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The Meaning of Colonialism: The Economic Development of Weaker Nations

Essay by review  •  February 17, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,188 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,193 Views

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Introduction

As defined Ð'ÐŽÐ'oThe purpose of colonialism include economic exploitation of the colonyÐ'ÐŽÐ'Їs natural resources, creation of new markets for the colonizer, and extension of the colonizerÐ'ÐŽÐ'Їs way of life beyond its national bordersÐ'ÐŽÐ'± ( ). This definition fails include creation economic development weaker nations. The meaning of Japanese colonialism is the development of an advanced economic structure in the inferior, underdeveloped country of Korea. In this essay, I will argue that during Japanese colonialism in Korea, Japan built an economic infrastructure in an inferior nation of Korea. I will cross examine events of colonialism by European nations and give reason to why colonialism should be seen in a positive perspective. I will conclude by stating that even though empire seize to exist, a new form of an empire has risen and spreads a way of life across the world.

Status of Korea before colonialism

Before the occupation by Japan, Korea was an underdeveloped country. Unlike Korea, Japan developed profitable, agricultural businesses before the nineteenth century and had a higher socioeconomic status that of China (Cumings pg.490). China was a much larger nation, so there was more chance of success in building an upper ruling class. Unlike Korea, Japan was able to live through a competitive business environment and experience a prosperous trade market in cities like Edo and Osaka (Cumings pg.490). Though the government was strong, it was not strong enough to begin economic development, because it was often fighting for resources with the upper classes and also experienced clashes with people of the lower class (Cumings pg. 490). The upper classes in Korea maintained dominance which did not allow for competition of business to occur happen, hence the nation had a slower development rate. The nation of Japan had less social class conflicts and gained power through its thriving economy.

Contributions of Japanese colonialism

During its occupation, Japan contributed to the development of KoreaÐ'ÐŽÐ'Їs economy and the people. During the beginning of 1930Ð'ÐŽÐ'Їs, Korea was relatively still an agricultural country, Japan used Ð'ÐŽÐ'otechniques of cultivation: the use of improved seed, fertilizer, and irrigationÐ'ÐŽÐ'± to increase productivity (Haggard, Kang, Moon pg. 869). It is implied that high growth of KoreaÐ'ÐŽÐ'Їs economy was reported at the end of the 1930Ð'ÐŽÐ'Їs, because it was connected to the war efforts of Japan to fuel its military (Haggard, Kang, Moon pg.869). For the interest of supplying Japan with resources for the war, industries of food, textile, energy and natural resources were introduced, which build the basic structure of KoreaÐ'ÐŽÐ'Їs economy (Haggard, Kang, Moon pg. 871). Japanese entrepreneurs had facilities built which Ð'ÐŽÐ'oprovided a basis for commercial and industrial activity that enabled a stable and predictable investment environmentÐ'ÐŽÐ'± (Cumings pg.488). The shift from an agricultural economy to Ð'ÐŽÐ'ocommercializationÐ'ÐŽÐ'± economy notes that the Japanese did indeed play a role in the development in KoreaÐ'ÐŽÐ'Їs economy (Cumings pg.491)

While Japan contributed to KoreaÐ'ÐŽÐ'Їs economy, it helped Koreans living in Japan. Since living conditions were relatively bad in Korea, some people immigrated to Japan. Japan gave the opportunity for Koreans to earn more money in Japan than in Korea (U.S. Office of Strategic Services, Research and Analysis Branch pg.10). Though unemployment rates were relatively high during the beginning of the 1930Ð'ÐŽÐ'Їs, the number of Koreans receiving unemployment benefits in Japan decreased substantially. Ð'ÐŽÐ'oImproved economic conditions, more rigid enforcement of the immigration laws, and assistance measures for Koreans living in JapanÐ'ÐŽÐ'± were the reason for the decline in the rates (U.S. Office of Strategic Services, Research and Analysis Branch pg.9). While living conditions in Korea were bad, Japan gave the hope for Koreans living in Japan.

European colonialism

The Europeans were the founders of the meaning and methods colonialism in which the Japanese used in their expansion era. Professor Tim Hamlett commented that colonialism brought many improvements:

Colonies were fitted with railways, depots, ports and harbors. Police stations studded their cities and lighthouses their shores. Swamps were drained, chasms bridged and rivers dammed. Public buildings were erected, and adorned with a plethora of mediocre statuary. No doubt in many cases colonialists did good only incidentally to the process of doing well for themselves. Nevertheless, colonialism brought the industrial revolution to Asia. European empires may have assigned to Asians the least prestigious and rewarding roles in this development, but the alternative to starting at the bottom was not to start at all.

Europeans established settlements in Africa that helped the development of AfricaÐ'ÐŽÐ'Їs economy. The Europeans build railways systems, in which author Wendy McElroy directly quotes Karl Marx saying Ð'ÐŽÐ'oThe railway system will therefore become the forerunner of modern industryÐ'ÐŽÐ'± (McElroy 2004). The author, along with Marx implies that the railroad is the basis of developing an economy, not only does it provides transportation, it enables the ability to trade with other countries and or business. With European colonialism effective ports

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