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The World Is Not Enough Essay

2997 words - 12 pages

The World is Not Enough:
Globalization, Guns, and Greed

by Kathryn E Smith

“…trade cannot be maintained without war or war without trade.”[1]
Globalization is defined in many ways, and although it has been expanding and contracting over thousands of years, it has only in the past two centuries become a topic of such interest. Many think of globalization as “primarily a monetary phenomenon,”[2] and although most definitions of globalization do only concern trade, it is more broadly “the process by which different regions of the world affect one another economically, politically, or culturally.”[3] Today, military might is paramount in the expansion of ...view middle of the document...

”[8] This link between war and trade was exemplified in the Opium Wars of the eighteenth century. In 1839 in the wake of an opium epidemic, China implored England to obey Chinese laws and cease trade of opium in China for the sake of its citizens. In the case that England did not comply, a letter from Lin Zexu, a Chinese official, to Queen Victoria notified England that in addition to punishing citizens found in possession of opium, “the penalty [for importing opium] is fixed at decapitation or strangulation. This is what is called getting rid of a harmful thing on behalf of mankind.”[9] When “continued profits by legal and honorable means were simply not possible,” Britain responded with military force to protect its interests. [10]

Even before the Opium Wars, Henry Clay, an American statesman, argued that the United States should develop defense capabilities to prevent further British exploitation. As colonies of the British Empire before gaining independence in 1783, the United States has been on both ends of mercantilist practices. Britain’s treatment of American colonies was much like any other colony - it controlled all trade in the colonies, ensuring that raw materials came from the colonies for manufacture in England, and that the manufactured products returned to the colonies for profit. In this way, the colonies served a dual purpose as supply of raw materials and then supply of market for products abroad. When, even after independence, Britain attempted to control the United States’ commerce by denying it trade with France, the United States became involved in the War of 1812. After successfully defeating the continued British mercantilist practices, Clay supported his argument for U.S. defense capabilities by quoting a British leader, who claimed:

[N]ations knew, as well as [ourselves], what we meant by “free trade” was nothing more nor less than, by means of the great advantage we enjoyed, to get a monopoly of all their markets for our manufactures, and to prevent them, one and all, from ever becoming manufacturing nations.[11]

Clay’s argument proved to be wise. After Britain’s victory in the Opium Wars reestablished the Opium trade, Britain’s hunger for free trade only grew increasingly insatiable, and the War of 1812 was only one example of this. When Indian competition in the cloth industry threatened British East India Company profits in the same way China threatened profits before them, “independent weavers who refused to work for the pitiful wages that the East India Company offered had their thumbs cut off” and factories owned by Indian rivals were destroyed.[12]

In 1798, a critic of contemporary Japanese society, Honda Toshiaki, took note of the continuing pattern of Europe in an effort to mold Japan in a similar fashion. He deliberated and determined that the navigation skills of the European countries made them a naval dominance and a military strength. Furthermore, he felt “their...

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