Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Most Unfair "Monolpoly" Game

To step back for a second, it’s important to note that there was no “god” that allotted each nation its wealth, power, capacity, autonomy and strength to rule. There wasn’t any mastermind who drew out the world’s borders and calculated the GDP of each. Rather, these factors were determined as time moved on. As wars, depressions, surpluses and trade impacted the globe today, each nation utilized its monetary capacities in different means. For example, Costa Rica chose not to support an army while America opted for a state-of-the-art army. North Korea chose to participate in nuclear arms proliferation while other smaller nations abstained.

In reference back to the “god,” who can we blame for such unbalance? Can we blame the money gods or the military gods? Rather, we are blaming centuries of individuals who helped shape the expenditures and characteristics of each state. These individuals were in control of the state’s decisions in determining their economic position. Thus, decisions that were either made (or sadly implemented) on nations help determine their wealth today. In certain circumstances it may seem unfair that the DRC would lose to China in a competition. But world politics is not a monopoly game where each player gets exactly two $500 bills at the start of the game. We live in a world today where a whole continent starts off the game with $1 while the globe’s super power starts off with more.

I feel conflicted by this question. Part of me wants to be a pragmatist and say, “my argument above supports my position that it’s ‘fair’ because this is how the world is today. But deep down, I know it’s not fair. It’s unjust that the world was carved up this way. What karma made the US such a strong nation while Burma was cast aside? Is it fair that Africa lost the competition? It seems like a lost cause, because we do not have control other sovereign nations. It is up to each individual state to better the problem. When these states are run by corrupt governments, the problem becomes deeper. If we can advocate more for just democracies and ‘power to the people,’ then the public would elect fair officials. Hopefully, these representatives would be selfless enough to spend the nation’s wealth to better the economy rather than bettering themselves. Yet realistically, it is near impossible for one individual to fix the problems of his/her predecessors. As long as the problem is recognized and the people have a say, hopefully states will become more ‘equally’ wealth.

1 comment:

  1. Elana:
    I understand your frustration with the question posed. There always seems to be this tension between wanting to sound like a pragmatist and answering how you truly feel. The great thing about this question is: you don't really have to choose. A pragmatist would acknowledge the undeniable link between colonialism and economic stratification in our world today. This seems to be what you are getting at in the second paragraph. In my blog, I identified lack of natural resources and colonialism as an example of two outside factors that continue to control a nation's economic success or failure today.