Wednesday, 20 November 2013

GINS: Consumerism and Economic Connections



Currently, for my Global Issues Novel Study (GINS) project, I am reading The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles by Hala Jaber. As we have been discussing for a while now, economics and consumerism play a large role in our world. My GINS novel explores the 2003 war in Iraq, declared because of United States claiming they believed that the country of Iraq held weapons of mass destruction, which was completely false, proved after the bombardment. Although, one positive result was the dictator who was withdrawn from power. Now, as we take a closer look into Iraq and its economic systems we realize the substantial growth difference before and after 2003.
Before the 2003 war, Iraq was a dictatorship where Ba’ath Party (with former president Saddam Hussein) was in power. In this dictator ruled country, there was next to no freedom for any of the citizens residing there, meaning they had no say in how the country is organized. We can assume that Hussein likely inclined towards focusing on the land he reigned upon, than the people that resided their. During this time, the residents demand for food and water was high, with everything in ruins these people of Iraq continuously struggled to receive the supply of basic necessities required. Since the main focus was to obtain basic needs and survive amongst the demolished cities, it was nearly impossible for any importing of resources to be done. This meant that the physiological needs that had to be met were dependant on what the country had present inside, including possibly locally growing foods as a resources to meet the demand. Without any focus on importing and exporting foods, or meeting supply and demand, Iraqi economy did not thrive.
After a lot of hardship that the country and their citizens faced for many years, the dictator, Saddam Hussein was overthrown. In relation to the political system, this whole war led by United States was aimed to resolve the several problems present in Iraq - including to make it a model democracy based on law -, but instead it just replaced tyranny with anarchy, as well as leading American to further practices violating the laws of war. Currently, the Republic of Iraq is a parliamentary democracy and there is still sectarianism present - the idea of sectarianism refers to narrow minded adherence to a specific sect, meaning sticking to a collective group of people with particular religious beliefs. This concept also speaks to collective identity, as the different sects are equivalent to separate collective identities!
Iraq’s economic development has been correlated with its ability to produce and sell oil. Now, Iraq is the second largest producer of crude oil, and has proved to have the fifth largest crude oil reserves in the world. A government employee Sa’ad al-Shimary mentioned: “Before 2003, Ba’ath Party was everywhere. It was hard to work in such an environment. I feared they might write a report against me, as they always did, if we tried to criticize their work for any reason. I feared I might go to work and not return home.” He also said that back then he had to work extra hours as a taxi driver to pay the bills. Nowadays he is lives with a better quality of life: “Now my salary is enough for me and my family. I have no fear in the ministry. My life has changed for the better; I have more money, and I have a new car.” As you may notice, these are evident changes in this individuals consumer values. Originally, the economic system that was present before 2003 did not allow for this government employee to meet his basic needs and pay his bills. Although with time, as this economic organization changed, his consumer values changed as he was receiving a larger income and was able to meet physiological needs thus able to proceed to the next step of Maslows Hierarchy of need: purchasing other wants like a car!
Key Terms:
* Tyranny: Cruel and oppressive government or rule.
* Anarchy: Absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, resulting in a state of disorder.
* Sects: Groups of individuals with somewhat different religious beliefs from those of a larger group to which they belong.
* Democracy: System of government participated in by all eligible members of the state, typically through elections and representatives.
Works Cited:

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