Jose Maria Aznar (prime minister of Spain) once said “Without economic development, any potential for political openness and freedom will be questionable”. This statement is inheritably true. Throughout world history it has been validated that a strong economy is the key to a strong nation. The United States of America was built on its strong economy; because of its financial state as a world power it was able to construct a more and more democratic government. The problem that lies, is that the United States has tried to push their style of government on nations that aren’t capable of sustaining it due to their financial position.
A democratic government is in some ways dependent on the government providing aid and institutions for the people. In a poverty stricken nation social order is in danger, it is impossible to develop laws, rules, and leaders in these situations. The one type of government that tends to cultivate from a poor country are dictatorships where political power is based on force and fear. The same dictatorships that seem to be vilified in the media and everywhere else seem to be the only way to maintain order in a society. Once a country has made forged economic strides, it can be stabilized through politics. This can be proven by looking at the immigrant conflicts in Europe understood in “Immigration Conflict in Europe” by Rafaela M. Dancygier. It can also be seen in contemporary Russia in “I Putin” by Jennifer Ciotta. And finally, the racial and economic development in the construction of modern South Africa.
The writings about these nations as well as looking at the United States political structure will illustrate how the economic conditions of a country is the primary objective in shaping its politics. Immigration policies have been an ongoing political debate since the 20th century. The conflicts it causes are present as violent, time consuming, and an election topic everywhere. But why isn’t there a universal policy for immigration? Why is it that some places are able to instill immigration policies that others can’t, or don’t. The simple fact is that immigration cost money, it is not a free enterprise to have new people move to a country at an alarming rate. In “Immigration Conflict in Europe” the ideas about immigration conflict are discussed. Dancygier writes that there are two kinds of immigration conflict. Immigrant native conflicts in which members of the immigrant community and natives butt heads in an area.
Her idea of immigrant native conflict exist in areas where the natives of that community feel as if immigrants are threatening jobs, resources, and overall comfortableness in the setting. Immigrant state conflict, is her idea in which there is a conflict between immigrants of a particular area and the government. In this conflict it seems as if the immigrant community feels as if the government should provide for them, they tend to show anger towards the government, and in some instances the governments immigration policies lead to political action and force towards the immigrant groups. Both conflicts are the job of the government to fix and Dancygier offers why a strong economy is need to fix these issues.
She says that “national institutions determine the recruitment, settlement, and incorporation of the immigrant population in any area”. One can definitely agree with this, because most immigrants don’t move to poor countries, they move to developed nations that can offer them opportunities to succeed and better themselves. When an unskilled worker enters a nation, it becomes the government’s job to finance education, health, and employment opportunities. In an area where immigrants are not provided those tools they tend to work for low pay rates at employers that can lay off locals. This creates more problems with immigrant- native conflict. In Europe, the economic status allowed countries such as the Netherlands, where the Dutch provided programs for immigrants, as well as Spain, over the course of 10 years these countries put billions of dollars into their immigration budget. In Britain at this time the economy was weakened, because of this they had a different view on immigration. Margaret Thatcher who cut back funding of frivolous government spending, repealed the nationalism act during this point, and as Britain’s economy started to flourish open immigration ensued. The next example of how economic conditions shape a countries politics can be illustrated in the government of South Africa.
Due to South Africa’s poor economic status they were easily able to be colonized. The poverty levels allowed apartheid to take place, in which there was legalized discrimination. In order for the minority to get out of this oppressive government of course they needed finances to be readily available. Many international forces such as the United States and other United Nations affiliates issued economic sanctions to South Africa. Of course the economic sanctions were aimed to weaken the political stronghold the South African government held and it worked. Soon the apartheid needed and South Africa has shifted to a democratic government.
The resources and economic growth of the 70’s allowed South Africa to start to become a stronger democracy as evident by their successful elections. However, the way the constitution and government of South Africa is set up is evident by their economic struggles in the past. The rise of South African politics also shows how they have grown due to economics. The programs such as GEAR and EEB, are aimed to bridge economic conditions to close the gap between the rich and poor. These programs put forth by the government are supposed to boost the South African economy.
Because they are making efforts to boost the economy it is easier to pass political laws and have the support of the people. South African politicians believe, as evident by their efforts that by strengthening the poverty stricken class they will develop like the rest of the world’s powers. It is obvious by their development that the construction of their economy has allowed there government (while not perfect) to grow in the last two decades. Perhaps the most important microcosm of how economics and government correlate is in Russia. It is obvious that the fall of the Soviet Union was based on an economic failure. But the time before the rise of the great Soviet Union is important to look at. The poverty stricken country rose to power under a dictator in Stalin. As previously stated a poor nation is in danger of losing social order. A dictatorship can sometimes help a country become a world power by bringing law and order on their way to economic success. Although cruel means are justified and dictators have been vilified it is come times the only option based on the economic status In the novel I, Putin, Jennifer Ciotta portrays Putin as a man who is more focused on the systematic economic and political that on the thoughts of the Russian population . After the fall of the Soviet Union, the United States tried to push shock therapy and make them a capitalist democracy. Gosplan, which pushed the Soviet Union into a world power was not to the delight of other nations.
However the shift to capitalism and democracy failed miserable. By the end of the shock therapy, the Russian economy had dropped in total production over 40%.It was three times worse than the great depression. Real wages had fallen by almost 40%, and steel production fell by about 80%. Of course this caused organized crime to breakout and even some Parliament officials were assassinated. The problem with shock therapy is that instead of just trying to change the economy and then change the politics it tried a dual threat. Because of this the government couldn’t remain order while changing it financial structure. This was different under the rule of Vladimir Putin. While he is hated, many of his policies have worked to forge Russia into a dominant nation. By using oil as a cash house, Putin was able to bring funds into the nation. He also made the Russian industries a commodity instead of relying on international nations. This helped strengthen the nation although inflation was a problem, yet it increased his political power immensely. A presidential republic has worked in Russia because it has allowed a single leader to flourish, almost in the same way that the strong dictators of Lenin and Stalin did but as an elected official.
The Russian, South African, and European nations described all have different polices. Those policies are largely influenced by their economic activity. The ability to sustain a democracy, parliamentary government, or even communist policies are based on how much money a nation creates. The United States even through the great depression was able to remain a democratic nation because people expect the government to stimulate the economy and continue life. The commonality in the Russian and south African nations is that they developed their government, which are far from perfect, based on him they could create funds. The immigration conflicts in Europe are largely based on the government’s willingness to spend money in those areas. It is concluded that the politics of a country may not work, it may not be in the best interest of the people, but it will survive and be stabilized largely based on the economic conditions of that nation.
Ciotta, Jennifer. I, Putin: A Novel. New York: Pencey X, 2012. Print. Dancygier, R.M. Immigration and Conflict in Europe. New York. Cambridge University Press