McMichales Ferguson Sassen Discussion
First, read the following statement by Frank.
“[O]ur ignorance of the underdeveloped countries’ history leads us to assume that their past and indeed their present resembles earlier stages of the history of the now developed countries. This ignorance and this assumption lead us into serious misconceptions about contemporary underdevelopment and development. Further, most studies of development and underdevelopment fail to take account of the economic and other relations between the metropolis and its economic colonies throughout the history of the world-wide expansion and development of the mercantilist and capitalist system.”
(Random note from prof: In the last 3 weeks, you read multiple summaries of this very history “of the world-wide expansion and development of the mercantilist and capitalist system.” Therefore, you should be able to envision some of this history Frank references!)
Frank was one of the first academics to directly challenge narratives that “development” was a pathway to affluence for postcolonial (underdeveloped) countries. In your own words, what are the “economic and other relations between the metropolis and its economic colonies” that Frank says created the conditions of underdevelopment in South America? (Give one example from the text.)
2) According to McMichaels, how is the concept of “development” (or human development) related to colonialism? In your opinion, do you think he would argue that our global focus on development (popularized after decolonization) is better than colonialism?
3) First, read the following statement.
“But as the contemporary African material shows so vividly, the ‘global’ does not ‘flow,’ thereby connecting and watering contiguous spaces; it hops instead, efficiently connecting the enclaved points in the network while excluding (with equal efficiency) the spaces that lie between the points.”
According to Ferguson, what “hops” and does not flow? (Hint: it is not water and not just “global”. Be specific.) Why is this relevant to the social life of people in African countries? (Give one example from the text.) Also, can you see how Ferguson’s vision and Frank’s vision of capitalism are similar?
4) In your opinion, do you think that Sassen would attribute some of Covid’s disproportionate impact on people of color to globalization?
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