GEOG World Geography- M03: Discussion 3
After reading Chapter 3, please respond to the following:
Briefly describe South America's future prospects? Also, should China's growing involvement in South America be a cause of concern for the United States?
‘South America’s prospects are immense. Each region within this realm has unique advantages that it can capitalize on to make a better future in the coming years and decades. Economic Diversification will be crucial in many of these places to prosper and decrease widespread poverty. One of the issues that the book lays out is the dependence on exports of raw materials. While this can certainly be lucrative, it is dangerous for it to be the primary business because the price and demand for these materials can fluctuate significantly. Another area that many South American nations will need to focus on is maintaining stable governments. We see that in so many countries, a volatile government can hurl even the most prosperous nations into turmoil. One example would be Argentina and how at the turn of the 20th century its capital, Buenos Aires, was nicknamed “Paris of the South”. It was one of the wealthiest countries and a cultural hub, but political turmoil has caused it to lose much of its once touted grandeur. The future, however, does not need to look like the past. Already, we are seeing huge progress in cities like Medellin, which only a few short years ago was home to one of the biggest drug cartels in history and dubbed the “murder capital of the world”. But now it has turned around and become a model city for “innovative urban design”. It isn't perfect by any means, but there has been significant progress. I think that South America will see major leaps of progress as the shackles of colonialism are left farther in the past.
As for the involvement of China in South America, I think there is definitely a cause for concern. Not because China will take away trade from the United States, but because of the motive of China's involvement. In recent years China has been very invested in developing countries throughout Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America. This often is seen as a good thing in the short term as they agree to finance projects in these nations through loans. The catch is that when nations are unable to repay China, it gives China significant leverage over them. These “debt traps”, as they are called, are providing China both economic and political power in the long run and could set China up to be an unrivaled world superpower in the future. This would cause concern in the U.S. as the political ideologies of the United States and China to differ greatly and could cause unbalance in world politics.
Shin, Michael. Jan Nijman. Peter O. Muller. M. Geography: Realms, Regions, and Concepts. Wiley Global Education US, 2019.