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SYNOPSIS [18th February,2021] Day 34: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)

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  • February 22, 2021
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Question Compilation, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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SYNOPSIS [18th February,2021] Day 34: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)

 

1. What are the different strands of socialism? Discuss. How did socialism evolve as a politico-economic philosophy? Examine.

Approach

Candidate are expected to write about socialism and its various strands. Question also demands to examine on how socialism evolved as a political economic philosophy.

Introduction

Socialism refers to a set of political ideas that emerged as a response to the inequalities present in, and reproduced by, the industrial capitalist economy. The main concern of Socialism is how to minimise existing inequality and distribute resources justly. Although advocates of socialism are not entirely opposed to the market, they favour some kind of government regulation, planning and control over certain key areas such as education and health care.

Body

Different strands of socialism –

  • Utopian Socialism: One of the earliest forms of socialism founded by the Welsh Spiritualist philosopher Robert Owen. In contrast to later socialist schools of thought which would advocate violent revolution, the Utopians believed that capitalists could be convinced to become socialists purely through rational persuasion
  • Democratic Socialism: Democratic Socialists are arguably the most pragmatic socialists in that instead of demanding immediate market abolition like Marxist-Leninists, Trotskyists and some Libertarian Socialists, they work within the market system from below in order to gently nudge employers to give workers fairer wages.
  • Revolutionary Socialism: Revolutionary socialism is the socialist doctrine that social revolution is necessary in order to bring about structural changes to society. More specifically, it is the view that revolution is a necessary precondition for a transition from capitalism to socialism.
  • Libertarian Socialism: Libertarian Socialism seeks the dismantling of all in just social and economic hierarchies. They generally agree that early attempts at creating socialist societies failed due to their statist nature, viewing statism as a contradiction to the egalitarian values of socialism on the basis that states promote social stratification and class disparities.
  • Fabian Socialism: The Fabians constructed a model of socialism which they claimed could be achieved through a programme of nationalisation and delivery of welfare services directed by national government, with some tasks delegated to local municipalities elected by the people, but with effective control in the hands of those who knew best, the professional classes.
  • Marxism, Leninism, and Maoism: Marxism-Leninism, as the Soviet version of communism is often called, held that urban workers should form the revolutionary vanguard. Mao Zedong, on the other hand, believed that Communist revolutions should gestate among the rural peasantry, who would later join with their proletariat comrades in the cities to form classless paradises.
  • Green socialism: Green socialism is protective of natural resources. Large corporations in a green socialistic society are owned and run by the public. In addition, green socialism promotes the development and use of public transit, as well as the processing and sale of locally grown food. Moreover, the public is guaranteed a sustainable wage.

Emergence of socialism as a political economic philosophy –

  • Industrialisation and capitalism brought benefits as well as hardship to man unemployment, smoky, crowded cities, unhealthy living and working conditions, rivalry and conflict between nations.
  • The-wide gap between the aims of the French Revolution and the actual conditions in France after the revolution created serious discontent among the people. It led to an attempt to overthrow the existing government in France with a view to building a society based on socialist ideas. This attempt, known as Babeufs Conspiracy, is an important event in the history of socialism.
  • Greatest challenge to laissez faire, & to capitalism itself, has come from the idea of socialism, which grew in beginning as a reaction against the evils of capitalism. Ideas of socialism arose as political economic philosophy while recognising the importance of Machines & making them even better, aimed at solving the problems created by capitalism, by building a new social order.
  • The First Communist Manifesto appeared in German in February 1848. The influence of this document in the history of the socialist movement is without a rival. Pioneers Marx and Engels worked in the socialist movement and through their numerous writings, they gave a new direction to socialist ideology and movement. It pointed out that socialism was not merely desirable, but also inevitable.
  • The Second International decided that the socialists should utilise the “economic and political crisis created by the war, to rouse the masses and thereby to hasten the downfall of capitalist rule”. The socialists in many countries had resolved to call for a general strike to prevent their countries from participating in wars.
  • The idea appealed particularly to workers. Through their struggles, they were able to achieve much improvement in their living conditions. Laissez faire doctrine was opposed by many people. Gradually, almost all the countries came to accept the idea that the state has a legitimate right and duty to regulate the economy. This started crystallisation of socialism as political economic philosophy.
  • The idea grew that, capitalism itself is evil and needs to be replaced by a different kind and economic system in which the means a production would be owned by the society as a whole and not by a few individuals.

Conclusion

Though the socialist movement did not succeed in bringing about a socialist revolution in any country in the 19th century, it brought about widespread awareness of the problems created by capitalism and the inadequacies of democracy. It also emerged as a powerful political movement in a number of countries. It was to play an increasingly important role in the coming years all over the world, making socialism, along with democracy and nationalism, the dominating factor in the history of the world in the 20th century.


2. Examine the factors that led to the expansion of communism in Europe.

Approach 

Question is straight forward in nature. Candidate can give timeline of events and factors that led to rise of communism in Europe concluding with disintegration of USSR.

Introduction

During the latter half of the 19th century, various left-wing organisations across Europe continued to campaign against the many autocratic right-wing regimes that were then in power.

Body

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels joined the German Social-Democratic Party which had been created in 1875, but which was outlawed in 1879 by the German government, then led by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who deemed it to be a political threat due to its revolutionary nature and increasing number of supporters. This was a start of communism in Europe.

Factors responsible for rise of communism –

  • At the time, Marxism took off not only in Germany, but it also gained popularity in Hungary, the Habsburg Monarchy and the Netherlands, although it did not achieve such success in other European nations like the United Kingdom, where Marx and Engels had been based.
  • the new political ideology had gained sufficient support that an organisation was founded known as the Second International to unite the various Marxist groups around the world.
  • The devastation of the war resulted in a massive recovery program involving the rebuilding of industrial plants, housing and transportation as well as the demobilization and migration of millions of soldiers and civilians. In the midst of this turmoil during the winter of 1946–1947, the Soviet Union experienced the worst natural famine in the 20th century.
  • Relations with the United States and Britain went from friendly to hostile, as they denounced Stalin’s political controls over Eastern Europe and his blockade of Berlin. By 1947, the Cold War had begun. Stalin himself believed that capitalism was a hollow shell and would crumble under increased non-military pressure exerted through proxies in countries like Italy.
  • The military success of the Red Army in Central and Eastern Europe led to a consolidation of power in communist hands. In some cases, such as Czechoslovakia, this led to enthusiastic support for socialism inspired by the Communist Party and a Social Democratic Party willing to fuse.
  • In other cases, such as Poland or Hungary, the fusion of the Communist Party with the Social Democratic Party was forcible and accomplished through undemocratic means.
  • In many cases, the communist parties of Central Europe were faced with a population initially quite willing to reign in market forces, institute limited nationalisation of industry and supporting the development of intensive social welfare states, whereas broadly the population largely supported socialism.
  • The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was a major challenge to Moscow’s control of Eastern Europe. This revolution saw general strikes, the formation of independent workers councils, and the restoration of the Social Democratic Party as a party for revolutionary communism of a non-Soviet variety. This flowering of dissenting communism was crushed by a combination of a military invasion supported by heavy artillery and airstrikes; mass arrests
  • West Germany and West Berlin were centres of East–West conflict during the Cold War and numerous communist fronts were established. East Germany worked as a front of communist ideology.
  • The Czechoslovak Communist Party began an ambitious reform agenda. The plan to limit central control and make the economy more independent of the party threatened bedrock beliefs. On 20 August 1968, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev ordered a massive military invasion by Warsaw Pact forces that destroyed the threat of internal liberalization.
  • An important trend in several countries in Western Europe from the late 1960s into the 1980s was Eurocommunism. It was strongest in Spain’s PCE, Finland’s party and especially in Italy’s PCI, where it drew on the ideas of Antonio Gramsci.

End of eastern bloc –

  • Social resistance to the policies of communist regimes in Eastern Europe accelerated in strength with the rise of the Solidarity, the first non-communist controlled trade union in the Warsaw Pact that was formed in the People’s Republic of Poland in 1980.
  • Eastern European communist states politically deteriorated in response to the success of the Polish Solidarity movement and the possibility of Gorbachev-style political liberalisation. 
  • The Soviet Union itself collapsed between 1990 and 1991, with a rise of secessionist nationalism and a political power dispute between Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, the new leader of the Russian Federation.

Conclusion

Communism in Europe was at its peak after the end of world war second and during the cold war. But the failed economic and social policies gave rise to new spring of reforms with ideas of liberal west dominating public sphere. After 1980’s communism started declining in Europe and with the fall of berlin wall eventually died its own death.


3. Capitalism has been the primary force shaping the global economy in the post-cold war period. Illustrate.

Approach 

The question is asking you to illustrate it means it asks you to exemplify or to provide examples.

Introduction 

Capitalism is often thought of as an economic system in which private actors own and control property in accord with their interests, and demand and supply freely set prices in markets in a way that can serve the best interests of society.

The political and economic systems of the capitalist USA and communist USSR were incompatible. Both sides wanted countries to conform to their adopted ideologies for their own gains. The Cold War was a political, economic, and military confrontation between capitalism and communism that lasted from 1945 to 1991, but it continues to influence our lives today. The so-called collapse of communism reinforced powerful North American- and Western-European-centred visions which continue to see ‘Western’ models of development or capitalism as the key to modernization world-wide.

Body

CAPITALISM HAS BEEN THE PRIMARY FORCE SHAPING THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IN THE POST COLD WAR PERIOD –

  • The global expansion of capital Post-Cold War Era has had varied effects on the global economy and state relations on a global scale. Undoubtedly the world has experienced significant lowering of trade barriers that historically inhibited cross border transactions.
  • With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the end of the Cold War in 1991, the world became more interconnected. This is because the communist bloc countries, which had previously been intentionally isolated from the capitalist West, began to integrate into the global market economy. 
  • Trade and investment increased, while barriers to migration and to cultural exchange were lowered. 
  • The People’s Republic of China, already having moved towards capitalism starting in the late 1970s and facing public anger after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in Beijing, moved even more quickly towards free market economics in the 1990s. McDonald’s and Pizza Hut both entered the country in the second half of 1990, the first American chains in China aside from Kentucky Fried Chicken which had entered 3 years earlier in 1987. 
  • Stock markets were established in Shenzhen and Shanghai late in 1990 as well. The restrictions on car ownership were loosened in the early 1990s, causing the bicycle to decline as a form of transport by 2000.
  • The move to capitalism has increased the economic prosperity of China, but many people still live-in poor conditions, working for companies for very small pay and in dangerous and poor conditions.
  • After the end of the Cold War, Communism would also end in MongoliaCongoAlbaniaYugoslaviaAfghanistan, and Angola. Today there are only 4 remaining countries in the world ruled by communist single parties: ChinaCubaLaos, and Vietnam.
  • At the same time, economic recovery in the capitalist world, combined with increasingly globalized telecommunications, advertised the West’s advantages far more effectively than any propaganda. It was capitalism’s ability to outpace Soviet growth at key junctures that made ideological victory possible. 

Conclusion

When the Soviet Union collapsed 26 years ago, it was generally agreed that the West had won the Cold War. This was affirmed by the prosperity and possibilities awaiting citizens of Western countries, as opposed to the political and economic stagnation experienced by those in Communist states. A natural conclusion, much repeated at the time, was that capitalism had finally defeated communism.


4. What is your understanding of the term ‘neocolonialism’? Discuss with the help of suitable examples.

Approach

Students are expected to explain the term “neocolonialism” in simple terms. The question is very simple and the student is expected to write the origin, evolution and development of neocolonialism in the word with the help of some examples. 

Introduction

Neocolonialism is a term used by post-colonial critics of developed countries’ involvement in the developing world. The term Neocolonialism can combine a critique of current actual colonialism (where some states continue administrating foreign territories and their populations in violation of United Nations resolutions) and a critique of modern capitalist businesses involvement in nations which were former colonies. Critics of neocolonialism contend that private, foreign business companies continue to exploit the resources of post-colonial peoples, and that this economic control inherent to neocolonialism is akin to the classical, European colonialism practiced from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries.

Body

Definition and Context –

  • Neocolonialism can be described as the subtle propagation of socio-economic and political activity by former colonial rulers aimed at reinforcing capitalism, neo-liberal globalization, and cultural subjugation of their former colonies. In a neocolonial state, the former colonial masters ensure that the newly independent colonies remain dependent on them for economic and political direction. The dependency and exploitation of the socio-economic and political lives of the now independent colonies are carried out for the economic, political, ideological, cultural, and military benefits of the colonial masters’ home states. This is usually carried out through indirect control of the economic and political practices of the newly independent states instead of through direct military control as was the case in the colonial era.

Neocolonialism- The origin and Development –

  • The term neocolonialism first saw widespread use, particularly in reference to Africa, soon after the process of decolonization which followed a struggle by many national independence movements in the colonies following World War II. Upon gaining independence, some national leaders and opposition groups argued that their countries were being subjected to a new form of colonialism, waged by the former colonial powers and other developed nations. Kwame Nkrumah, who in 1957 became leader of newly independent Ghana, expounded this idea in his Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism, in 1965.  Jean Paul Sartre’s Colonialism and Neocolonialism (1964) contains the first recorded use of the term neocolonialism. The term has become an essential theme in African Philosophy, most especially in African political philosophy. In the book, Sartre argued for the immediate disengagement of France’s grip upon its ex-colonies and for total emancipation from the continued influence of French policies on those colonies, particularly Algeria.

 Spread of Neocolonialism –

  • The heavy dependence on foreign aid and the apparent activities of the multinational corporations in Africa reveal that Africa at the beginning of the 21st century is still in a neocolonial stage of development. The activities of the corporations in Africa, particularly those from Europe and America reveal nothing short of economic exploitation and cultural domination. Early 21st century Africa is witnessing neocolonialism from different fronts, from the influences of trans-national corporations from Europe and America to the form of a new imperial China, which many African governments now seem obligated to. The establishment of the multinational corporations, and more recently Chinese interests in Africa through Chinese companies, appear mainly to exist for the benefits of the home economies of the neocolonialists than to infuse local African economies with cash to stimulate growth and increase local capacity.
  • Those who argue that neocolonialism historically supplemented (and later supplanted) colonialism, point to the fact that Africa today pays more money every year in debt service payments to the IMF and World Bank than it receives in loans from them, thereby often depriving the inhabitants of those countries from actual necessities. This dependency, they maintain, allows the International Monetory Fund and World Bank to impose Structural Adjustment Plans upon these nations. Adjustments largely consisting of privatization programs which they say result in deteriorating health, education, an inability to develop infrastructure, and in general, lower living standards.
  • In recent years, the People’s Republic of China has built increasingly stronger ties with African nations. China is currently Africa’s third largest trading partner, after the United States and former colonial power France. As of August 2007, there were an estimated 750,000 Chinese nationals working or living for extended periods in different African countries. China is picking up natural resources—oil, precious minerals—to feed its expanding economy and new markets for its burgeoning enterprises. In 2006, two-way trade had increased to $50 billion.
  • Neocolonialism is also used within other theoretical frameworks.One variant of neocolonialism theory suggests the existence of cultural colonialism, the alleged desire of wealthy nations to control other nations’ values and perceptions through cultural means, such as media, language, education, and religion, purportedly ultimately for economic reasons. One element of this is a critique of “Colonial Mentality” which writers have traced well beyond the legacy of 19th century colonial empires. These critics argue that people, once subject to colonial or imperial rule, latch onto physical and cultural differences between the foreigners and themselves, leading some to associate power and success with the foreigners’ ways. This eventually leads to the foreigners’ ways being regarded as the better way and being held in a higher esteem than previous indigenous ways. 
  • Even the aid, relief and development efforts carried out both by government of the rich North in the poorer South attracts criticism for furthering the agendas of the powerful. For instance, the humanitarian aid in South Sudan, Yemen. 

Conclusion

As a theme of African philosophy, the term neocolonialism became widespread in use—particularly in reference to Africa—immediately the process of decolonization began in Africa.  The widespread use of the term neocolonialism began when Africans realized that even after independence their countries were still being subjected to a new form of colonialism.  The Chinese have not come to Africa to replace the European/U.S neo-colonialists and their neo-liberal economic model of engagement, but rather to offer Africa an alternative model in the form of the so called “Beijing Consensus”. China has found pragmatic ways to legitimize neo-colonialism through multilateralism and cooperation in order to navigate an international regime of norms and institutions that guards statehood and sovereignty. Thus, it has turned to trade and bilateral arrangements in order to enter Africa instead of entering via the barrel of the gun as the Europeans did. Thus, China’s rise to global power requires a correct interpretation of its motivations and methods. The motivations are similar to those of European colonialism, but its methods are strategically different, as trade advantage has been masked by aggressive multilateralism, disguised as mutually beneficially economic cooperation in a pragmatic attempt to navigate a norm driven international system and institutionalized world community. 


5. Examine the concept of ‘internationalism’? Why is it important in the current global context?

Approach

We need to define the concept of ‘internationalism’.  Further we have to mention the importance of ‘internationalism’ in the current global context.

Introduction 

Internationalism is a political principle based on a belief that countries can achieve more advantages by working together and trying to understand each other than by arguing and fighting wars with each other.

Body

  • Supporters of internationalism are known as internationalists and generally believe that humans should unite across national, political, cultural, racial, or class boundaries to advance their common interests, or that governments should cooperate because their mutual long-term interests are of greater importance than their short-term disputes.
  • Internationalism is an important component of socialist political theory, based on the principle that working-class people of all countries must unite across national boundaries and actively oppose nationalism and war in order to overthrow capitalism
  • Most challenges confronting the world and likely to confront it in the future are cross-national in character. They respect no national boundaries and are not amenable to national solutions

Thus, Internationalism is important in the current global context due to following reasons –

  • COVID-19 pandemic: Global Covid death toll crossed 2.43 million still, there is virtually no coordination at the international level to tackle covid pandemic. Addressing UNSC, India urged the international community to stop vaccine nationalism and actively encourage internationalism, underlining that hoarding superfluous doses will defeat global efforts to attain collective health security and combat the pandemic.
  • Economic Revival: The World Bank (WB) baseline forecast envisions a 5.2% contraction in global GDP in 2020, the deepest global recession in decades due to covid pandemic. Recent protectionist tendencies reflected via USA-China, Indo-China trade conflicts and sanctions on Iran, Russia, etc. deepens economic fractures. Internationalism effort like G-20 summit was born in response to the global financial and economic crisis of 2008 and provided a coordinated response that prevented catastrophic damage to the global economy. Such similar effort is needed to ensure inclusive and sustainable economic V-shaped recovery. 
  • Climate Conservation: Sea levels are rising, glaciers are melting and precipitation patterns are changing. Extreme weather events are becoming more intense and frequent. Through comprehensive communication and co-operation we can mitigate ill effects of climate change.
  • Global Peace: Tensions between nuclear powered nations like US, China, Russia, North Korea, India, Pakistan, etc. put world in the brink of mass destruction. Terrorism with its complex and wide spread operations threaten the world peace. Wars in West Asia, Gulf, etc. need a global solution through inclusive and peaceful dialogue.
  • Global Governance: Institutions such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization which are already marginalised may become increasingly irrelevant. United Nation currently works on an outdated global understanding where only five permanent members of UN Security Council (UNSC) wield power to veto crucial decisions. U.N. as the only truly inclusive global platform enjoying international legitimacy despite its failing’s needs reforms to make it more democratic and in line with current global realities.
  • Appreciation to global cultural diversity: Fear of loss of identity due to overriding influence of western culture and influence of other cultures on western culture has caused hate and conflicts. Islam phobia, White Supremacy, etc. highlight divides among the global community. Thus an environment of global solidarity and tolerance can be achieved through internationalism.
  • Technological advances and privacy concerns: Artificial Intelligence, Crypto-currency, big data etc. have caused concerns related to data sovereignty and privacy. Solarwind hack, Zhenhua Data leak, etc. highlight misuse of technology. Thus, a global consensus based agreement is need to safeguard sovereignty on nations and privacy of citizens.

Following are recent initiatives that highlight adherence to the principle of internationalism –

  • Indian initiative in convening leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation nations for a regional collaborative effort on COVID-19 and providing Covid-19 vaccine to global community. India has shipped Made in India’ Covid-19 vaccines to around 25 nations.
  • COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO. Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.
  • Paris Climate deal including intended nationally determined contribution (INDC) and efforts to finalise framework for its working and implementation show a cooperative resolve to tackle climate change.

Conclusion

At the recent The Economic Times Global Business Summit, Indian Prime Minister claimed that the world today is “inter-connected, inter-related and also interdependent” but it has not been able to come on a single platform or frame a Global Agenda, a global goal of how to overcome world poverty, how to end terrorism, how to handle Climate Change issues. Thus internationalism can make us capable to face these challenges together and make us all victorious in near common future

 

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