Week 9: Commerce, Coercion, and America’s Empire

This weeks reading raised a question which I often ask myself and others: has globalization been more beneficial or detrimental to the world? From this week’s readings, globalization came to Latin America in the form of aid and modernization with its intention set within a capitalistic agenda. But this is nothing new to Latin Americans or history repeats itself. The Bolivard dream of a united Latin America is so appealing to latin Americans because it is the only way Latin American’s could combat the American demagogue, which is primarily aimed to those of the upper class or with power. This week’s reading only encourage that thought of idealism but because of the global market and the western hemisphere’s dependency to the United States, that ideal will never come to pass unless everyone is willing to sacrifice everything. Again, easy to say from someone living in a country where the government gives out loans for this type of free speech to discussed. But, this is just how I feel.

The conformity factor is something we all must ask ourselves. Has the system influenced my being? It is a hard question to ask and be asked. I can empathize and sympathize with Carmen Miranda’s intersubjectivity with the capitalistic hydra of temptation, fame, and fetishization; furthermore, just as the hydra, the capitalistic monster of the global waters keeps surfacing more demagogic heads that lure global citizens more to the shore line while the high tide approaches.

In the end, I understand everyone wants to come live a more comfortable life. That is the reason why so many flee to the United States in an illegal manner. When I lived in Mexico, the life was hard. In one moment, I worked three jobs and still didn’t have enough money to save or to invest in small productive things. The thought of returning to Canada was of course very present, though I had intended to live in Mexico for the purpose of understanding more about my Mexican roots and also to understand how the people live. In the end, I still needed help to survive. That’s a huge part of the Latin American lifestyle and is also something that José Vasconcelos mentioned in last week’s reading, that Latin American’s possessed more spiritual virtue than of their Northern neighbours; this could be presented in several ways not just religiously but in the spiritual form of service and transparency with your fellow being. Knowing your neighbours is a virtue in Latin America, one that is not common in Canada, not sure about the United States. If only Latin American’s could only raise a bit of the spirituality, to raise their spiritual consciousness to confront with the “modern” methods of hegemonic and capitalistic systems, to understand that helping your neighbour can become a powerful method of solidarity, then maybe, just maybe, can the Latin American people claim their own land as their own.

1 thought on “Week 9: Commerce, Coercion, and America’s Empire

  1. mirella reichenbach livoti

    Hi Niko,

    Thank you for sharing your experience of living in Mexico. Regarding your critique of the capitalist system, I agree the we should ‘confront the “modern” methods of hegemonic and capitalistic systems’ but I honestly think that as much as we may confront it, real change will only happen if we change the system altogehter. For example, I don’t think there is a way to be a conscious consumer under capitalism. Moreover, I think that solidarity is extremely important in any society in order to maintain order but I wonder what you meant with “Latin American people claim their own land as their own.” Are you referring to the Indigenous people of Latin America, to the government, rural agricultural workers or the proprietors of land (latifundios)? There are different layers of implications depending on the group we are talking about and solidarity between rural agricultural workers and owners of latifundios would be hard to establish, since they have opposite interests.


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