markets are established because of the induced demand in Africa where the people now want to appear like the people in the West. There is a very good and blossoming textile and footwear industry in Aba, Nigeria but the government seem oblivious of these industries and the people many a time prefer made-in-U.S. and made-in-UK products over these local but very good products, the same goes for food items as people prefer foreign rice over the locally produced and more nutritious ones.
Politically, the western imperialists establish cordial relations with the ruling class in Africa. This is done so as to make it easier for these leaders to be used as local agents of imperialism. By installing and supporting puppet leaders (especially at independence), the imperialists are able to exploit these nations with the support of these petty-bourgeois leaders who embezzle national funds and bank them overseas, thereby creating more capital in the West. Thus the leader benefits individually with the imperialists while the country remains impoverished. It is common in developing countries for leaders to be stupendously rich while the citizens wallow in abject poverty.
Also, the advanced states of the north especially the U.S.A arbitrarily encroach into the territories of the southern states and topple leaders who are perceived to be working against western imperialists interests. This informed the U.S.A invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime, the same scenario also played out in Libya in 2011 when Col. Muammar Gadhafi the leader of the Libyan state was killed by pro-U.S.A local rebel forces.
So it is clear now that there are two classes on earth. One is the rich west (Western Imperialists) and another is the poor third-world. The rich are expanding their wealth by exploiting the poor. The western imperialists have been dominating the poor countries from the colonial era till now. They straightly exploited the colonial countries for their profit in the colonial period, but from the post-colonial era they have changed their strategy to indirect exploitation. Globalisation, capitalism and developmental concepts developed by them are just modified versions
of colonialism, just like old wine in a new bottle or divorce with alimony.
The veritable solution to this situation is for the third-world countries to delink from whatsoever link they have with these western imperialists and their imperialist Nations. But immediate delinking may be fatalistic. So a slow process delinking occasioned by a revolutionary and patriotic leadership, formulation of homegrown economic and socio-political policies which reflect local realities, and a revision of the educational curriculum to reflect African as against western thought system will be advised so as to combat imperialism and underdevelopment in the third-world countries.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK