In recent times, human society has evolved to embrace materialism to an extent that such concepts as globalization, global village, and capitalism define the association between people from different nations. The manifestation of neocolonialism is multifaceted in that several factors including; language, culture, lifestyle, and media impact on the economic, political and social landscape in a country. Neocolonialism is majorly expressed in terms of the influence of a country that’s perceived to be more endowed economically and military wise. It is a more oppressive way of colonizing because the victim is not really aware of the other country’s attempt to influence how issues are implemented in that country. Overall, neocolonialism is a way of influencing the political, social and economic status of one country mostly by the superpower with the aim of gaining control in that country. This paper discusses the social dimension of neocolonialism and its origin. It also outlines the effects of neocolonialism and how it can be rectified.
According to Vengroff (2009), neocolonialism is a form of imperialism which the colonial masters and other new actors such as the superpowers and international financial institutions invented to exert control on newly independent states. Mostly it’s practiced by former colonial masters, who after relinquishing their colonies in the second end of the twentieth century had no slaves. Since the colonial governments had oppressed these new countries for a longer period of time, they invented a way of perpetuating their imperialism in form of a new term. In fact, Vengroff (2009) notes that neocolonialism has been termed as the worst form of imperialism since the victim is lured into traps in form of grants and aids which make them to once again depend on their colonial masters. As parasitic form of dependence is formed between the two, it becomes easier for one to manipulate the other.
As played by different countries, each with its own interests, neocolonialism renders poor territories as the play ground for the limited war between these descending voices. Anghie (2007) observes that globalization, capitalism, and International Corporation are some of the ways in which neocolonialists perpetuate their influence on the social, political and economic dimensions in a country. He mentions that countries across the world are charged with the notion that globalization is the way, that capitalism leads to wealth.
Notably Anghie (2007) furthernotes that neocolonialism takes a social phenomenon in the line of influence that is impacted on the culture, language, and cultural practices of a country. As a matter of importance, neocolonialism takes the strategy of influencing factors such as media and culture in a country. Such terms are importance in defining the social structure of the country.
Effects of Neocolonialism
According to Vengroff (2009), neocolonialism has impacted on all spheres in the countries where it has been practiced. For instance, culture change and language extinction in some countries has been blamed on the effects of globalization where one language is promoted over others. For example, Vengroff (2009) indicates that from the time France invaded Spain, there has always been the fear of wiping out the Basque language which was not promoted until the historical 1978 declaration of the constitution. It is the constitution that helped to promote a language which was once under the threat of being replaced. Similarly,Anghie (2007)observes that many developing countries in Africa and elsewhere are still experiencing difficulty in the use of native languages. Instead; English, German, French alongside other languages are promoted as the language of business.
Additionally, Young (2001) notes that neocolonialism has led to a dependence situation where some countries cannot support themselves economically without the dependence on the international aids and grants which unfortunately has to be paid with high interests. The high interests on loans like the ones given in the much hyped Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) has caused some countries to become even poorer than they were at independence and before the imperial SAP program was implemented. Many of the developing countries have thus continued to operate in debts.
How to Rectify Neocolonialism
According to Young (2001), the worst thing about neocolonialism is that it is normally packaged as well intended programs perpetuated to be helping the poor countries. This beautiful packaging prevents the victim from recognizing that whatever incentive offered is bait which will affect them later. This has made it difficult for victim nations to rectify the effects of neocolonialism. However, with good information, it is possible to assist the developing countries to try and appreciate their ability in becoming independence and thus avoid the dependence on neocolonial masters. It is evident that neocolonialism thrives on ignorance and lack of economic empowerment.
Similarly, neocolonialism has roots in the colonial era and thus some of the effects are considered as normal with many people in those countries. These practices have been passed over to generations and thus emergence of dictatorial regimes in the countries where colonialist operated. Young (2001) argues that many countries in Africa have been under the leadership of dictatorial presidents whose role models were the colonial masters. Traditionally, African leadership was guided by a system or rules and guidelines which provided for well defined leadership. However with the influence from colonialism and later neocolonialism, it is evident that these countries have had bad leadership because the leaders tend to be guided by the recommendations of the colonialists. To rectify this, Young (2001) suggests that leadership in such a country should explore alternative means of becoming economically and socially empowered without necessarily embracing neocolonialism.
From my point of view neocolonialism provide a short term solution to the problems that negatively affect the developing nations. It influences the social, political, and economic structure of these nations and thus creates a situation of dependence. Thus it can be argued that neocolonialism, just like imperialism, inhibits development in poor countries by offering to give cheaper products at the expense of the independence of those nations. Additionally, neocolonialism has hampered the cultural and traditional growth by promoting some practices and portraying them as superior to the culture of those countries. This is done through the international media and other channels which are supported by the governments of the neocolonial masters.
In conclusion, it is therefore clear that neocolonialism has had an impact in the development of newly independent countries. It is expressed in terms of aids and grants and other initiatives which are packaged to appear attractive. However, these initiatives normally turn out to be costly to those nations as they continually pay high interests. With new buzzwords like globalization, capitalism, information technology; neocolonialism will continue to change shape even as nations continue to lose their identities to post colonial masters.