project WORLDVIEW worldview theme info         copyright 2009                Home         

Related Words, Beliefs, Background

Worldview Theme #22A: Expansionism   Worldview Theme #22B: Imperialism 

Contrast Worldview Themes #22A and #23A --   these themes involve orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically opposed! 

bads -- the opposite of “goods” as in the economic phrase “goods and services”. In contrast to purchasing goods, people generally seek to avoid or get rid of bads (such as garbage, air pollutants, toxic waste, etc)

capital -- an economics term referring to accumulated goods and resources (or their value) devoted to the production of other goods or set aside to produce income. Capital can take the form of money, raw materials, buildings, equipment, inventories, etc. While economists have long distinguished between “physical capital” and “human capital”, some have recently extended this scheme to include “natural capital”.

comparative advantage--according to this, a nation should produce and export goods that it can produce at relatively lower costs than other nations. 

economic growth, basis for--in terms of increasing production output, economic growth can be brought about  by increasing production input and / or increasing productivity. At the national level, ways to achieve this include 1) increasing population growth rate (this helps determine eventual labor force growth),  2) investment in economic infrastructure (land, new industrial plants / equipment),  3) investment in human capital, 4) by making technological changes, and 5) by improving the political, and socioeconomic climate.  With respect to investment, it is generally thought that if a nation maintains essentially full employment and keeps inflation in check, its rate of economic growth should be directly related to the % of its gross domestic product that is reinvested back in the ways noted above.

economic growth, measuring--the rate of a nation's growth of real gross domestic product per capita is typically used (as a first approximation) to gauge how fast economies are growing and standard of living is increasing.  Economic growth per capita is considered high if in the 5% to 10% / year range, 3% to 4% / year is considered moderate / healthy, while 1% to 2% is thought to be rather slow / anemic growth.  An economy growing at a per capita rate of 5% / year means that the economic output per person will roughly double in 14 years.

engineering design -- the process by which scientific principles, engineering analysis, mathematics, computers, words and pictures are used to produce a plan or design, which, when carried out, will satisfy previously identified and well defined human needs.

fossil fuels--the hydrocarbons (derived from ancient plants) stored in coal, oil, and natural gas which can be burned to release energy.  Over 85% of society's energy needs are met in this way. While reserves of oil and natural gas are dwindling--some argue that global oil production has peaked and will begin to decline --enough coal exists to power civilization for hundreds more years.  Environmentalists hope that most of that coal will remain in the ground: burning all of it--and releasing the greenhouse effect enhancing carbon dioxide gas associated with fossil fuel combustion--will produce unbearable global warming / climate change they argue. 

free trade--exists when goods can be exported and imported without tariffs, quotas or other restrictive barriers. Supposedly free trade promotes economic growth by encouraging nations to engage in economic activities in which they have comparative advantage.    

global competitiveness index--a measure of how well a nation's economy is positioned with respect to its own economic efficiency / productivity and its ability to attract foreign investment / company infrastructure.  Typically based on over hundred different factors, the index is computed annually for over hundred countries by the World Economic Forum after surveying thousands of business executives worldwide.

globalization--one of those terms that means different things to different people.  Here the term is defined as the acceleration of interaction and integration amongst the people, businesses and governments of nations. A narrower definition, the expansion of foreign trade and investment, refers to economic aspects of globalization.  Some build their conception of globalization around the creation of a global village brought about by advances in communications technology and capital that seemingly moves without respect for international boundaries.  Others link it to hot button terms like Americanization, corporate capitalism, McDonaldization, free trade, outsourcing, sweatshops, the Internet Revolution, etc.

government involvement in a market economy, indicators of -- There are three areas in which to assess a national government’s involvement and interference in a market economy: 1) by the proportion of GNP that the government directly purchases or produces; 2) by examination of the extent to which the government redistributes income, typically by levying income taxes on most, and making transfer payments to others (such as welfare checks, social security payments, unemployment benefits, for medical costs, etc); 3) by examination of the extent to which the government regulates and supervises many things directly connected with economic life (business, commerce, workplace safety, etc) and others indirectly (travel, entertainment, health, education, science & technology, etc).

gross domestic product -- the annual market value of a country’s total domestic economic output,  including all end goods and services purchased. It is often used to gauge economic well being. Usually a "real" value is provided meaning the effects of inflation are removed.

gross national product -- similar to gross domestic product but also includes foreign economic output, that is it factors in incomes / output associated with its citizens living outside its territory.  

human capital -- investment made in people, including improving their productive capabilities and health due to investments in job training, education or medical care.

inflation rate, annual--a measure of how much prices generally increase over one year.  At 2% / yr inflation prices would double in 36 years; at 6 %/ yr in 12 years; at 12 % / yr in 6 years.

interest rate, annual--what it costs someone to borrow a dollar (or unit of currency in general) for one year. Thus a .07 = 7 % annual interest rate means that it costs $.07 dollars to borrow 1 dollar for one year, or 7 dollars to borrow $100 for one year.

interest, simple vs. compound--interest refers to compensation paid for the loan of money, typically calculated by using an interest rate. Thus the simple interest on a deposit (where the bank is loaned money) of $2000 earning 7% for five years would  be $2000 x .07/yr x 5 yrs = $700.  Compound interest differs from simple interest in that the principal is not fixed--it is compounded or added to by the interest earned. This addition takes place over a specified compounding period.  Thus interest on $2000 earning 7% compounded annually for five years would be ($2000 x .07/yr x 1st year = $140) + ($2140 x .07/yr x 2nd year = $149.80) + ($2289.80 x .07 / yr x 3rd year =$160.29) + (2450.09 x .07 /yr x 4th year = $171.51) + ($2621.60 x .07 / yr x 5th year =$183.51) = $805.11. Most financial arrangements involving loans or deposits involve compound interest.

investment decisions, basis for--typically the key piece of information behind whether to invest in something or not is whether the expected annual rate of return on the investment exceeds the annual interest rate charged for the money borrowed to make the investment or finance the project.

market economy -- a private, free-enterprise system based on independent consumer agents, a price system, and economic forces of supply and demand

nonrenewable resources--irreplaceable natural resources whose amount--for all practical purposes--is limited. Examples include fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas, etc), iron ore, copper, etc.  For the fossil fuel most important to the global economy--oil--speculation abounds as to whether world oil production has already peaked and is about to decline (as pessimists claim), or won't peak for another two decades or so (as optimists believe.)  Unless replacements / alternatives can be readily phased in, economic disruption spurred by higher prices for dwindling resources could accompany decline in production of such non-renewable resources.

opportunity cost--an economics concept that puts the cost of resources used in a certain way at the value of what these resources could have brought in or produced if they had instead been used in some alternative way (deemed to be the best). It represents the most highly valued opportunity forfeited when a choice is made.

overshoot and collapse -- a phenomenon often seen by ecologists in studying ecosystems. It occurs when the numbers of a certain species dramatically rise, exceed the carrying capacity of the ecosystem, and then fall suddenly. Their numbers can recover eventually, provided the demands on the environment were not such that the carrying capacity is permanently degraded.

productivity--in economic terms, this refers to production output per unit of input.

recession--according to the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, this is "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy lasting more than a few months."

technology assessment -- a procedure for 1) collecting information about the technology and how it will be used in meeting specified objectives, 2) identifying impacts of its use in various areas (environmental, economic, social, political, etc), 3) assessing impacts and identifying tradeoffs, 4) formulating, then examining alternatives, with quantitative models and forecasts, 5) making recommendations including designating a preferred alternative that best meets objectives while minimizing impacts / other concerns , and 6) making plans for monitoring performance

trade, balance of--the relative comparison between the monetary value of a nation's exports vs. its imports.  U.S. exports and imports were last roughly equal in 1991. Since then a trade deficit--which in 2006 reached $764 billion / year has developed.

wage and price controls -- regulations on wages and prices (typically limiting their rate of increase) which a government can impose to help combat inflation.

World Bank -- an international financial institution of over 180 member nations whose purpose is to promote development in poor countries by providing loans and technical assistance.

World Trade Organization (WTO) -- an international organization founded in 1995 to promote more international free trade, and regulate / resolve disputes involving international trade of goods and services. It replaced the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), an international body founded in 1947.


Contrast Worldview Themes #22B and #51 --   these themes involve orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically opposed!          

Contrast Worldview Themes #22B and #21A --   these themes involve orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically opposed!   

Contrast Worldview Themes #22B and #48 --   these themes involve orientations, beliefs or behavior that are (more or less) diametrically opposed!   

biopiracy–ripping off natural resources or traditional knowledge from indigenous people.

colonialism--the policy or practice of a nation extending or maintaining its control over a foreign land or people. This control is typically enforced militarily, and often results in the economic and / or cultural domination of the subject people.  Such practice, rooted in ethnocentrism and sometimes racism, is one form that imperialism takes. 

corporate state -- a term used by those who believe that government and large corporations are run by the same people and are so intermeshed that corporate goals and policy and government goals and policy are essentially the same.

cultural imperialism--the rapid spread of one culture to the detriment of another. Often a politically / economically dominant culture is imposed by newcomers--weakening or destroying the existing culture.

ethnocentrism -- adopting the social standards of one’s own culture or ethnic group as the basis for evaluating the social practices, customs, beliefs, etc. of another culture -- and doing so because you believe your society’s values and way of living are superior to those of other cultures.

imperialism, non-Marxist --the belief that governments or corporations extending their power and influence over people (either economically, culturally or both) is fundamentally good.  The belief may rest on the assumption that, given the economic / cultural backwardness of the people affected, such domination will bring positive developments for all.  This way of thinking about imperialism attempts to free it of the negative connotations / baggage heaped on the term by Marxist criticisms of the failings of capitalism.

intervention philosophy--the rationale or ideological justification guiding imperialistic conquest, colonialism, or missionary activity.  

master -- a derogatory term that refers to an individual or group -- historically often associated with a man or men -- who dominates and controls another person or group of people, and to some extent exercises authority that keeps those subject to it in a submissive state of servitude.

McDonaldization -- refers to the spread of American economic and cultural life around the world as multinational corporations (as exemplified by McDonald's) expand their operations in the quest for profits. 

monopoly -- a situation in a market economy when but a single seller exists for a commodity that has no realistic substitute

nationalist -- a person exhibiting extreme loyalty and devotion to a particular nation, who places its interests above interests of other nations.

paternalism -- a system in which adults are treated in a fatherly way like children, with their conduct regulated and their needs met. Typically in exchange for this care, the authority expects loyalty and that those receiving the care will accept their relinquishing of personal control.

propaganda -- broadly speaking, information that is designed and disseminated as part of a concerted effort to influence what individuals believe or want, and manipulate public opinion and desires.

racism -- a negative attitude toward members of a particular race based on stereotypes and belief in the inferior nature of members of that race in comparison to other human beings (and in racial superiority of some races over others in general)

underdevelopment --a socioeconomic situation in which people’s standard of living, freedom (in terms of choices available to them) self esteem and hope for the future is seriously and persistently depressed.


Back to Worldview Theme #22