POLI 244 - Imperialism Essay

POLI 244 - Imperialism Essay - Eric Grandmaison (260270505)...

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Eric Grandmaison (260270505) POLI 244 – State Behavior November 5, 2007 TA: Amy Cox Empire is Imperialism Imperialism has always existed in our world and it continues to exist today, but it is not inherent. The concept of imperialism has evolved with the world, and it truly does not exist in the way it did 200 years ago, but it is still here. In a constructivist approach to international politics, it is possible to see that the world is stuck in a realist mindset perpetuated by its capitalist/competitive approach to life. It is possible to see that imperialism has transformed from primarily military-based, to primarily economic-based, but furthermore, it is possible to see that the world does not need to stay imperialistic in nature. Through the changing of norms, and a fundamental shift in economic philosophy, one can see that a world free of imperial reign is possible (Wendt, 61). But whether one ought to prefer that world to the one we live in today is open to personal interpretation. “Imperialism is the process of establishing and maintaining an empire” (Doyle, 19). But just as the world has evolved over time so to has the concept of what an empire is. This definition is not so much the issue, but rather the interpretation of what exactly this means. What exactly makes an empire? What does or does not count as imperialism? Empires are no longer formal land conquests. If this were the case, it would be clear to see that imperialism is basically gone from the Earth. Developed nations no longer look to assert their influence of under-developed nations through formal annexation, but this does not mean they are not asserting their influence. Just because strong states today, like the United States, are not seizing chunks of Africa the same way the imperial powers
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of Western Europe were a few hundred years ago does not mean today’s strong states are not imperial. Vladimir Lenin argued that imperialism was essentially driven by capitalism. That is to say, a capitalist world has not only the opportunity for imperialism, but has imperialism as the ultimate goal. For Lenin, in a capitalist world, it is in the best interest of a metropolitan society to expand its rule it the point of monopoly. As long as we live in a capitalist world, we will live in a world where imperialism is inevitable. Just as competition and the eventual development of monopolies are essential to capitalism, so too is imperialism a part of our world. But it is not inherent in the world on its own, only in how we view the world today. Capitalism inherently encompasses selfishness and the
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course POLI 244 taught by Professor Saideman during the Fall '07 term at McGill.

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POLI 244 - Imperialism Essay - Eric Grandmaison (260270505)...

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