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Imperialism and Colonialism 6


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Imperialismand Colonialism

Itis clear that, in the past imperialism and colonialism has beeninterchangeable used by many scholars and stakeholders across theglobe. However, it is worth noting that though the two indicate partof suppression of one by another party, either state or anindividual, imperialism mainly entails the economical or politicalcontrol of a particular country over the other, colonialism is thestate where one country fully controls the other in all theactivities which they carries across. In simple terms, imperialismcan be termed as any idea which drives the practice, whilecolonialism can be seen as a practice where a country assumes fullyauthority over the other. As indicated by Bracking and Harrison(2003), colonialism is the whereby one country conquers the otherwith the sole purpose of benefiting the conquered country or a state.On the other hand, imperialism is whereby a particular countrycreates empires and expands into other territories. However, in therecent past, many people across the world still seek to know whetherimperials and colonialism are things of the past. This is due toraised level of knowhow on issues touching on human rights amongothers. It is on this light that the current paper seeks to explorewhether imperials and colonialism still exists in the current times,and if so what can be done to eradicate it.

Inthe modern history, the goals and the main aims of colonialismremains one of the main known issues bymost people across theworld. This is due to the premise that, at the time of colonialism,majority of the colonial powers mostly from the European regionemployed excessive military force in subjugating people, as well asreorganizing the available land in order to exploit the people. Inthis light, the main aim of the land which was colonized was inoffering cheap raw materials to the industries which were operated bythe colonial nations as well as serving the end users of the marketsran by the colonial masters. However, in the 1960’s, due to thevarious resistances led by leaders such as Martin Luther King Jnr andothers from African continent, it became apparent that colonialismwas unsustainable both in the short and the long-run. It is duringthis time that majority of the African states such as Ghana and Kenyaamong others acquired freedom, with South Africa joining the listmuch later in 1994. Although much have changed in those countrieswhich were colonized in those states which were colonized bycountries such as Britain, it is worth noting that majority of thepeople remains extremely poor as majority of their resources flowstowards the colonizers instead of helping their own people. Asindicated by De Vries (2011), majority of the countries across theglobe have realized that “independence “was just a meresubstitution with what is currently termed as neo-colonialism. Inthose countries which were colonized, it is evident thatneo-colonialism can be very clearly felt as those countries of thewest maintenance occupation of their colonies without the physicaloccupation (De Vries 2011, p.3).

Themain challenge to sections of the society that consider imperialismand colonialism as things of the past is that the relationshipestablished between former colonial powers and their independentstates is questionable (King 2000, p.21). As long as independentstates continue to use the same means of expression imparted to themby their former colonial masters, it would be inaccurate to considerimperialism and colonialism as things of the past. In the modernworld, there is no doubt that many countries still use the samecultural codes and social mores as their former colonial masters. They also have a high dependency level to their colonial mastersespecially in economic and political terms. An example is Senegal.Senegal is a French-speaking country with a strong relationship withher former colonial master, France. The architectural designs ofSenegalese buildings in its capital Dakar continue to echo Frenchculture in many ways. Senegal also receives significant economic aidfrom France and other European nations. The attempt of independentstates to indigenize their cultures and economies after beingdestructed by the process of colonization failed because they remainculturally, politically, and economically influenced by their formercolonial masters.

Independentnation-states continue to face many challenges that subdue them tothe influence of rich countries. Regardless of whether they areformer colonial masters or not, the rich countries have hugeinfluence over the affairs of the world than poor countries. Imperialism and colonialism have a different face in the 21stCentury (Simon 1998, p.219). Countries without economic and militarypower have less influence on the international stage hence, remainunder the control of former masters. For instance, the recent WorldTrade Organization Ministerial Conference that was held in Nairobi,Kenya revealed a lot about economic world order. Developingcountries still caught up in primary production toiled to persuadethe WTO to provide incentives to poor farmers at the same rate as thefarmers in developed nations. The negotiations hit a dead end as fewof the provisions of the Doha negotiations were adopted.

Thecontemporary balance of international power is the alternativeperspective to examine if the imperialism and colonialism as thingsof the past. The master-subject relationship is till real betweencountries and their former colonial powers (Simon 2014, p.17). A fewcountries in the world with immense geopolitical and economic powersare increasingly gaining control of other countries. After World WarII and the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO), a new kind of international hegemony similar to the formerBritish Empire and other European powers came into being. Since then,they have been engaged in activities that aim to increase theirdominance over other nations. Former colonial masters pay very lowprices for primary goods produced in Post-colonial countries andflood the latter’s economies with cheap manufactured goods thatimpede the process of industrialization. Post-colonially countries,therefore, remain economically subjected to conditions from theirformer colonial masters. Multinationals from former colonial mastershave control the economies of post-colonial countries. TheInternational Monetary Fund (IMF), which is largely controlled by therich former colonial masters, propagated the idea of economicliberalism that entrenched the hegemony of western corporations(Bracking and Harrison 2003, p.6). The best example of modern-dayindirect imperialism is Jamaica’s economic crash of the 1970s. Jamaica’s economy became worse after the IMF advanced a loan to thecountry with conditions of pay cuts, wage and pension controls. Thereduction in pensions and wage cuts benefited multinationalcorporations because the minimum wage was no longer an issue tocontend.

Inconclusion, imperialism and colonialism are not things of the past.They are real even in the 21stCentury. World powers simply changed the way they subduepost-colonial countries through a world order that entrenches theirhegemony. Unlike past imperial powers that directly sought controlover other nations by dispatching their troops and administrators tosubdue them, modern imperialists use indirect means. Perhaps theonly difference between past imperialism and colonialism is thatpeople can now effectively resists them with the assistance of othercountries. However, their resistance is likely to be stopped usingdiplomatic tactics that exploit their economic and politicalweaknesses.


Bracking,S. and Harrison, G 2003. Africa, imperialism &amp new forms ofaccumulation. Reviewof African Political Economy,30(95), pp.5-10.

DeVries., I 2011. Neo-Colonialism and the Example Of Indonesia –Analysis.A Journal of Analysis and News

King,A 2000. Postcolonialism,representation, and the city(p. 261). Blackwell, Oxford.

Simon,D 1998. Rethinking (post) modernism, postcolonialism, andposttraditionalism: South-North perspectives. Environmentand Planning D,16, pp.219-246.

Simon,D 2014. Developmentrevisited. Development as Theory and Practice: current perspectiveson development and development co-operation,p.17.

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