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Old January 26th, 2011, 07:29 AM   #1
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South America development(or lack thereof) into a superpower


Being in high school senior and looking at being a History and Anthropology major next year in college, I have done a large amount of reading but never into South American history. I have recently taken on the mighty task of attempting to write a 15 page research paper on a subject that has no definitive answer. South America (I'm going into this project assuming some major aspects) has never been recognized as a major superpower in today's modern world. I been attempting to narrow down the reasons (obviously because of time and resource constraints, I can't go as deep as I would like so I only need broad reasons for the lack of development).
I've concluded that three major reasons are by large the most interesting:
1. Indigenous Peoples peoples of Mexico, Latin America, and South America make up the majority of today's population.
2. Geography of Mesoamerica and South America
3. Technology and the adaptation of it

Any ideas or thoughts on this
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Old January 26th, 2011, 05:38 PM   #2

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I will not proclame to be a South American expert, but I will offer my two cents.

I think the Spanish and Portuguese approach towards colonization differ from the English in many interesting ways. Some of the answers to your questions might lie here.
While the Spanish drained the country, created an scattered nation with political instability. What was to become America (the natural superpower to compare South-America to), kept resources (some atleast), it expanded when the people needed new lands and managed to put up a stable political system long before the south.

Also keeping in mind that america has much tighter bonds to Europe, and have had a "pioneer-attitude" since its birth

Edith Piaf: South-America hasnt been able to unite as a continent, and have proved that a mutual political consensus between nations is next to impossible.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 07:01 PM   #3

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Brasil is well on it's way to becoming a world power but it's taken a while.

As some say 'Brasil is the country of the future and always will be'!
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Old January 27th, 2011, 06:06 AM   #4
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I have posted this on some other History forums, and I have come to the conclusion that the Spanish Hierarchal system implemented in colonization, the geography of South America which didn't allow for one uniform country to become developed, and the huge cultural differences between the natives of South America who still play a huge role in SA
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Old January 27th, 2011, 05:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whalebreath View Post
Brasil is well on it's way to becoming a world power but it's taken a while.

As some say 'Brasil is the country of the future and always will be'!
As a Brazilian, I might say we're not respected enough in the world. We have the 8th/9th economy, surpassing countries like Austria, Hungary and others. We're the greatest of South America's economy. We have here a project called Pré-Sal, which will explore Petroleum and might give us a position boost.

Also, we're mostly known for our Showman ex-president, Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, who simply allied with Iran during the conflict on United Nations (and made Barack Obama fear the name Brazil). We're allied to another dictator, Hugo Chavez, and Lula admires the Castro
family from Cuba. But, we're not as violent as our allies. I'd say we're open minded.

We have a corrupt policy, which blocks our development. State Deputies, Senators and Nation Deputies, as well as Governors and our new president, Dilma Rousseff and her ministers, are going to earn 26.700 Reais (aprox. 14334 dollars) monthly, plus all their privileges, ending up in more than 100.000 reais, an expressive value here.

Another thing is our education. The countries which are considered the two most developed of South America (Uruguay and Chile) have great education. In Brazil, a teacher earns nearly the minimum wage, which would be nearly 300 dollars, if he/she works on a public school. We need to change that.

Some reasons:

1st: Inadequate colonization. The English who colonized USA were fleeing and seeking a new home. The Portuguese and Spanish, our colonizers, were seeking riches
2nd: Corruption, specially in Brazil, effectively blocks our growth
3rd: USA won't stop exploring South and Central Americas, and won't let us develop in full
4th: Our education and health system is poor (specially in Brazil). Also, we lack Civil Safety
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Old January 28th, 2011, 12:37 AM   #6

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Quote:
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...1. Indigenous Peoples peoples of Mexico, Latin America, and South America make up the majority of today's population.
...
How's that a reason? It is not enough that you say who they are, but what they did we need to know. It is like saying North America was more successful because they were colonised by the English - which doesn't tell us anything.

I thought the population of Brazil was totally mixed, except for a few tribes in the jungle. At one stage the immigrant community outnumbered the meso-americans by more than nine-to-one, so i find it difficult to believe that it is back up to fifty-fifty.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 07:06 AM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truth View Post
I've concluded that three major reasons are by large the most interesting:
1. Indigenous Peoples peoples of Mexico, Latin America, and South America make up the majority of today's population.
2. Geography of Mesoamerica and South America
3. Technology and the adaptation of it

Any ideas or thoughts on this
None of the 3 above and mainly though, the Monroe Doctrine and especially the Roosevelt Corollary. At least for the last century.

1. I cannot see how the ethnic background has any influence unless you promulgate a racial attitude implying one race is better then another... also commonly known as... racism (not saying you are but think about the consequences of that thought).
2. I don't see how geography plays a part.
3. I don't see how technology plays a part, obviously it does, but not as such, not by its own merits, if technology isn't used, it has to do with the society that doesn't do so, not the technology.

This brings us to the true point of interest: the socio-economic and political structures in relation to their colonial history.

Quote:
Originally Posted by choptop View Post
I think the Spanish and Portuguese approach towards colonization differ from the English in many interesting ways. Some of the answers to your questions might lie here.
While the Spanish drained the country, created an scattered nation with political instability. What was to become America (the natural superpower to compare South-America to), kept resources (some atleast), it expanded when the people needed new lands and managed to put up a stable political system long before the south.
Certainly the colonial heritage plays a part but some mistakes in the above. First of all the Spanish colonies were a lot more stabile then their english counterparts. Though certainly there were many issues of jurisdiction between institutions, I've yet to hear of Spanish colonists lynching colonial governors like the English settlers did - and also since they revolted about half a century later. Otherwise, not much to say


Quote:
Originally Posted by choptop View Post
Edith Piaf: South-America hasnt been able to unite as a continent, and have proved that a mutual political consensus between nations is next to impossible.
Much of that has arguably historical roots. One of the questions one can ask is 'how come', all in all the background of the majority of the colonies is the same and (not Brazil) would have allowed for the creation of a unified territorial state like the USA. But this did not happen, why? The main issue here is political and social differences: there was no cultural link between the various parts of Southern America. They read different papers and used their own respective methods of organisation, for example. So a part (note: part) of the explanation has to be sought in the absence of a shared cultural space that would allow various groups to unify in.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 09:22 AM   #8
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Actually, our population is mixed. We have all kinds of mixtures here. From Japanese + African (less common) to Portuguese + Indian + African (more common)

Simon Bolivar, the symbol of all of the other South America countries independence, tried to unite America. He was the only one to try that, but his lifespan was too short. Hugo Chavez folllows his ideal, but I doubt he'll reach it in life.

From where most of us left (Brazil, when independent, was left with 0 money plus a debt of 2 million pounds to England), we're pretty good
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Old January 28th, 2011, 11:38 AM   #9

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2. I don't see how geography plays a part.
Spoken like someone who lives in a very very small place.

I've visited South America twice-it's vast place unimaginably so to most people from Europe-but as a Canadian I understand the challenges their geography presents.
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