Globalization, An Evolution of Imperialism

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This is a reflection on the book, “Empire” by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.

From the material, one can gather that the idea of globalization serves as precedent to the conceptions of  an ‘empire’.

Etymologically speaking, the word empire is a derivative of imperialism, the act of one country or state expanding its power over another state or other states by use of means such as military force or civil negotiations that nevertheless subjects the country being pursued for conquest.

Historically speaking, however, imperialism or empire has evolved in definition. The concept of imperialism is most associated to the Roman Empire, a time when the Romans possessed great subjugation of many parts of the world. The aspiration, mainly, was the furthest extension of their sovereignty or rule over peoples and their terrain, thus proving their strength and power.

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A depiction of the Roman conquest

Before I attempt to define empire as I understand from the book, first it is important to point out what I mentioned as its precedent, globalization. Globalization, first and foremost, is an infiltration of culture. This permeation of culture is the very heart of interdependence. We become interdependent, first, through interpersonal relations. By interaction with individuals originating from places divergent to one’s own understanding of others’ beliefs, ideas, and manners is spawned. As people are assimilated to varying cultures, understanding of one another makes people connected. Humanity is joined by this ability to relate to diverse people, thus the ability to understand others’ environment and background.

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The overlaps that make globalization

Through this understanding or ability to relate, it makes possible collaboration. Collaboration is vital in making feasible economic and political integration. When people are able to work together, many things are made possible. Globalization would not be a reality apart from this synergy.

Hence, globalization births empire. Empire now are the overlaps and expansion that comes from the fusion of a state’s politics and economy. The dominion is boundless. The aspiration of making the world one is not always a deliberate or purposeful act. Globalization makes it inevitable. On the other hand, supranational powers such as the United Nations, World Bank, and IMF, among others, allows furtherance of its reality.

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Imperialism

One can realize then that whereas with the imperialism of ancient times, there is one ruling state; in today’s imperialism, however, the presence of one ruling power is absent. Instead there are several major powers, e.g. US, China, UK, France, that brings principal influence. This is a personal view though, although it is true that international organizations advances globalization, too, through their cooperation with these superpowers.

The dissonance would come from the empire’s inability to define and delimit borders. For Hardt and Negri, there must be a proselytizing of the empire for reasons that it brings injustice and inequality. Superpowers and IOs would allow policy formulation that may not be vested in the interest of the people, but in the continuance of certain powers’ supremacy.

More than anything, the insight this reading bestows is the understanding of how the conquest ability and strategy of countries have evolved from the time of the Roman Empire to present day. Before, it may have been one country aiming to seize sovereignty from countries. Now, it is several super powers – countries and IOs – cooperating to maintain their own.

quotes

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just some quotes from my favourite tv shows:

castle: how do you know when you’re in love?

beckett: all the songs make sense.

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stabler: how the hell did that happen?

benson: maybe God remembered how cute you were as a carrot.

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booth: i have something that i want to tell you. inside my heart.

bones: blood is in there.

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piper: i can’t believe we got arrested for kidnapping ourselves.

prue: well it makes up for a pretty good defense.

piper: you think this is funny? prue, we’re not just stuck in jail, we’re stuck in the past!

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prue: are you out of your mind–again?!

phoebe: no, i’m the amazing phoebe!

[Book Review] The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

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It has been a while since I have read fiction.

This book has been loaned to me by a bookworm friend who insisted reading this was worth it.  I was hesitant at first, because I had other books on my “to-read” list. But after assessing that I have not been too varied and adventurous lately on books, I decided to read it. And true enough, it delivered the goods.

“The God of Small Things” tells the story of fraternal twins Estha and Rahel. The story revolves on what happened during their cousin’s visit to India.  This is not surprising since the author, Arundhati Roy, hails from India but is based in the UK. The twins’ cousin, Sophie Mol, is half-Indian and half-Brit, a fusion of the author’s roots.  The storytelling shifts from the past to the present, giving bits of pieces of a beautifully woven story.

The story draws a mix of emotions – from childhood dreams, love in all aspects (parental, unrequited, brokenhearted), it tells of the power of a mother’s love, of how in each family there is dysfunction, of respect, of the small things that truly matter.  It is a page-turner. Ms. Roy created a moving story from a simple plot that speaks profoundly.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Spanish Curiosity

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For a long time, I had this urge to study Spanish. But it is only recently that I made actual steps to start learning the language.

What is it about Spanish? Well, my first language, Tagalog, comprises of several Spanish words. I know how to count in Spanish even without taking Spanish lessons. From dining – cuchara, tenedor, vaso – to religious event and holidays – (Semana Santa, Todos los Santos) , Spanish words are used.
It’s no surprise because our country, the Philippines was colonized by Spain for over 300 years. But Filipinos never fully adapted the language. Only some areas that speak Chavacano are actively using Spanish, albeit not full, as Chavacano is considered to be broken Spanish.

Spanish used to be a compulsary course requirement for college students but this was removed from the curriculum. I think what happened was, there was no base for the use of it, as no media was used to sustain it – no newspaper, radio show or television show.

But it is a sad thing because Spanish is a big part of our cultural influence. I even found a website which promoted the use of Spanish to Filipinos, though unfortunately, the site is outdated. In one article on the site written by Gemma Cruz-Araneta, it said, “In my opinion, it is imperative that Filipinos should have at least a reading knowledge of Spanish, simply because most of the works of our heroes were written in that language. As we all know, a lot is lost in translation, so if we fail to read and understand these works in their original, we will never know how and why we are Filipinos, or what it really means to be a Filipino.” And I agree, because we should be able to read our heroes great works in their original form.

Recently, there are initiatives by the Philippine government to revive Spanish in the school curriculum, but only on selected areas. I read it in this article by Manila Bulletin: 2 Davao schools to teach Spanish.

English-Filipino-Spanish book

It is also heartening that a Philippine publisher had a book published named “English-Filipino-Spanish Vocabulary”. I bought this book at a local bookstore for $1.00.

 Some years back, I bought a Spanish beginners course on sale. Now that I have some free time, I thought of browsing it, but reading the book and listening to the accompanying CD was not as engaging as I expected it to be.

But the good thing is, I came across a blog entry by Tim Ferriss which gave tips on how to learn another language and I have been following some of his advice. He said to read materials of the language of your choice, on topics which YOU LIKE. For me, I thought of three topics (actually two): showbiz and photography. I searched the internet and found three sites to my liking: PEOPLE Magazine (Spanish edition), Noticias Glee Latino (Glee news – Latino), and PUNTO Magazine (a bilingual photography online magazine). So far, I am picking up words while trying to read the articles.

It also helps that our cable subscription has TV Espanol (TVE), so once in a while I watch shows on this channel. For radio, there’s a free Spanish radio station that streams their broadcast. This is Radio Nacional de España (RNE).

I’m still in the dark of where I can use Spanish in the future. Maybe when I go on a trip to Latin America or Spain, the answer will be clearer. But right now, the curiosity remains.


P.S. I hope my gal friends and fellow sabawdiaries bloggers – purplepoint and misscarlotta1924 – would join me on this Spanish learning expedition. We have discussed wanting to learn this language in the past. Join us, too, sherrymoon2011. 😉

One of the best books on establishing relationships: “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

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I recently read this highly popular and highly-acclaimed book by Dale Carnegie.

This was written in the 1930s and further editions were published later on.  Despite of this, the content is still very relevant. I realized this because human nature never changes.  We want people to approach us in a nice way and not hot-tempered.

The book is divided in four parts: Part ONE is Fundamental Techniques in Handling People; Part TWO is Six Ways to Make People Like You; Part THREE is How To Win People Into Your Way of Thinking; Part FOUR is Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment.

I find Parts three and four most interesting. Part four is the most informative for me. I have tried some of his tips and to my delight, I received positive results so far. Of course, I know at times these won’t work because of different personalities I will encounter.

Mr. Carnegie uses humor and a lot of stories, mostly of leaders of his time, which makes this book quite dated. But aside from that, I can say that this book is a gem!

Of Political Parties, Clientelism, &Fostering Real Democracy

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The value of having the right to suffrage is mislaid in “patronage politics” (Kitschelt & Wilkinson, 2007), in that political parties utilize what is meant to be a democratic act as a means to manipulate voters into electing the more charismatic albeit having programs that are “diffuse and erratic” (ibid.).

As such, it results in a travesty of democracy through deep-seated clientelistic linkages. People are not being trained to scrutinize candidates based on their platforms and programs apropos to the candidate’s character. We are tricked into eyeing contenders according to the force of their programs and their personality thus subverting the urgency of credentials and integrity.

Different parties have different target groups and in the case of the Philippines, candidates clamor for the vote of the poor, as they constitute the majority of the land. The challenge is, who can mirror more the profile of the poor or who is more seemingly compassionate to the poor though the candidate be educated and wealthy?

Clientilism is sly, and in the same manner, as mass media is utilized as a major machinery of politicians to draw more votes in their favor, it, too should be made use of as a means to dismantle old practices in choosing who to vote for. One practical way that comes to mind are simple infomercials that may include a checklist for people to consider, one which people from all educational backgrounds can grasp, which will undermine voting candidates who more or less offer promising agenda with little track record consistency. In light of institutional reforms, I firmly believe that there should be regulation of mass media networks and companies on candidate commercials aired, on television and on radio. Presently, media companies do not decline the release of such commercials, being the profit-making enterprise that they are. With government regulation, given that the government agencies designated to such a task is non-biased, the media can instead be used to advance voter education.

The beginnings of the patron-client relationship

Patronist techniques are rife. This being the case, as not everyone can be drawn to read texts or literature on how our democracy is misplaced through such tactics, what would be the most viable tool/s to educate the voter? I have personally found that viewing the profile of candidates through the Internet published in non-profit sites that evaluate the candidate according to his or her political track records as useful. Such websites are those created by organizations that advocate better knowledge about candidates and are therefore much more reliable than the websites that were made by the candidates’ campaign team. Newspapers are also a great source for write-ups on running candidates during election season; the perspective is more or less unbiased. Rather than relying on TV ads, which have become the convention that is banked upon by contenders and the most accessible means to the public, as voters, it is imperative to seek out other means by which we  would be educated of an election candidate’s profile that is closest to reality  to guard from becoming easy prey to political campaign tactics ubiquitous during election season.

insanity

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after weeks of sleepless nights in preparation for my new class, my brain is officially locked in a vise grip. there’s just so much pressure in my head for 24 hours now. sleep is essential to this old person here. unfortunately i am one of those people who wake up easily. is a 12-hour sleep too much to ask? why am i still awake at this hour? 

insane, insane.