Reflection Paper on Capitalism

Reflection Paper on Capitalism

In the lecture, Prof. Li explores the two methods through which capitalism occurs among the indigenous communities. She starts by explaining each of these two methods terming them as capitalism from above and from below. The first method, and which is most common, is the one that involves the transformation of merchants into industrialists. It is also known as capitalism from above and is attained through interactions of the indigenous communities with capitalist nations. It is a result of huge investments in indigenous regions resulting in the employment of people as wageworkers. However, there is another method of capitalism that is referred to as capitalism from below. This method of capitalism is achieved through inventions resulting in the differentiation of artisan producers to become capitalist wageworkers and manufacturers (Tania, 2014). The entire essay is an analysis of the roles of each of the two methods on the development of the indigenous people and the resulting impacts.

The professor explains the importance of capitalism and how each of the methods impacts on the indigenous people. Most importantly, the professor is adamant that capitalism from below is more beneficial to the indigenous people as it helps them to learn as they grow. The opposite, which is the capitalism from above, does not provide enough opportunities for the indigenous people to learn as they grow and develop into capitalists. The lecture explores the different situations in which capitalism is manifested and its roles in both methods. The concept of commoditization is also explored in detail to gain an understanding into the functioning of the concept of capitalism. Capitalism from below is most beneficial as it contributes to a rapid transformation of the processes of production and labor. On the contrary, the other form of capitalism prevents the development of the labor and production processes. In exploring the lecture, I will address the theme of dependency theory and analyze the ways in which my understanding of the same has been enhanced.

The special lecture was very important and insightful as it increased my understanding of capitalism. In particular, the existence of two concepts of capitalism and the resultant impacts of each concept is most striking to me. Today, I can differentiate between the two concepts by just looking at the impacts imposed by the process of capitalism. Also, I find it quite interesting how the lecturer explored the concept of commoditization with respect to capitalism. By exploring a subject that is rarely tackled, the lecturer improved my knowledge on the roles of capitalism in uplifting the lives of indigenous people. Further, the activities initiated by the indigenous people in becoming capitalists are also explored providing more insights into the functioning of different economies. I have learnt about the differences between capitalism from above and capitalism from below. Also, I have learned the reasons why capitalism from below as advanced by the indigenous people is much healthier to an economy compared to capitalism from above.

In this reflection, the lecture is analyzed with respect to the theme of dependency theory. The theory asserts that resources move from the periphery consisting of poor and undeveloped countries to the core that consists of the wealthy states. Consequently, the theory alludes to the enrichment of the wealthy countries at the expense of the underdeveloped countries (Ferraro, 2008). This theory has particular lessons from the lecture provided for analysis. Indeed, capitalism as we know it involves the movement of resources from the poor countries to the rich countries from where value addition is made. In fact, most of the resources transferred to the rich countries find themselves back as improved and modified products and are sold at exorbitant prices. One example is the case of timber moving from the poor countries and into the rich countries. Later, these timbers are converted into high quality furniture that is then sold back to the poor countries. This is true for many other resources and the lecture further contributes to my personal understanding of the theory.

The discussions raised in the special lecture are important in advancing the understanding of the theme of dependency theory. Previously, scholars have disregarded the theory in favor of other theories such as neoliberalism and modernization theories. However, the lecture talks about the investments made in indigenous countries and their contribution towards the general well being of the local communities. However, the investments of capitalism do not come for free but are done at the cost to the indigenous communities. In essence, the lecture explores the flow of resources from these indigenous countries into more developed countries. Although some of these resources are manufactured within their countries of production, the wealthy countries still benefit from the resources through taxes and cheap imports. Capitalism as explained in the topic is a manifestation of the dependency theory as resources flow in a similar direction. Essentially, therefore, the lecture contributes to the furtherance of the dependency theory by exploring the transfer of resources through capitalism.

The choice of indigenous frontiers in discussing the concepts of capitalism is well in line with the theme of dependency theory. In extension, the lecture helps in expounding on the true picture of capitalism especially when it is approached from above. In their desire to become capitalists, indigenous people are exploited by the investors and in the process losing their resources to the more adept capitalists. In the end, the theory of dependency is vindicated as wealthy nations become richer at the expense of the poor nations. The ideas presented in the lecture including the concept of commoditization support the theory of dependency. For instance, the transfer of raw materials into rich countries as exports from poor countries is deemed as a capitalist gesture. However, the truth is that these initiatives serve to worsen the situations in the indigenous frontiers. As more people are subjected to these initiatives, they lose their national wealth in a fashion that replicate the dependency theory.

My thinking is that the ideas presented in the lecture enhance my understanding of the theme of dependency theory. In fact, I have never felt such knowledgeable in the topic as I did after the lecture was conveyed. I can boast of having learnt from the best as the professor is a renowned researcher in the field of capitalism. The idea of capitalism contributing to the dependency theory is true and further increases my understanding of the subject matter. Eventually, the examples given in the lecture including the case studies used further provide increased understanding on the dependency theory. The two concepts of capitalism, from above and below, contribute to a deeper understanding of the theme chosen.



Tania Murray Li (2014): Can there be food sovereignty here?, The Journal of Peasant Studies, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2014.938058

Ferraro, V. (2008). Dependency theory: An introduction. The development economics reader, 12(2), 58-64.



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