The Making of Global World
Give two examples of different types of global exchanges which took place before the seventeenth century, choosing one example from Asia and one from the Americas.
Two examples of different types of global exchanges are as follows:
(a) Before the seventeenth century, China exported silk and pottery to India and Southeast Asia. In return, textiles and spices flowed from India and Southeast Asia to China.
(b) Americas traded in crops, labour, different types of goods and minerals with other countries.
Explain how the global transfer of disease in the pre-modern world helped in the colonisation of the Americas.
Colonisation of America was decisively under way by the mid-sixteenth century. The most powerful weapon of the Spanish and Portuguese conquerors was not a conventional military at all. But along with this they used germs such as those of smallpox for conquering parts of America.
Because of their long isolation, America’s original inhabitants had no immunity against these diseases that came from Europe. The diseases, once introduced, spread very fast. They killed and decimated whole communities, paving the way for conquest.
Write a note to explain the effects of the following :
(a) The British government’s decision to abolish the Corn Laws.
(b) The coming of rinderpest to Africa.
(c) The death of men of the working-age in Europe because of the World War.
(d) The Great Depression on the Indian economy.
(e) The decision of MNCs to relocate production to Asian countries.
(a) After the Corn Laws were abolished, food could be imported into Britain more cheaply than it would be produced within the country. British agriculture was unable to compete with imports. Vast areas of land were now left uncultivated, and thousands of men and women were thrown out of work. They flocked to the cities or migrated overseas.
(b) Rinderpest, a fast-spreading disease of cattle plague, was brought to Africa by Europeans in late 1880s. Entering Africa in the east, rinderpest moved west ‘like forest fire’ destroying almost 90 per cent of African cattle. It had a terrifying impact on people’s livelihoods and the local economy.
Planters, mine owners and colonial governments successfully monopolised what scarce cattle resources remained, to strengthen their power and to force Africans into the labour market. Very soon control over the African resources paved the way for European conquest.
(c) Most of the killed and maimed in the First World War were men of working age. These deaths and injuries reduced the able-bodied workforce in Europe with fewer numbers within the family, household incomes declined and women stepped in to undertake jobs that earlier only men were expected to do.
(d) The Great Depression immediately affected Indian economy. India’s exports and imports nearly halved between 1928 and 1934. As international prices crashed, prices in India also plunged. Though agricultural prices fell sharply, the colonial government refused to reduce revenue demands. Peasant producing for the world market were the worst hit.
(e) From the late 1970s MNCs began to shift production operations to Asian countries because of the low wages. The relocation of industry to low wage countries stimulated world trade and capital flows.
Give two examples from history to show the impact of technology on food availability.
(a) With the invention of faster railways, lighter wagons and larger ships, carrying of food from far away farms to final markets became cheaper and easier.
(b) The development of a new technology, namely, refrigerated ships enabled the transport of perishable foods over long distances. Meat from America and Australia was also transported to Europe as frozen meat.
What is meantby the Bretton Woods Agreement?
Conference that held in July 1944 at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, USA to decide on a framework of an economic system for preserving economic stability and full employment is known as the Bretton Woods Agreement.
Imagine that you are an indentured Indian labourer in the Caribbean. Drawing from the details in this chapter, write a letter to your family describing your life and feelings.
To be attempted by the students themselves.
Explain the three types of movements or flows within international economic exchange. Find one example of each type of flow which involved India and Indians, and write a short account of it.
The three types of movements or flows within international economic exchange with examples of India and Indians are as follows :
(a) Flow of trade : The flow of trade refers to trade in goods. Before industrialisation, fine cotton produced in India was exported to Europe. With industrialisation, British cotton manufacture began to expand, and industrialists pressurised the government to restrict cotton imports and protect local industries.
The government imposed tariffs on cloth imports into Britain. As a consequence, the inflow of fine Indian cotton began to decline.
(b) Flow of labour : This includes migration of people in search of employment. In the nineteenth century, hundreds of thousands of Indian labourers went to work on plantations, in mines, and in road and railway construction projects around the world.
In India, indentured labourers were hired at a contract which promised return travel to India after they had worked for five years on their employer’s plantation.
The Caribbean islands (mainly Trinidad, Guyana and Surinam], Mauritius, and Fiji were the main destinations of Indian indentured migrants. Most of these indentured labourers migrated in hope for a bright future or to escape poverty or oppression in their home village, but they were exploited by the recruiting agent and by the employer.
(c) The movement of capital : This includes the movement of capital for short term or long term investment over long distances. The Shikaripuri Shroffs and Nattukottai Chettiars were amongst the many groups of Indian bankers and traders who financed export agriculture in Central and Southeast Asia.
For this, they used either their own funds or borrowed from European banks. They had a sophisticated system to transfer money over large distances, and even developed indigenous forms of corporate organisation.
Explain the causes of the Great Depression.
(a) Agriculture overproduction was one of the major causes of the Great Depression which led to fall in prices. With the fall in prices and decline in agricultural income, farmer tried to expand production and bring a larger volume of produce to the market to maintain their overall income.
This worsened the glut in the market, pushing down prices even further. Farm produce rotted for a lack of buyers.
(b) Another cause of the Depression was shortage of loans. In the mid 1920s, the US gave loans to many countries so that they could finance their investments. But the US withdrew giving loans if there was any kind of trouble. So countries depending crucially on US loans faced an acute crisis disturbing world trade.
(c) Conditions created by the War were also responsible for the Great Depression, during expansion to fulfil the increasing demand for war-related goods. But after the war, the sharp decrease in demands for military and war products gave birth to economic depression.
Explain what is referred to as the G-77 countries. In what ways can G-77 be seen as a reaction to the activities of the Bretton Woods twins?
The G-77 countries refer to a group of developing countries which did not benefit from their fast growth in the 1950s and 1960s. By organising G-77 they demanded a new international economic order (NIEO).
By the NIEO they meant a system that would give them real control over their natural resources, more development assistance, fairer prices for raw materials, and better access for their manufactured goods in developed countries’ markets.
Thus, G-77 can be seen as a reaction to the activities of the Bretton Woods twins.