International Relations Article Review Sample Assignment

Writer and importance

The article is written by Robert A. Schupp and Richard L. Ohlemacher who represent the journal of international affairs. The relevance of the article is to demystify certain issues related shadow economies. It covers the socioeconomic aspects of shadow economies inclusive of the themes that arise from them and the implications on the general masses. The role of consumer and corporate strength of rich nations in the growth of shadow economies is stated and its changes due globalization critically analyzed. The issue of informal economies and connotations used in relation to them are explained and their applicability to the understanding of these economies is indicated. To further understand the problem of shadow economies, the relation between the informal and formal economies and depletion of the state’s financial resources is determined.

Several case studies such as India, Scandinavia and Peru are used to illustrate the changes that can be made on the state resources so as to empower these country’s societies. The article is also meant to identify the relevant government legislations that profit the developing and the developed nations. Lastly, the article investigates the effect of commercial interests on solution of shadow economies; similarities between capitalism and informal economies; understanding of the informal economies and the role of the civil society in resolving complications of the shadow economy. All the above information is based on the views of Noam (Scupp & Ohlemacher, 2000, pp. 1-15).

Supported international relations theories

Based on the questions, asked the author of the article supports realism. According to this theory, power politics run everything in the economy of the nation. Decisions on the problems of solving the shadow economy rest entirely on the government policy options. The author supposes that the government of India should legalize the illegal economic activities in order to benefit from the shadow economy. Moreover, the author says that shadow economy denies the government financial resources necessary to better its services for the people. This seems like defense of realism (Scupp & Ohlemacher, 2000, p. 9).

Key points of the article

The article makes several points related to the already mentioned topics. First the article states that current literature on shadow economy only makes a retail analysis of it rather than tackling it in a wholesale perspective. The instabilities in the prices of commodities play a great role in the eventual farming of illegal commodities. Corporate power influences the shadow economies when organization such as United Nations Conference Trade on and Development (UNCTAD) intervenes in an attempt to stabilize the commodity prices and thus protect the interests of the peasant farmers. It points out that the shadow economy has been affected by the globalization particularly as relates to the predicted fiscal flows, the short-term fiscal flows and the spread of production all over the world. It states that the shadow economy contributes to the depletion of the state funds since tax evasion is a common practice in such an economy and marginalizes the public in certain instances.

Moreover, it states that the creation of opportunities in the Indian market is the only solution to the problems of the existent shadow economy rather than the bringing of illegal activities under government legislation. Government policies such as implementation of UNCTAD suggestions profit the developing or developed countries in the long run. In addition, informal economies relate more closely to capitalism than the formal economies do. In addition it states that the issue of informal economy is least understood due to its technicality. Finally, the article indicates that the civil societies have a role to play in the determination of the solutions due to the shadow economy. Their role is mainly to empower the people by allowing them to have a say in the decisions that affect them directly (Scupp & Ohlemacher, 2000, pp. 1-15).

Theme and summary of the article

The theme of the article is shadow economy. It shows how the shadow economy is affected by politics. For instance, when the government increased the quantity of imports in Columbia, it caused peasant farmers to plant coca which had higher demand and stable prices. It looks at the effects of consumer and corporate power on such an economy and the changes that have characterized it due to globalization such as the entry of politics in the decision making process. Moreover, it explores the usefulness of connotations such as underground market and black market in the understanding of informal economy. All violations of the legislation meant to benefit the powerful leads to a shadow economy. Informal economies deny the state its rightful income and end up marginalizing the citizens. It suggests that what the Indian economy lacks is opportunity which has led to increased shadow economy. Noam proposes certain government policies such as price stabilization that could help both developed and developing countries avoid such an economy. The civil society on the other hand has the role of empowering the people to enable them contribute in decisions that affect them.

International relation theories supported by the article

From the responses, the article advocates for liberalism and institutionalism. This is evidenced by how the author advances positive effects of institutions and the need for the civil societies to empower people to be participative in the formulation of decisions that affect them. Objection is raised against the modification of the legislative structures to help end the shadow economy in India. According to the arguments raised in support of liberalism, this theory seems workable in the modern society (Holsti, n.d, p.3-10).

Critic of the article

The article’s claim on majority of the issues such as the role of consumer, corporates in rich countries and the shadow economy are well supported and could therefore be the truth. The main causes of a shadow economy are usually summarized as taxes, regulations, prohibitions and corruption. The article’s explanation for the lack of availability of information on the details of such activities such as drug dealings, to be the wealth of the participants is a form of corruption. The change of occupation by the peasant farmers due to policy alterations falls both under regulation and taxes. The decisions that led to increased imports in Columbia serve as prohibitions. Therefore, the article implicitly states the causes of a shadow economy.

The later assertion that the government plays a part in the push of people towards shadow economies is entirely true. All the factors that cause shadow economies are under the control of the government except corruption. Though not wholly, the government may also play a part in big corruption cases that end up denying it the required funds through tax evasion. Moreover, for one to gain a clear understanding of the informal economy, all other confusing and related terms must articulately understood. The article clearly states the necessity of comprehension of the related terms such as shadow, gray and underground markets. These are terms closely confused with informal economies. However, the claim that the unstable prices in food crops propel the shadow economy may not be entirely true. Sometimes the farm products may have few returns even when they uphold stable prices but the allure of the good returns from drugs still compel people to engage in these activities.

Other contradictory international relation theories

Constructivism

According to this theory, decisions and choices are made on the logic of obligatory actions. People make their decisions based on what is expected by the normative actions. For instance, when a doctor is confronted by any situation he makes his decision based on what would be expected of a doctor in the present environs (Goldgeier & Tetlock, 2001, p.82). Constructivists make analysis of the international relations by striking a balance between the targets, the threats and social identities of the community in question. This theory can be misleading since it is more conservative. While the liberalism advanced by the article relies on the present knowledge of the beneficiaries pertaining to that issue, the constructivism depends on what has been historically correct. In the long run constructivism causes people to limit themselves to their present situations.

Beneficial advances may be hindered by the sole reason of rejection by the society in question. However, certain social aspects may act as guidelines in establishing the right regulations. For instance, detest of drugs due to their negative effects may help reduce the buildup of the shadow economy in societies that have a negative view drugs negatively. Since, the shadow economy is affected by globalization; it demands solutions that change with globalization which is not characteristic of constructivism (Zehfuss, 2002, p.259).

References

Goldgeier, J. & Tetlock, P. 2001. Psychology of International Relations Theory. Web.

Holsti, O. n.d. Theories of International Relations. Web.

Schupp, R. & Ohlemacher, R. 2000. Marginalizing the masses.

Zehfuss, M. 2002. Constructivism in International Relations: The Politics of Reality. Cambridge: University Press, pp.1-289.

Research The Travel Literature

Introduction

Travel literature is a comprehensive genre that includes various categories, and one of the most popular is travel memoirs. Such works have been widely disseminated among readers who are interested in traveling to exotic countries. Two striking examples of this genre are presented in this work. They both describe journeys to African countries. They have different goals, and the reviews are made from different angles. There are several concepts in these works. These are Self, Other, Home and Place. They are closely interrelated and might seem to be vague. However, it is possible to separate them to give every single one careful consideration. The Self and Other concepts, which stand for self-awareness and otherness, are presented more clearly in these texts. Thus, it is more reasonable to discuss them. The main goal of this paper is to analyze two stories in order to compare the methods of representing the other concept and its connection with the self-concept.

The Comparison Analysis

In the first story, the author, Stanley Stewart, narrates a passionate account of his journey around Ethiopia. He describes its cities, villages, landscape, history and people. The second story by Kira Salak is about sailing down the Niger River in a kayak. It was a highly dangerous enterprise, and the author tells us about various obstacles that she had to overcome to arrive in the ancient city of Timbuktu.

Therefore, the difference between the purposes of the two stories appears to be obvious. The first author is an observer. He came there to immerse himself in the Ethiopian culture. On the other hand, the second author challenged herself and went for the adventure. Thus, they present absolutely different views. It might be seen throughout their works.

Stewart opens his work by highlighting the otherness of Ethiopia. He uses the metaphor “an atlas of the imagination,” referring to its exoticism. The absence of modern hotels and boutiques is presented as a distinguishing characteristic. However, he cheerfully describes the scenery and locals, underlying their peaceful and relaxed nature. The second story starts with a comment about the insanity of the whole enterprise. The beginning of the journey coincides with an “apocalyptic rain.” Salak stated that no one in the village was sure whether she would get to Timbuktu. These facts show the hostility the author was faced with, and it refers to another type of otherness. Everything is extremely different from her hometown, and this difference manifests itself in a negative manner.

Stewart continues his narration by describing the legendary isolation of Ethiopia that makes it different from any other country in Africa. He mentions that Ethiopia was never colonized and even won the famous Battle of Adwa against the Italian army in 1896. The author structures his story in a manner that develops the idea of the otherness of this country. Salak goes on to talk about the difficulties she was going to encounter. All people in the village considered her and her plan to be bizarre and unreasonably dangerous. She had to ignore such an attitude. Her description of the village also reveals her unhappy mood. The author called it “a maze of ancient homes” because it was too strange and alien. She mentioned another traveler who tried to sail along the river but died there. Salak expressed her attitude, which was caused by this unfriendly environment, through such brief comments.

Stewart visits the church of Medhane Alem in Lalibela. He is amazed by its atmosphere, “I seemed to step back a thousand years.” He describes the ancient rite, underlying its weirdness and majesty. That was a mix of Western and Middle Eastern cultures. The sacred sound was “a curious cross between Gregorian plainsong and a nasal Arabic call to prayer.” The author demonstrates the unique religion that unites and inspires the locals. Despite his being impressed by the mysterious contrast, the author feels spiritually satisfied. Salak has to sail in the heavy rain. She is alone and scared of people, wild animals and diseases. The author has to push herself through it to reach her destination. However then, the river has calmed, and Salak enjoys this moment. The scenery made her calm as well. She meets a fisherman with his son. They have never seen a white woman paddling alone down this dangerous river. They are shocked and ask impolite questions. These people make her feel excluded again.

Stewart comes to a stone-built guesthouse in a town named Erar. He highlights its humble, though comfortable, environment. The food is delicious and cannot be compared to Western cuisine. The author is not disappointed by the deprivation of appropriate facilities. Instead of a bathroom, there is just a bucket with water. Stewart enjoys the unique experience. He observes the locals on their own ground. He sees life in its traditional way, and again he is excited by the marvelous landscape. Salak is woken up in the middle of the night. Two thieves try to steal her boat. The author is scared stiff and does not know what to do. Suddenly, she realizes that they are not aware of her gender and her aloneness, and she screams, pretending a man’s voice, to drive them away. Although she succeeds, the feeling of alienation gets more intense. This is not a place fit for her. She is frustrated and depressed, but she has to move on and make the best of the situation.

Conclusion

Salak’s story develops in a harsh manner to highlight her concept of otherness. Finally, she gets to Timbuktu. She made it through hundreds of miles along the savage river. She underwent a debilitating and excruciating experience. After the trip, she concluded that it is a cruel and shocking place. During the whole journey, the author felt the unfriendly and dangerous otherness of this land, which was also emphasized by her sense of self-awareness. Salak positioned herself as an alien, and that perception made her focus on unpleasant moments. She had a desire to antagonize people and nature when she was warned about risks. The author admitted her stubborn character, irrationalism and other negative traits. Hence, it is logical to assume that such features affected her vision of the whole enterprise.

On the other hand, Steward was eager for new discoveries, disregarding their possible consequences. Hence, the otherness he was faced with excited and galvanized him. The connection between such a perception and the sense of self-awareness of the author might be seen in the description of the church on the top of a cliff. He stated that the way there was unbearable terrifying. However, when Steward climbed to the top, he admitted that the ominous uniquity of the church was emphasized by his personal fears not the real nature of this sacred place.

Therefore, the two authors present the other concept in opposite ways. Although they employ similar literary devices, the main ideas are totally different. However, expressing their views and structure of the texts help to develop the main concepts and reveal the connection between them.

“China’s Population Destiny: The Looming Crisis” By Wang Feng

This article explores the untouched element of the Chinese population, which remains a monumental topic. The article indicates that many people have focused on China’s rise economic growth that places it among other leading economies of the world, including the U.S., and the United Kingdom. While it is arguable that the Chinese economy captures the attention of many observers, the author notes that a major component of population structure has received limited attention within the cycles of country analysis. This paper seeks to explore the author’s main argument by drawing from the analysis. This exercise intends to analyze the article based on several elements, including the soundness of the thesis, the nature of the research (primary or secondary), and the style of the research. The final component will offer recommendations useful for the interested readers.

The author notes that the ever-growing complexity of China’s population structure poses a massive challenge to the country’s future economic face. For instance, the author asserts that while the country has made strategic gains in growing its economy, the future characterized by an increasingly old age population creates an irreversible challenge, thus presenting a crisis to the country’s economic model. In this regard, the eminent population challenges, including an explosion in numbers, aging population projected to reach 300 million by 2030 from the current 60 million among other features present challenges to the political legitimacy.

The analysis of the article, however, examines the article within the lens of the evidence provided to underpin the author’s argument. While it may be critical to assess the article to determine its practicability, it is critical to offer a summary of the main argument presented by the author. The article provides suggestive evidence of events and items that challenge China’s future economic progress in line with the current developments. The author asserts that while China’s economy may seem to promise now, the current demographic signals spell doom for its future success. The author notes that although the country remains the world’s largest populated country, its demographic dynamics, and the degree to which they are changing are ones to reckon. Historically, the country has enjoyed ready and cheap labor from its large population, which caused an uninterrupted supply of young population into the labor force.

However, the author notes that while this economy may still be evident, its significance continues to decline at the fastest rate. The author asserts that the era of easy and cheap supplies has ended because the country experiences dramatic growth in the old population, which is projected to hit a phenomenal figure of 300 million by the end of 2030. It is worth noting that while population growth and change in structure may be detrimental to the country; factual analysis demonstrates that the economic cost of sustaining this structure is highly unbearable to the country.

This review explores the extent to which the author’s thesis is appropriately structured and defended founding a valid discussion free of fallacies and negativities drove by bias.

The effectiveness of an argument allows the author to make a valid judgment to underpin the main argument. While an author must establish grounds for the main argument, he or she must be able to show a feasible relationship between elements underpinning the argument. Analyzing the article, the author begins to utilize a well-structured background to help a reader to understand the topic. The author has further moved on to establish a close relationship between the fundamentals of population and how they threaten the economic gains, which the country has made over the last few decades. For instance, the article demonstrates that the growing population of old people in the country at a jet-light speed continues to rob the country of its undisrupted supply of cheap and easy labor from its traditional young age. While the productivity of a country is pegged on the value created by its labor force, conventional knowledge shows that China will not only suffer a blow in labor supply but also stretch its spending to cater to the burdensome old age.

The author’s analysis of the topic does not occur in the light of reference materials that authenticate the study. Therefore, while the author has articulated the research topic, the presentation remains within the province of unscholarly materials because it lacks documentation of supportive sources. The author’s argument has utilized background secondary sources to highlight the topic of research. This is evident from the fact that the author did not conduct primary research such as surveys, case studies to explain China’s looming crisis presented by the changing population structures.

This analysis establishes that while the author has formed a systematic argument, the inability to use referenced sources fails to make the article authoritative. Therefore, readers must be ready to reach out for other scholarly materials to supplement the article to allow for conclusive findings and arguments. While the article has a systematic and logical arrangement, it may require more concrete analysis using primary sources to benefit the readers and fill the literature gaps in the field.

Work cited

Feng, Wang. “China’s Population Destiny: The Looming Crisis.” University of California Press, 2010, Web.

error: Content is protected !!