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Imperialism and socialdarwinism

  1. Nov 11, 2004 #1
    I have to questions:

    1) Can imperialism be justified?
    2) Can socialdarwinism be justified?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2004 #2

    selfAdjoint

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    Justified by whom? Both of them can be bitterly opposed, and social darwinism can be shown in its literal form to be false (success in the marketplace does not guarantee more surviving descendents; rather fewer). But justify? That's what their proponents do.
     
  4. Nov 12, 2004 #3

    russ_watters

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    My understanding of Social Darwinism was that it is about social interaction only - ie, it has nothing to do with procreation. Applied to economics, it says that the strongest company survives and grows while weaker companies die off.

    As for justification, I'm also unsure of the point or relationship between the two. Jusficiation implies morally right or wrong - social darwinism is a theory that accurately describes a lot of social interaction. It isn't in and of itself moral or immoral.

    Imperialism is generally regarded to be immoral.
     
  5. Nov 12, 2004 #4

    Math Is Hard

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    Social Darwinism is thought to be just plain inaccurate by modern cultural anthropologists. Social Darwinism was popular with 19th century anthropologists who supported the Unilineal Cultural Evolutional model. The UCE model proposed that all societies progressed through a series of stages from Savagery to Barbarism to Civilization. The pinnacle of Civilization, of course, was thought to be Victorian Society. This viewpoint is what we now call ethnocentric - that is, you had a small group of people saying that their own society was the best or most appropriate way for humans to live.
    Franz Boas (sometimes called the father of modern anthroplogy) was one of the first anthropologists to reject the Social Darwinism and the UCE model. He introduced the concept of Historical Particularism, which means that each society has its own unique history which shapes its culture, and that every society should be studied on the terms of its own uniqueness and complexity, not just classified by where it fell in rank next to Victorian Society. This went completely against the old-school beliefs. If I remember correctly Boas was a physicist before he got into the field of anthropology. :smile:
     
  6. Nov 12, 2004 #5
    In our time such jactitation can be found still very much alive and well in these forums…
     
  7. Nov 12, 2004 #6

    Math Is Hard

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    Hey, Boulderhead, watch your language. There ARE kids on this forum, you know!!! :biggrin:
     
  8. Nov 13, 2004 #7
    Well how do the proponents of socialdarwinism justify it? And does imperialism necessarily have to be viewed a negative? Does anyone think that the EU expansion boarders on imperialism? I do. The only difference is that now the countries have to apply for membership. All other non-member countries have to abide by a range of EU-laws. It's dispicable!
     
  9. Nov 13, 2004 #8

    russ_watters

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    Math is Hard - thanks for the anthropology lesson. I was under the impression that people still applied the concept (perhaps under a different name?) to other things. Capitalism, for example, certainly seems to me like a Darwinian process.
    Again, I don't really see the relevance of "justification" - it either accurately describes what we see going on or it doesn't. It sounds like you are asking if imperialism is a Darwinian process and if that makes it ok. Well, imperialsim does seem like a Darwinian process to me, but that doesn't make it ok.
    Imperialist countries typically view it as a good thing - everyone else tends to view it as a bad thing. That is its basic flaw.
    I don't see how that follows - imperialism is conflict: one country taking over another. If EU members voluntarily sign up, it can't be imperialism.
    Why? The purpose of the EU is that through working together, its member countries can be a more powerful economic force than they can be individually. Its like a labor union, but with one difference - eventually, maybe everyone will be a member. I don't see how that's a bad thing.

    The US is big and powerful, and as such, gets to dictate the terms of its contracts a lot of times. The EU is trying to get big and powerful to counter that.
     
  10. Nov 13, 2004 #9
    The imperialists used Darwin's theory of evolution and the socialdarwinism that derived from his theories of the weak and strong in nature, to justify the imperialists' cause.

    So how do you define imperialism? I am thinking of the EU as a new form of imperialism. A seemingly "good" one.
     
  11. Nov 13, 2004 #10

    Math Is Hard

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    OK, I think I understand you now. I believe you were actually asking how people used their belief in social darwinism to rationalize to themselves that imperialism was acceptable.
    Note that Russ highlighted the word voluntarily in his last post. As far as I know, no one is being forced to join the EU.
    However, you did mention previously that "All other non-member countries have to abide by a range of EU-laws". Is your argument that these laws are so restrictive and penalizing that this a method of forcing countries to join the EU? What are these laws?
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2004
  12. Nov 14, 2004 #11
    Yes. I can see that very clearly in my own country. Norway is not a member of the EU, but it still has to adapt to many of the EU's rules and regulations. I do not know too much about these restrictions, but the EU does have a negative influence on Norwegian trade and even Norwegian law. It is unfortunately inevitable.

    Many of these rules are being forced into my country and the Norwegian parliament can not protest. They have no other choice but to accept it. This to me is imperialism and quite a sneaky form of imperialism too.
     
  13. Nov 14, 2004 #12

    arildno

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    Along with Liechtenstein and Iceland, Norway is the proud participant in "The European Economic Cooperation" which is a "bilateral" organization with these 3 countries on one side of the table, and EU on the other.

    The treaty can be summarized as follows:
    As long as these 3 countries implement in their respective countries whatever (or close enough, anyways) laws EU decides upon to be valid in the EU-area,
    EU has generously promised not to actively squeeze out these countries' products from the EU-market.
    Since about 3/4 of Norway's exports end up in the EU-region, there isn't a realistic alternative for Norway to withdraw from this treaty.
     
  14. Nov 14, 2004 #13
    My whole country is not proud to be participating. Any interaction with the EU, many Norwegians dislike and regard as a threat to our nation.

    Thanks for adding the treaty!
     
  15. Nov 14, 2004 #14

    Math Is Hard

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    Wow - certainly sounds like one of those "offer you can't refuse" type of situations.
     
  16. Nov 14, 2004 #15

    russ_watters

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    That isn't imperialism, that's just competition. Otherwise, every trade negotiation is imperialism for both sides and Norway is being imperialistic by trying to apply its own rules to the EU.
     
  17. Nov 16, 2004 #16
    That is exactly what it is. Norwegian economy and trade depends ons such treaties and the more connections between Norway and the EU the boundaries.
     
  18. Nov 16, 2004 #17

    arildno

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    I quite agree with you that the term "imperialism" is not entirely appropriate here, russ.
    Doesn't mean that I have to like the situation, though..:wink:
     
  19. Nov 16, 2004 #18
    Well, I stick to my opinion that it is a imperialism. Not like what it was in the Age of Imperialism/the Victorian period. Rather a modern, "diplomatic" and sneaky strategy.
     
  20. Nov 17, 2004 #19

    arildno

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    I fully agree with you, Thallium, in that it is a SNEAKY strategy.
    I don't like it.
     
  21. Nov 17, 2004 #20
    Yep, yep. I'll have to find updated information on the connections between Norway and the EU, and all the other countries that have signed such treaties with the EU, before I can say more.
     
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