ENVS 2300 FINAL Exam
The Bretton Woods Institutions
1. International Monetary Fund (IMF)
a. Provides countries short term loans (3-5 years)
b. Loans giving to pay off debts due to importing/exporting (balance of payment
c. Loans come from banks in the West
2. World Bank
a. Provides long term development funds
3. General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization
a. GATT – breaking down trade barriers for countries to trade more freely. Trade
negotiations usually happen every few years in trade rounds; The Uraguay
Round was very significant because it encourages sharing knowledge but gives
corporations the right to protect patents in other countries
b. WTO created in 1993 and took over GATT – The Seattle Trade Round was
another significant meeting as it is still occurring today. WTO states that
subsidies are barriers to trade
c. Does much more than just trading and is the most powerful global institution
i. EX: Video – Trade and the GATT: WTO takes 3 people to make trade
decisions. They meet in secret to have meetings to see if laws are
barriers of trade. Government either has to: (1) change the law or (2) pay
• hAid with conditions to it
• Canadian aid
o Tied to the purchase of Canadian goods
• $0.70 of every Canadian dollar returns back to Canada
• Subsidy by Canadian governments • 30% of aid is reserved for crisis
• Provision of long-term loans (from IMF, World Bank), subject to the following strict
o “Get the prices ‘right’”: depreciate exchange rate, higher prices for exports
o reduce imports , increase exports
o reduce government spending and size of government
o improve market/investment climate
• Neoliberal ideology
The Debt Crisis
3 main causes:
(i) formation of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) --> sharp increases in oil
prices --> “oil crisis” + excess OPEC cash invested in West
(ii) mismanagement by some developing country governments + high borrowing by oil-importing
(iii) sharp rise in interest rates (reaching over 20% per annum), mainly because of high US
= Debt Crisis
• Thomas Malthus believed people were poor b/c there were stupid for reproducing so
o Seen as sexual animals
• Poverty is a cause of population growth because population outruns wealth creation
• Poverty is the cause of degradation of the environment
• Argue there is limits to growth and resources are finite
• Ex: Earth First! Neomalthusian group o Said HIV/AIDS is a good thing because people are dying therefore less
resources are being used
• Video: “Decision Making and the Environment”
o The earth has a carrying capacity for how many humans the earth can hold
o Earth is exceeding this capacity
o They are always ringing alarms about population bombs and population
Calling the rising population an explosion or a bomb is making it seem
very detrimental as a bomb or explosion sounds like it can never be
o Poor countries are usually to blame for these ‘population explosions’
The “people-vs-resource perspective” in the Lappe and Sherman reading
‘People are pitted against finite resources and are quickly overrunning Earth’s capacity to
support us’. Environmental degradation and the prevalence of famine and hunger in many areas
are indications that we have already exceeded the limitations of the planet and the environment.
The “social perspective” in the Lappe and Sherman reading
- examines the problem of hunger and environmental degradation a little more closely than
merely population number. This perspective questions why Third World populations are growing
so quickly, and points to a complex interaction of social, economic and cultural forces that keep
Third World fertility high. This perspective also attributes high population rates to distribution
problems, the low status of women, high death rates of children and the lack of old age security.
Essentially, this perspective is that the realities of booming Third World populations and the
factors contributing to environmental degradation are extremely complex, and more of an effect
than a cause of poverty and hunger.
• Culture is everything we use (words, writing, images, sounds, music) to represent our
• Culture tints our view
o Gives us certain ways at looking at the same world
o Cant look at the world without looking through a cultural view
o Always biased b/c everyone has a different view
• Edward Said discussed this in his book ‘Orientalism’ o Sterotypes came out of colonialism
o Third world is defined by the first world
o Ex: poor, rich; uneducated, educated; traditional, modern; etc.
• “A discourse is a regulated cultural system (or a system of knowledge) that follows
certain rules, so that everything is codified in terms of it.
o Economic growth and development
• North/South debate
• The Brundland Report started in 1983
o North looks at sustainable development in the form of structural development
o South looks at sustainable development in the form of environmental issues
• Sustainable development = green capitalism
• Sustainable development = steady state
• Involves restructuring the capitalist economy along environmental lines so that
environmental criteria are built into the very design of production system
• 2 forms
o Corporate (technological)
o Broader (political)
• It looks like it could be green capitalism
o Sustainable development = green capitalism
o Sustainable development should be the poor having access to their environment;
control over the commons
• Post-industrial society • Post-capitalist society
• Rostow’s 3 Stages of Economic Growth/Modernization
o 1st Stage: “Traditional Society”
o 2nd Stage: “Pre-conditions for Take-Off”
o 3rd Stage: “Sustainable Growth/Mass Consumption Society”
The phenomenon of “branding” by transnational corporations
establishing a brand as a fundamental manner in which people (customers) would like to see
themselves; an attempt to equate a brand with an identity of sorts. Branding shifts the focus
farther away from the product itself and the process by which it is created, and more towards
the image the customer wishes to be a part of or to convey. These brands transcend traditional
international borders, and their attitudes and implicit character are recognizable in almost any
country regardless of language.
The difference between “transnational” and “international”
• Transnational = global; looking beyond the state; above/below the state; not bounded by
the borders of countries
• International = relationships between states, governments
The Westphalian System
• The organization of humanity into sovereign, territorially exclusive nation-states.
• The map today is divided into sovereignty
• Exclusive territory with boundaries that are recognized internationally
• The state is a container
• Westphalian comes from peace of west Germany in Westphalia over 400 years ago
• Signed onto this to recognize boarders across countries
• This has given us the modern Nation states jealously guarding its right to government
• This is a traditionalist view – the state has never been as powerful as now
• exclusive and undivided authority over a nation/geographic territory. Essay Questions
1. explain (i) the relationship between the debt crisis and structural adjustment; and (ii) why
it be claimed that “structural adjustment is a new form of colonialism”
3 - “’sustainable development’ and ‘ecological modernization’ do nothing to
fundamentally alter global capitalism.” Do you agree? Explain why or why not.
2. What are key issues in the debate between Wheeler and Kapoor on celebrity charity
work? Whis side of the debate do you agree with most and why?
5 - Explain the following claim: “The WTO is a powerful, unaccountable and
environmentally unfriendly organization.”
question 1 exam
HISTORY OF AN IDEA
- 2 examples – Gabriel resources Canada. Himalayan foothills. Rosia Montana in Romania,
1. Basis of Argument:
- “Planning does not include democratic consultation, omits adequate compensation for the
displaced, and neglects environmental concerns.”
o “Construction is accompanied by official secrecy, deal-fixing, corruption and
inefficiency – and dirt-cheap wages for site laborers, many of whom are women and
o These aspects are very typical
o “International investment – from the private market the public purse, or some
combination of the two – is often involved.” (WTO, IMF, World Bank)
o All this happens with development in mind* An amorphous term, covers hosts of
o Development is to combat poverty.. “yet many of these projects adversely affect poor people and inflict poverty on other who were not poor before. They do this in the name of
progress, modernization and economic growth… without legitimate democratic
consultation and just compensation”
2. Development destruction: - “The reality is that, too often, the poverty of certain communities
or nations is used as a
pretext for promoting investments that are primarily designed to improve incomes and
lifestyles for the better off.”
- “Development cleansing” – focus on the dispossession of minority groups.
- Debt from development makes country economically stagger which force countries to exploit
national resources in order to pay back creditors instead of focusing on education, health,
water supplies and livelihood of poor.
- (Important numerical figures, please review M. Black)
- Socio-economic global apartheid – growing division between rich and poor
- Post-colonial age, development is a product of the west, not developing world.
- Harry Truman 1949, declared that the benefits of scientific advance and industrial progress
be made available for the underdeveloped areas.
- Marshall Plan 1947 – Europe. Purpose was to consolidate US influences in places which had
potential of becoming communist.
4. Post-Colonial Construct
- Concept of developing world emerged (third world) and the common factor was lack of
industrialization as a classification (poverty).
- Use these terms introduced ideology that prompted conventional notions of investment and
- Put countries at disposal of paternalistic assistance.
- Dichotomy of words: Developed vs. underdeveloped, north vs. south. - UN helped spread
ideology. - Creation of World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to battle hunger,
disease, illiteracy and all the economically and social disruptive forces which could result in
- These CONCEPTUALAND CULTURAL mechanisms developed a method of channeling
- International development does not exist and actual improvement is precluded by power
5. Crusade takes off
- People wanted to help poorer people because it was the right thing to do.
- Media and culture fostered false ideas. People were not poor in terms of subsistence, but
western monetary standards.
o Creation of Agriculture organization (FAO) 1960, Oxfam, Peace Corps, the Alliance for
Progress, Food for Peace
o Use of terms like Aid, for people who were depicted as starving. 1% of GNP to ODA
- This was endorsed through social justice.
6. A tarnished vision
- In 1960 lester b pearson noted people were becoming poorer although GNP grew.
- Certain common features in addition to economic growth needed to be taken into account;
progress, redistribution of wealth, efficient administration, political stability and democratic
- Resources were lost. 7. The search for alternatives
- There was a reaction from the developed world.
- In the world of theory, an attempt was made to argue the case for social investments as a vital
contribution rather than a drain, on economic productivity.
- Attacked poverty of the poorest 40%.
- Non-government approaches worked more efficiently but were only able to achieve minimal gai