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THE GLOBAL POLITICAL ECONOMY: WHAT ABOUT CULTURE?

THE GLOBAL POLITICAL ECONOMY: WHAT ABOUT CULTURE?

In the context of the actual system, we have analysed the effect of its dynamics in small domestic economies and producers, like in the Colombian case, and groups living in extreme poverty, like in the case of Brazil. By now, we understand that development is not only measured by the economic performance of a country. We understand that when measuring development topics such as education, equality and many other affect directly the standard of living of any population. When analysing any country, one must then remember than a nation state is not only about the performance of their government (the state itself) but the performance of the nation as a diverse community that works together and coexist among each other in harmony. Under this logic, one could argue that culture, values and customs that all nations possess need to be as preserved and nurtured as their economy and institutions are or attempt to be. This is important for many reasons. A strong, spread out and constant sense of nationalism among a population brings infinite benefits. First of all, maintains a country together and looking onto the same direction which will avoid divisions and eventually the fragmentation of the country. At the same time, allows the country to work together above their differences and reduces the possibility of, for instance, civil wars of rebellions against the government in power. In cases where countries are highly diverse and possess different religious and ethnic groups culture needs to be even more nurtured as conflict might arise easier.

When countries have been through severe processes of colonisation, like in the case of Colombia and Brazil, and the miscegenation process gave these countries an extensive range of minorities and different ethnic groups this lack of cultural development is easier to spot. In the images above, we can observe how indigenous groups in both Brazil and Colombia protest against their lands being taken for the construction of big venues or the extraction of resources. They argue that their rights are being violated and that governments give little or no protection to these Brazilian and Colombian citizens that are as important as the rest of the society.
The economic opening that both countries have been through the past 30 or 40 years following the dynamics of a more capitalistic and westernised world have been affecting these minorities greatly. When land and soil are not regarded anymore as they used to among these groups, a place on earth given to us a gift and with spiritual value, and begins to be seen an everlasting font of resources these values get lost and these minorities are excluded immediately. As mentioned before, this only creates fragmentation, exclusion, dissatisfaction and rage among these groups that at some point leads violence as the only option; this is one of the main reasons why most of the guerrillas arose in South and Latin America. One then understands that nowadays dynamics do not give priority to these kind of issues and nor do governments. So, any measures that are taken towards development will only keep on affecting them unless their voice is heard and their citizen rights are more respected and protected. This will not only improve the sense on Nationalism and unity but will help tackle the problem of inequality and distribution of wealth.

Ana Maria Franco.
Middlesex University, London.

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