Week 13

Democracy, as Max Cameron points out, is a fickle thing. I thought he made an excellent point when he talked about how it can fail those without the ability to vote, especially things like nature. It is a novel idea to think about nature as having rights, but I suppose it makes sense when you view nature as a collection of individual beings that do have rights, including, to a certain degree, us. We rely on nature as much as nature relies on us, but in very different ways. Often, we exploit nature, for reasons of survival, or because for economic gain. Sometimes making money is necessary for survival, either on an individual scale, or that of a nation. But nature relies on us not to over harvest, not to be excessive in our consumption. So in times where it becomes necessary to take too much in order to not continue growth, or ensure future survival, how do we reconcile that with being a forward thinking society? Democracy allows us to make decisions that keep us moving forward, but the progress comes at a cost, one that, over the long term, may be unsustainable. Still, for its flaws, democracy is still infinitely preferable to an authoritarian leadership, one which doesn’t respect the will, or the wellbeing, of its people. I was also very interested in Latin America’s so called “left turn.” I thought of the three major reasons Cameron mentions for the left swing, the United states’ absence in the region was the most fascinating. In class we had had group discussions on what the west should do now in terms of what was going to be best for Latin America, and one suggestion that was mentioned frequently was just to leave them alone. In particular, there was some agreement that the United States should cease its interventions in the region, and just let it develop on its own. And when Latin America gets a chance to do this, during recent years, when America has been more focussed on other things, Cameron points out that there is a marked increase in democratic experimentation. Clearly, the governments in Latin America could be improved, some more than others. But this trend towards effective social policies and independence governance is in my eyes very indicative of the regions ability to be completely capable of taking care of its self, so long as no other countries try to mess it up.

4 thoughts on “Week 13

  1. craig campbell

    I agree with what you say about the US butting out, but I doubt they ever will unless countries go to the extent Cuba, Iran or North Korea (and by no means to I condone KJU) to piss off the US enough that they cut all ties. Unfortunately, greed seems to be the driving force behind it all. Of course, when countries need help it should be given no strings attached…like in times of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes or other disasters.
    Thank you for the thought provoking post!

  2. kmhurley

    In environmental circles, people are talking a lot about this idea of intellectually separating humans from nature, or seeing us as part of nature. When we understand that we are in fact a part of nature, we can see exploitation and destruction of our natural world as destruction of ourselves, and a threat to our civilization. You ask about how we reconcile the fact that sometimes development and growth can burden our environment too heavily. This is an important question, and I do not know how to answer this. But, there is a prominent Canadian activist, named Naomi Klein, who seeks to answer this question. One of her best books about this issue is called “This Changes Everything”!

    Best of luck with finals!

  3. Brendan Bayer

    Silas-I find your comments interesting about how you are proposing a more isolationist point of view to the regimes of Latin America. What is peculiar about Latin America in history is that the domestic left-movements and the US implemented right-wing dictators and military groups both contributed significantly to economic issues and instability. I don’t think there is a clear answer to even what would be a good way to continue forward.

  4. Danni Olusanya

    I find the associations with democracy and improving incredibly striking here, I completely agree with the classes point on a lack of American intervention. It was due to this that ISI was so successful in many latin American states however, creating an issue and just leaving is not beneficial, I wonder if there is another way to fix the problem that the US and Canada and neocolonial influences have made.


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