CAN WE BEAT NEOCOLONIALISM? Being Indian, we all know what colonialism is. It is the rule of one country over another. British rule or British colonialism ended in India in 1947, leaving India, after almost 200 years, master of its own destiny. Not just India but many countries in the world were subjected to colonialism, which destroyed their economies. So, is it safe to say that each and every country in today’s world is independent to make its own economic decisions? Not really. Why? Because even though colonialism exists no more, neocolonialism does.
Neocolonialism can simply be defined as dominance of economic and militarily powerful countries on under-developed and developing countries. Neocolonialism has proved to be both lucrative and unprofitable for India. India opened its economy in 1991 because of its economic crisis and IMF's influence. It led to devaluation of rupee, increase in interest rate, reduction in public investment and expenditure and increase in imports and foreign investment. This increase in imports proved to be unprofitable for local industries and small scale businesses as now they were, for the first time after independence, competing with the developed countries in the international market. For obvious reasons, Indian producers didn’t have advanced technologies like the west and because of this many small and local businesses collapsed (just like during the colonial period). India, though being an independent country, fell prey to international politics.
It is no secret that the worst hit region by neocolonialism is Africa. Sitting on a huge pool of resources, every nation wants to have close ties with African governments. By claiming to help African countries to remove poverty, developed nations start gaining control of their natural resources. Not just developed countries but international organizations also have a very important role to play here. Africa has a huge debt crisis. To help Africa repay its debt and economic restructuring, the IMF introduced Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs). SAPs were based on the idea that economic development is achieved through privatisation, free trade, increase in foreign direct investment and the heart and soul of capitalist ideology, decrease in government intervention in the economy. This brought nothing but ruin upon the African economy and on African people. The SAPs could neither help reduce debt nor help in developing the African economy.
So, the question which lies ahead of us is whether an under-developed nation can beat neocolonialism or not. The answer is yes. Any economy can break free from neocolonialism but it may not be easy. Self reliance can play a huge role in overcoming neocolonialism but it’s important to note that no country in today’s world can function with a closed economy, so, when we talk about self reliance it's important to keep in mind that international trade is important for growth of any economy and should not be abandoned. Trade and not aid helps develop a country. Other than economic solutions, a strong political front, educated and healthy population, acknowledging and respecting one’s culture and diplomatic relations with the rest of the world helps improve the economic conditions of a country.
Neocolonialism is very much existent in today's rapidly globalising world. How much power under-developed and developing countries give to international organisations and to developed countries is always in the hand of these countries. For how long neocolonial governance will keep dominating the world? Only time will tell.