NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 18 Issue 3 - Fall 2018 - Page 108

Sindh Madressatul Islam University Karachi, Pakistan May 11, 2018 International Economic Development in the Modern Era: By Wallace Ford From Conquest and Colonialism to Empowerment and Inclusion p Wallace Ford at the Karachi Marriott Hotel in Pakistan. There can be little argument that the ancient model of international economic development based on conquest was the result of the desire to expand markets and to acquire resources to enhance the economy and national wealth of the nation that initiated the wars and consequent conquests. The destruction of the target nation, the decimation and enslavement of its people and the ancillary affect of eliminating the culture of that target nation were typically seen by conquering nations as the cost of doing business. It is indeed a privilege and an honor to represent Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York at the First International Conference on Management, Business and Leadership, organized by the historic Sindh Madressatul Islam University in Karachi, Pakistan. It is a wonder of this world that we share, as it is a wonder of the lives that we live, that no matter how much we plan and visualize, there is no way that we can predict all that will happen in this world and in our lives. I have been blessed to have visited many places on this planet — I was born in the United States. My education began in Japan. I have worked extensively in Europe, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. Yet, on January 1st of 2018, I did not know, and could not have predicted, that I would be sharing the experience of this wonderful conference with the honored guests and hosts in attendance here in Pakistan. And for that I am thankful and most appreciative. That all the great empires, ancient and not so ancient, have been based on conquest cannot be argued. I submit that viewing conquest, and its descendant — colonialism, have been the norm for international economic development until the beginning of the modern era — which, for the purposes of this presentation, I am designating as the years beginning in the second half of the twentieth century until the present. For, while there are numerous historical accounts of trading alliances between countries, all too often these alliances degenerated into wars or were themselves the result of prior wars and incomplete attempts at conquest. The topic of my presentation, International Economic Development in the Modern Era: From Conquest and Colonialism to Empowerment and Inclusion, is based on my appreciation of history and on my professional experience with the many contours and concepts of what is termed international business development. With your permission, I would like to begin with the historical aspects of my presentation. It can be safely argued that, until the second half of the twentieth century, with but a few exceptions that will be noted shortly, international economic development was manifested in strategies that began with conquest that evolved into colonialism. From Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan — from Napoleon to Hitler — from the Mughal Emperor Akbar to Queen Elizabeth – from Shaka Zulu to Hannibal to Julius Caesar — international economic development was accomplished through conquest. This model was the norm for much of recorded history, from Babylon to Assyria, from the Aztecs to the Greeks. And then, in the second half of the 16th century something remarkable and historically unique occurred. The ascendancy of European civilizations was coincident with the development of superior technology that was remarkably well-suited for conquest. This was combined with the unprecedented development of travel-related technology (particularly cartography and ship building). As Dr. Jared Diamond points out in his groundbreaking book, Guns, Germs and Steel,” his epic account of this planet-changing colonial explosion in world history, the European (and later the European-American) conquest of much of the planet was never due to any mythic racial or cultural superiority. Diamond points out that instead of this clearly rebuttable analysis, it was due to the concentration of certain already mentioned technological developments in Europe together with the unforeseen consequence of enhanced immune systems inherited from the survivors of the Great Plague in Europe, which in many instances enabled Europeans to conquer entire tribes and nations without firing a shot, while introducing germ warfare to the arsenal of human civilization. The result was a perfect storm that elevated conquest to a global scale, much to the detriment of the non-Europeans who lived on most of the planet. In a period of less than four hundred years, European Americans conquered all of North America, South America, much of Asia, and all of Africa — and European Americans prospered in that conquest as no other people had in history. Technological and scientific advances culminating in the Industrial Revolution, which literally changed the face of the globe and challenged ancient notions of sovereignty and the meaning of international business development, accompanied this unprecedented global conquest. What we now know is that European American conquest was a war waged upon all the non-European people of the world that enriched the conquerors beyond the wildest dreams of even their most rapacious ancestors. What we now know is that the great wealth of the British Empire was firmly rooted in the Raj, in other words, rooted in the soil on which we now stand. What we now know is that there is no such entity called the United States of America and its great wealth without the genocide committed on the indigenous people of the North American continent, killing millions of the original residents of what is now New York to what is now California, while enslaving millions of Africans and decimating the African continent in the bargain. What we now know is that the great wealth of Spain and Portugal was the result of the rapacious robbery of the existing Carib, Arawak, Taino, Aztec, Inca, and Mayan empires. This resulted in the shipping of literally tons of stolen gold and silver from South America and the Caribbean back to Lisbon and Madrid, leaving the bleached bones of these virtually forgotten peoples and their empires in their wake. This presentation is intended to be an unflinching denunciation of European American conquest as a tool for international development. But it is also true that the era of European American conquest took this form of international business development to an unprecedented scale with implications that have affected the planet ever since and to this very day. Taking this historical analysis to the next step, what happened to the waves of European American conquests, when there were no more opportunities for conquest? First, the internecine conflicts between European countries continued in Europe. Indeed, from 1600 until 1945, rarely did 30 years go by without two (and in many instances more than two) European countries going to war, culminating in the massive European American Asian slaughters of World War I and World War II. KEYNOTE SPEECH AT 1ST INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MANAGEMENT, BUSINESS AND LEADERSHIP essay