2011 World Politics question #13

On p. 250, Todorov writes: "'The man who finds his country sweet is only a raw beginner; the man for whom each country is as his own is already strong; but only the man for whom the whole world is as a foreign country is perfect' (I myself, a Bulgarian living in France, borrow this quotation from Edward Said, a Palestinian living in the United States, who himself found it in Erich Auerbach, a German exiled in Turkey)." Is this in fact the best way to avoid genocide in cross-cultural encounters?


2011 World Politics question #12

In class we spent a while talking about the ambiguities of Cortes' understanding of the native people he encountered, and the tensions between his instrumental use of people and his understanding of them. Another figure whose understanding Todorov highlights is La Malinche herself, so the question is: does she understand either the native people or the Spanish conquistadors better than others do? Does her position between the two worlds enable her to see each more clearly?


2011 World Politics question #11

The question that Naeem Inayatullah asks in his chapter -- do states have a right to be wealthy? -- inverts our usual order of things, in which it's right and proper to ask about states deserving security but the wealth of states seems more like a naturally-occuring fact. So for this week's blog I want you to wrestle with Inayatullah's question: do states have a right to wealth? Do individuals?


2011 World Politics question #10

In our class discussion today we identified three salient characteristics of "wealth":

1) to be wealthy is to have capacity that goes beyond that needed for mere survival.

2) at a minimum, wealth comes in two varieties: the possession of material objects, and the enjoying of love/esteem/respect that leads to happiness. These two varieties are related in complex ways, but they are not the same thing.

3) whether or not you are wealthy depends a great deal on the set of others to which you are comparing yourself.

Most of our discussion centered on interpersonal comparisons. What changes would have to be made to scale this up the the international or global level? Do these three characteristics translate well? Does wealth require something else at the international or global level?