The development of the international economy in the period 1945-2000 favoured rich countries at the expense of the poor. How far do you agree?

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“The development of the international economy in the period 1945-2000 favoured rich countries at the expense of the poor”. How far do you agree?

The global economy faced several ups and downs after World War II from 1945 to 2000, due to transformations achieved through the development of the economy. More often than not, these changes were executed by the richer 1st world developed countries (DCs) like the USA, Western Europe (WE) and Japan. While some of their policies aimed to improve the international economy on a whole, there were others that were pro-West and discriminated against the less developed countries (LDCs), hence causing them to enter crisis or suffer losses in trade and industry.

This essay seeks to evaluate the extent of the policy changes and other events which disfavoured the economies of the LDCs or only benefited the DCs, as compared to those aiming to eliminate preferential treatment or discrimination. International economic institutions such as the World Bank (WB), IMF, GATT and WTO played significant roles in regulating the global economy and implementing new rules that affected both the DCs and LDCs.

To begin with, the Bretton-Woods institutions were inherently unresponsive to 3rd world interests upon establishment, as they felt the LDCs were insignificant in the global economy. The institutions were largely inclined towards accelerating the post-war economic reconstruction in Western Europe and Japan to deter Soviet communism, through economic subversion, from taking root in these economically recovered countries. As the 2nd and 3rd world LDCs did not play an active role in the global (capitalist) economy before 1945, they were neglected and much lesser priority was placed on it as compared to the WE economies which were more possibly influenced by the approximate Soviet communist bloc.

For one, GATT was generally pro-west in preventing a communist manifestation globally. 20 years of GATT indifference to special problems of the LDCs can be represented by the results of the Dillon and Tokyo rounds of 1960-63 and 1973-79 respectively. By the Dillon round, a mere 160 out of 4400 tariff concessions were export items of LDCs. The perceivably rhetoric Tokyo round further failed to meet LDC needs, as exports were not promoted and discrimination remained.

The World Bank was originally envisaged mainly to make loans to war-damaged European nations to pay for investments in large energy and transport infrastructure projects, essential for their re-integration into the global economy. As such, their single-minded emphasis on this only contributed to the exclusion of aid for the LDCs for at least the first 10 years. Even as there were attempts to provide assistance to LDCs, these neo-liberal principles were unsuitable to their unstable states. The highly homogenized uniform remedy of development proliferated Western ideals and thus the abandonment of traditional structures. Furthermore, WB operations were subverted to US Cold War policies in the 1970s as resources were mobilised as a vehicle for militant US policy aboard.

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Hence, it is clear that the early stages of global economic developments was short-sighted in solely aiming to perpetuate pro-West ideology in first world economies, and hence discounted LDCs from receiving aid or keeping level with the economic progress.

The dominance of western powers, or the USA in specific, in the economic institutions also ascertains the execution of politically influenced decisions which only benefited themselves, despite the cover of non-discrimination. Hence, the LDCs were deprived of attaining the maximum aid available since they posed as a loss to the benefit-givers.

The World Bank and the IMF ...

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At some points, the student uses language inappropriate for an essay: for example, "last but not least" sounds informal, which is not suitable for an academic essay on a serious subject. The student also needs to be careful in the wording of their essay: "in specific" should be "specifically", and such errors make the essay harder to read. However, the spelling, grammar and punctuation are largely excellent, which is good as it means that the examiner does not need to waste time working out what the student means.

The factual evidence in this essay is largely good. For example, the student is aware of several international organisations, such as the IMF, which is good as it shows they aren't just saying something vague like "Some groups helped the international economy" - they are saying exactly which ones. They could improve further by giving the full, unabbreviated name of the IMF - the International Monetary Fund - at the start of the essay as it would demonstrate they have precise knowledge. (It is fine to use the shortened version after this, for convenience.) Use of precise numbers is also good - saying "$6m Common Fund" is better than saying "a Common Fund with lots of money", as the student is showing that they understand $6m is a large amount, and therefore that the Common Fund was significant. However, it is important to always be as accurate as possible with factual knowledge: for example, in the introduction, the student says "1st world developed countries (DCs) like...Western Europe". Western Europe isn't a country, it is a region, and if the student had picked out some particular examples of developed Western European countries in the period (such as the United Kingdom or West Germany), it would have showed that they have both precise and accurate knowledge. The conclusion to the essay is good as summarises some of the points already made - such as Bretton-Woods - then uses this to reach an answer to the question, which is good as it shows the student can look back over what they have written and make a decision on which factor is most important. The student is right to pick out the most important factors and rank them in order (such as when they say "More importantly..."): this shows that they have the evidence and understanding to make a judgement on what was more of an influence on the international economy and what was less of an influence.

This is a good essay with a crystal clear understanding of the concept of the international economy and an impressive range of factual knowledge, but would benefit from a better structure. The student makes a good attempt at answering the question, and they do cover both sides of the argument, which is good as it shows that they are thinking widely and are not being narrow-minded and only talking about the side they agree with. However, the essay's structure makes it difficult to find where one side of the argument ends and the next side begins. It would be better to put a new point in a new paragraph, start it with a word like "Furthermore" or "Moreover" (which the student does do, but not often enough), and then when it changes to the other argument, start a new paragraph with a word like "However". This would make it really clear to the examiner that the student can organise their ideas, and fully understands the need to address both interpretations.