One of the amazing attitudes within underserved and underdeveloped communities is the dependence on the state to do for them that they can do for themselves. Such is the chronicle of structural and systemic dependency. It paralyses, and perpetually lowers human expectations and resolve. It traps humanity in an orchestrated state of wanting. When we examine the causes of dependency, we realize it is a scripted narrative of a development doctrine that affects underserved and vulnerable communities, small island developing states (SIDS) and all emerging economies. This development doctrine fosters underdevelopment and is led by dominant governments and their development agencies.
The extraction of wealth from developing nations without any reciprocal tangible investment is the root cause of dependency since it develops one economy at the expense of another. Dos Santos emphasized that “Dependency is a situation in which a certain number of countries have their economy conditioned by the development and expansion of another…placing the dependent countries in a backward position exploited by the dominant countries”. This orchestrated exploitation is intertwined with capital market structures, imposed through hegemony.
As nations begin to genuflect to consumerism it allows this development methodology to superimpose its ill will on indigenous cultures, the poor, and the underserved. This arc of dependency more often than not is caused by relationships within a metropolis and satellite developmental process. This inhumane relationship that overpowers populations has worked its way into local politics and weaves a submissive narrative. Without doubt, dependency is orchestrated. Dependency in all its stages leads to mental slavery, brain drain, political disenfranchisement and the begging for handouts. Such outcomes vividly encapsulate the grind of existence for individuals and governments.
Today the developed dominant metropolis economies influence the economic, social, political and cultural life of its underdeveloped or developing dependent satellite constituents. It determines their livelihood through capital, technological, and professional flow enforcing a doctrine of dependency in all encounters and most significantly in service sector economies. These service sector businesses are dependent on the first world nations discretionary income for their survival.
Throughout the pandemic the hazards of dependency worsened as Caribbean economies nosedived, notably due to supply chain fluctuations, government edicts and discretionary income reduction. Over a half century ago Fanon warned that postcolonial bourgeoisie trained by Europeans ensures that oppression remains under the capitalistic class structure. “The national bourgeoisie will be greatly helped on its way toward decadence by the Western bourgeoisies, who come to it as tourists avid for the exotic, for big game hunting, and for casinos.
The national bourgeoisie organizes centers of rest and relaxation and pleasure resorts to meet the wishes of the Western bourgeoisie. Such activity is given the name of tourism, and for the occasion will be built up as a national industry.” In postcolonial economies and specifically in the Caribbean, tourism a service sector economy has become the main industry. This decision has placed the livelihood and economic security of these dependent nations hitched to the discretionary income of first world economies.
Notwithstanding the above, people of color make up more than ninety percent of the world population and live predominantly in areas of the world classified as developing or underdeveloped nations. These civilizations were systematically destroyed and underdeveloped by European colonialism.
Ironically, these underdeveloped nations were the backbone of the economic development and territorial expansion of Western civilization. Historically, the plantation economic slave complexes, along with imperial agents enlisted by European states, as explorers, pirates, missionaries, and privateers ravaged third and fourth world civilizations, eradicating their holistic way of life through proxy administration, forced migration, religion, slavery, economic dependency, capital extraction, disease and genocide, with the intent of transferring these nations wealth to Europe and America.
The outcome of this transnational venture is economic dominion. The domination vehicle is an uncontrolled mercantile system that subdues, manipulates and cheats all components of life. The structural displacement that comes with the inability to control ones’ destiny because of this doctrine is not new to the third world. Africa had made impressive economic progress in the 2000s as several countries sustained double-digit economic growth. However, under the guiding hand of the IMF’s structural ‘assistance’ program, Africa’s growth and its income dropped by 23%.
This type of occurrence is mirrored all over developing nations where local ways and means are stymied by development agencies to ensure the benefits form ‘contact’ only migrated in one direction towards the host.
According to Fanon the destruction of national identity and privatization of institutions are the current mechanisms used to perpetuate the inequalities in society. When we look further, the quiet acquiescence of governments to draconian strategies (neo-liberalism, the re-commodification of labor, retrenchment, pandemic mania etc.) have recently brought untold hardships.
People are willing to work but are unable to find meaningful jobs, because of government pandemic edicts and the increased burden of nation debt. Along with the appropriation of power by commercial entities the ordinary mam has been radically disenfranchised. He or she now no longer has the power to shape their destiny. This decision is now made by CEOs through fund flow analysis and returns to scale.
The metropolis development agencies; the IMF and the WTO are exerting tremendous pressures on national governments. They are redefining a governments’ ability to act as change agents for their constituents. It is often argued that development through coercion condemns developing economies to regression. When a national government no longer has the leverage to govern its own people, its political and economic legitimacy becomes threatened. Governments are forced to loosen their environmental standards; shackle trade unions in order attract capital flow, as their leaders travel the world begging for handouts. This process is destructive to the governments, their economies and to the spirit of nationhood.
The interrelationship between a single world economic system and dependency has serious implications for practical implementation in underdeveloped and developing economies. Frank phrased it in this way “we cannot hope to formulate an adequate development theory and policy for the majority of the world’s population who suffer from underdevelopment without first learning how their past economic and social history gave rise to their present underdevelopment”.
The lack of understanding or acknowledgement of the underdeveloped countries historical context, “leads us to assume that their past and indeed their present resembles earlier stages of the now developed countries”.
The idea that one model is good for all communities and nations, reward only the investor whose primary concern is his return on investment.
In fact, through investment or aid, the aggregate flow in wealth is always to Europe or America. Escobar critiqued that the economization of food in Columbia resulted in more hunger under the ‘gaze of experts.’ The ‘unconscious effect’ of keeping underdeveloped nations in bondage allows the US and EU to practice hegemony and continue their economic superiority. With their economic leverage they are able to superimpose their interpretation of morality (immorality) without regard for retribution or reproach from their satellite nations.
Escobar further stated that “new types of power and knowledge are being deployed in the Third World which try to insure the conformity of its peoples to a certain type of economic and cultural behavior”.
This hegemonic spread (the American way) is intricately tied into the power dynamics of master and slave relationship. To be like the master creates trauma. It invalidates and validates. It creates psychological pressures and leads to self-denial. It forces citizenry to become subscripts of consumerism and unequal participants in the exploitation of their own through unsustainable mandates.
According to the United Nations, twenty percent of the world’s people control eighty six percent of its wealth, which means eighty percent of the people, has access to fourteen percent of the world’s wealth. The distribution of the world’s wealth has a history, and part of that history has been the profound transformation of social structures and political institutions everywhere. This change came about through pillage, rape and religious conversion. For example, Latin American silver, shipped to Europe and to Asia from the 16th century to the 19th, created wealth in the world, but Andean institutions ceased to function, and the region was impoverished.
The plantation slave labor economic complex, which depended on enslaved African people, created tremendous wealth from the 17th to the 19th centuries, but Africa lost its people, and its social and political institutions got distorted and almost destroyed. Industrialization in Europe created tremendous wealth for a few, but the colonies and ex-colonies that provided raw materials and consumed the finished goods paid the costs without experiencing the benefits.
Today, “Workers and communities around the globe were told that if they downsized, deregulated, eliminated social services and generally become more competitive the benefits of globalization would bless them all”. In reality the opposite is occurring; wealth is flowing upwards at an increasing rate. Michel Foucault’s’ fundamental insights into the nature and dynamics of discourse, power and knowledge in western societies can be used to question the underdevelopment of the Third World and the implementation of Western systems and methodologies in development.
The Eurocentric development doctrine is one of global capital flow from one desperate region to another in search of profit. It’s rabid capitalism by market driven economies whose modus operandi are acquisition and destruction, Marx said in 1848 that “the need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere”. This continual need for development of new pastures has created fields of broken dreams and transformed tranquil nations to habitats full of dependent marginalized and exploited souls.
If we reason that capitalism knows no boundaries, then to ceaselessly accumulate capital, and new markets, acquisitions through conversion is required. Therefore, the only path is to spread outwards beyond original areas of influence and continue exploitation in new territories through dependency. Frank and Dos Santos expressed it in this way “the satellites experience their greatest economic development and especially their most classically capitalist industrial development if and when their ties to the metropolis are weakest”….”it is the significant integration with capitalism that has hindered underdeveloped countries to realize their full development potentials”. No matter what the intellectual argument portrays, an undeniable fact is that the development and expansion of first world economies condition economies of third world nations, to the point where dependency becomes a consequence of the world expansion of capitalism.
As a back drop, in 1951 the United Nations Department of Economic affairs phrased the development process as such “there is a sense in which rapid economic progress is impossible without painful adjustments. Ancient philosophies have to be scrapped; old social institutions have to disintegrate; bonds of caste, creed and race have to burst; and large numbers of persons who cannot keep up with progress have to have their expectations of comfortable life frustrated. Very few communities are willing to pay the full economic price”. By and large, the communities who refuse to ‘pay the full price of economic progress’ willingly have been forced into dependency. ‘Development/Profits’ became too important to allow the poor, the downtrodden, to break the chains of dependency and get in the way of ‘progress’.
In summation, development planners paid no attention to unchecked ‘development’. The consequences of the last two hundred years of western industrial development are now coming home to roost. Climate change and ozone depletion brought on by the burning of fossil fuels threatens to destroy the global environment by transforming the worlds ecology perniciously. If the underdeveloped or developing nations, where 695 million people are dependent and disenfranchised and live in extreme poverty were to consume natural resources as extravagantly as Eurocentric nations do, their consumption would render the world unfit for humanity.