6GEO3 Unit 3 Contested Planet Topic 4: Superpower Geographies What is this topic about? вЂў The superpowers, and emerging powers, are the most powerful and wealthy nations вЂў They have both economic and political power, often globally вЂў Power and wealth shift over time and this topic explores these changes вЂў Changing patterns of power have global implications, which need to be explored and understood. The New York Stock Exchange, a global power centre CONTENTS 1. Who are the superpowers? 2. The role of Superpowers 3. Superpower futures Click on the information icon Click on the home button to jump to that section. to return to this contents page 1. Who are the superpowers? вЂў Superpowers are countries, or grouping of countries, with global influence and power вЂў They have economic, cultural, military and geo-political influence вЂў Economic wealth (see graph) is only one aspect of superpower status вЂў One way to group the world's most powerful is: The geography of power вЂў In terms of superpower status, size is not everything вЂў Some вЂ�demographic superpowersвЂ™ have relatively little economic power вЂў Military spending (see table) is one form of power, as it allows superpowers such as the USA to have global military reach вЂў The USA is a highly influential power in economic, military, geopolitical and cultural terms вЂў Only the EU comes close to the influence of the USA, but the EU is a federation of 27 nation states who do not always agree 2008/09 data China India EU USA Indonesia Brazil Pakistan Bangladesh Nigeria Russia Japan Mexico Gulf States Total military Total Population spending ($ (millions) billions) 1,334 84 1,174 30 500 280 308 607 231 4 192 15 168 4 162 1 154 1 141 59 127 46 107 4 40 40 Use a data website such as www.wri.org to experiment with ranking power and status using different data types Changing patterns of power вЂў Superpowers shift over time; the Uni-polar world of the British Empire gave way to the Bi-polar cold war world вЂў In 1990, as the USSR collapsed, a new USA dominated Uni-polar world was ushered in; the EU has grown to be increasingly powerful also вЂў Many people think the future will be a more complex, fragmented and regional multi-polar world вЂў It is important to recognise that power can decline as well as grow The BRICs and emerging powers вЂў The BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are the emerging super powers вЂў Mexico and the Gulf States could lay claim to be in this group also вЂў This group of countries is very different, with perhaps only China capable of challenging the USA in the near future. China Communist one-party state which has become the вЂ�workshop of the worldвЂ™; rapid economic growth based on manufacturing and trade; significant military and demographic power Russia Russia is what is left of the USSR; it has a huge nuclear weapons arsenal, and vast oil and gas reserves making it globally important. It has an ageing, unhealthy population and weak economy. India A huge, and very youthful, population give India enormous potential for growth. It has some world class industry such as IT, but very poor infrastructure and 100s millions of very poor people Brazil Increasingly influential in Latin America, with a strong, diversified economy and growing middle class. It tends to punch below its weight internationally. It is sometimes referred to as an вЂ�agricultural superpowerвЂ™. Mexico An influential country with strong ties to the USA; MexicoвЂ™s economy is often shaky and it has problems with crime and corruption. Gulf States Increasingly important in terms of remaining global oil and gas reserves; has attempted to diversify and become a hub between Europe and Asia, with some success. Superpower theory вЂў There are several theories which help explain the rise and pattern of superpowers вЂў WW RostowвЂ™s вЂ�Take OffвЂ™ model (modernisation theory) is often used to illustrate how countries move from relative underdevelopment, to a state of high mass consumption вЂў Not all countries have managed to industrialise and develop вЂў AG FrankвЂ™s Dependency Theory argues that this is because the developed countries (superpowers and emerging powers) maintain the developing world in a вЂ�state of underdevelopmentвЂ™, draining it of: Human capital (вЂ�brain drainвЂ™) Resources (minerals, ores, food) вЂў This helps maintain the developed worldвЂ™s lifestyle, cheaply вЂў The BRICs, and NICs, have developed in recent decades вЂў This suggests some countries have broken free from dependency and developed in the way RostowвЂ™s model suggests вЂў Immanuel WallersteinвЂ™s World Systems Theory seeks to model this вЂ�three sided worldвЂ™: вЂў WallersteinвЂ™s ideas are partly related to the economic theory of Supercycles (Kondratiev waves вЂ“ see table) вЂў These suggest economic growth passes through phases based on key new technologies вЂў These new technologies bring growth to particular geographical regions Date and Cycle Technology 1770-1850 Industrial Cotton, steam engines Revolution 1850-1920 Industrialization Rail, steam ships, iron and steel, 1920-1945 Motorization 1945вЂ“ 1990 Cold war era 1990 onwards 2020 onwards? Location UK Increased involvement of Europe and USA Petrochemicals, cars, Increasing electricity dominance of the USA White goods, consumer Rise of Japan and goods Asian Tigers Internet, wireless, Shifts in production biotechnology toward India and China ???? Asia? 2. The role of Superpowers вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў In the past, superpowers such as the British Empire and other Imperial powers maintained direct control over territories This era of colonialism ended in the period 1945-1980 when colonies gained independence A characteristic of a superpower is the ability to take control, through war, of troublesome regions believed to threaten superpower security Whilst rare, superpowers still take direct military control over territory: Direct military conquest / occupation of territory Imposition of an alien legal system and ownership rights Ethnic cleansing of difficult groups Mechanisms of Colonial Control Economic imperialism e.g. exporting to the home country Invasion of Afghanistan 1980, USSR Invasion of Panama 1989, USA First Gulf War (Kuwait, Iraq) 1990, USA, UK, Egypt , Saudi Arabia and others Bombing of Bosnia 1995, NATO War in Afghanistan 2001, NATO led coalition Cultural imperialism through art, religion and language Government by dictat, through colonial administrators Neo-colonialism? вЂў Left-wing geographers argue that superpowers use subtle, indirect ways to maintain power today вЂў These ways are often termed neocolonialism вЂў Aid is often given to allies and вЂ�friendsвЂ™ rather than the most needy countries (see table), and much aid is вЂ�tiedвЂ™ in various ways. вЂў Debt repayments channel money from the developing to the developed world вЂў Even debt relief schemes, such as the HIPC scheme (see map) have been criticised вЂў For HIPC countries to qualify for debt relief, they must follow the economic policies of bankers in the developed world Top 10 Recipients of USA foreign aid Israel Egypt Columbia Jordan Pakistan Peru Indonesia Kenya Bolivia Ukraine 2006 ($ millions) 2,520 1,795 558 461 698 133 158 213 122 115 Note the total lack of overlap between the most indebted nations and the top 10 receivers of US aid. International Trade вЂў The world trade system is essential a western вЂ�free tradeвЂ™ one вЂў The USA and EU have been very influential at the World Trade Organisation in the past вЂў The WorldвЂ™s three major stock markets (London, New York and Tokyo) are all in the вЂ�westвЂ™ вЂў In a globalised world, TNCs play a crucial role in world trade, and most TNCs originate in the EU and USA вЂў Emerging superpowers, especially China, have taken advantage of global trade to develop and grow International decision making India Brazil Japan WTO member Russia IMF (over 5% of votes) China G20 EU G8 USA NATO Membership of Intergovernmental organisations UN Security Council вЂў Global decision making revolves around inter-governmental organisation (IGOs) вЂў Some IGOs involve all nations, such as the U.N. вЂ“ others are more exclusive such as the G8, or regional such as NATO. вЂў Membership and voting rights may give key players disproportionate power. вЂў Some influential organisations such as the World Economic Forum (Davos Group) are not-forprofit organisations outside government control. вЂў IGOs do change over time; the G20 has become more influential in recent years, reflecting the increasing power of the BRICs Cultural influence вЂў Superpowers exert a cultural influence вЂ“ the widespread use of English, tea drinking and cricket are a cultural legacy of the British Empire вЂў Today, the most influential culture is that of the USA вЂў вЂ�AmericanisationвЂ™ suggests that this culture is spreading. This spread is made easier by: 1. Global brands and logos 2. The Global media e.g. Disney and CNN 3. Globalised transport and communications connections 4. American based TNCs 5. Widespread use of English Fast food, Cocacola, rock music on the juke box in this American dream diner Is вЂ�McdonaldisationвЂ™ or вЂ�CocacolonisationвЂ™ a positive or negative development? The issue tends to be divisive; some antiglobalisation campaigners accuse the USA of cultural imperialism, and blame US consumer culture for the erosion of local cultural traditions. On the other hand, many Chinese see Americanisation as positive, as it shows progress and development. 3. Superpower futures вЂў As the primary emerging superpower, China has much to gain from its growing global status вЂў Poverty reduction in China (see graph) has been staggering вЂў China has become motorised, with over 170 million vehicles at the end of 2008; some estimates suggest there were only 3000 cars in Beijing in 1978 вЂў Inequality in China is a growing issue, although in general the population is much better off вЂў In Brazil and India there is a growing middle class of consumers вЂў In India by 2009 there were 500 million mobile phones in use and over 700 million in China Superpower resources вЂў Growth, wealth and the status that accompanies it brings new problems to the emerging powers. вЂў Chief among these is pollution; as resources consumption and eco-footprints grow, so does pollution . Almost 70% of ChinaвЂ™s energy comes from coal Acid rain is a serious problem, as is water pollution and urban air pollution; in 2004 25,000km of Chinese rivers failed water quality standards вЂў What if eco-footprints in the BRICs (see graph) begin to approach those of the developed world? Declining superpowers? вЂў The emergence of the BRICs does challenge the hegemony of the USA вЂў The USA is not about to enter precipitous decline, but its influence may lessen вЂў There is evidence that the BRICs are catching up, as the number of largest TNCs based in the USA falls, but rises in the BRICs (see graph) вЂў There is also some unease among the BRICs that IGOs such as the G8 and UN Security Council are dominated by the USA and EU Global Shifts in the Car industry вЂў In 2002, car sales in China were just over 3 million вЂў By 2009 sales had exploded to 11 million, beating the 10 million sold in the USA вЂў The potential for growth in car sales in China is vast вЂў Two of the вЂ�Detroit ThreeвЂ™ (Chrysler and GM) went bankrupt in 2009, shedding jobs and factories вЂў USA car companies have only survived because of Government bail-outs and selling or scrapping their loss making brands. вЂў Several brands have been sold to Indian and Chinese companies Year 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2008 Population of Detroit (millions) 1.8 1.7 1.5 1.2 1 0.95 0.9 Development or dependency? вЂў Does the rise of the BRICs represent an opportunity for the least developed countries to develop new relationships with wealthy countries? вЂў ChinaвЂ™s interest in the developing world, especially Africa, has grown in the last 10 years вЂў China has invested in infrastructure such as road and rail, which Africa desperately needs. вЂў In some ways any investment is good investment вЂў Critics argue that Africa is still exporting its raw materials cheaply, and that the investment brings few jobs вЂ“ Chinese workers are often used instead of local labour. ChinaвЂ™s trade with Africa increased 10fold between 1999 and 2009, to $110 billion Most trade is with oil exporters вЂ“ Sudan, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Angola China approved $10 billion in loans to African nations in 2009 China has invested in Zambian copper mines, iron ore mines in Gabon China has gifted $150 to build a new African Union headquarters in Addis Adaba Superpower Conflict вЂў Would a multi-polar global future increase tension and conflict? вЂў Sources of tension might be considered in terms of three global agendas: Strategic Agenda вЂў The USA dominates global foreign policy, but its вЂ�War or TerrorвЂ™ brings it into conflict with the Islamic world and potentially the oil rich Gulf States. China and Russia tend to support Iran and opposed the two Gulf Wars, whereas the USA strongly opposes IranвЂ™s nuclear ambitions. Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan are still unresolved problems and the USA is вЂ�stretchedвЂ™ in terms of international involvement. Economic Agenda вЂў Global economic growth and globalisation place increased pressure on natural resources (land for food, water, fossil fuels, ores and minerals); conflict over resources is possible in the future and locations such as Africa, the Gulf States and Russia are likely to become increasingly important as areas with large remaining reserves of resources. This could increase tensions as the Superpowers and emerging powers squabble over access to resources. Climate Agenda вЂў The difficult and protracted Climate negotiations in Copenhagen in Dec 2009 showed that the USA, EU and BRICs do not share the same views on environmental issues; relations between China and the USA were chilly to say the least; environmental (and human rights) issues have some potential to sour international relations.