Democracy Meets Socialism

Hafsah

Hafsah

Writer. A Caffeine dependent life-form. Original Hopeful Rational Inquisitive IngeniousPhotographer Sailor Philosopher Happy. Serial Chips and Salsa Eater.Curious and ambitious. In-between sofa cushions.
Hafsah

Latest posts by Hafsah (see all)

Democracy: Giving power to the masses. It was a doomed sick love story right from the start. We’ve all heard the story of how Democracy grew up and met socialism. Democracy and socialism had a child called communism. To put this into perspective, democracy is giving power to the masses. Democracy is a fundamental part of societies today, but what happens when democracy fails and meets socialism. Communism has been viewed as a disaster, but what if communism a popular belief is coming back revolutionized and better than ever before. What if a new type of democracy is evolving? I call it the communist democracy.

Who is Karl Marx?

To understand Marxism it’s  imperative to understand the time and era in which Karl Marx was born. He was born in 1818, it was the beginning of the world as we see it today.

The French revolution had occurred  30 years back and cries of  ‘Liberty’ ‘Equality’ and ‘Freedom’ was still fresh. It was also the time of Industrial Revolution and capitalism had just replaced feudalism. Marx was influenced by the idea of French Revolution. His growth was marked by rapid industrialization and capitalism had become a dominant economic system in Europe. He also saw the horrific condition in which workers lived. Marx saw them toiling for more than 12 hours a day but still managing to earn just enough to sustain themselves. He observed that capitalism had benefited only few section of society and came to conclusion that though the French revolution hadoverthrown feudalismm but capitalism had not been able to fulfill the promise of equality and freedom.He saw society being divided into haves and haves not.It was master and slaves (slavery system) after that lord and serf (feudalism) and now bourgeoisie and proletariat.

Because of his radical idea, he was thrown from Germany and subsequently from many countries until he got asylum in England. He worked as a reporter for New York Tribune and covered American Civil War publishing many articles. He immersed himself in studying all the important economic and political philosophers before him like Adam Smith, David Ricardo, James Mill etc. Marxism emphasized on one thing which his predecessors missed i.e  LABOUR.
Now coming to Marxism which is fundamentally based on principles of class struggle, historical materialism, dialectical materialism, alienation and theory of surplus value.

Karl Marx – Revolutionary or Evolutionary?

If you look around you. The masses of people are stuck in this cycle of poverty they can’t get out of. I guess capitalism was a victim of it’s own success. Karl Marx would be turning in his grave if he found out what was going on around the world today.  Karl Marx was left wing and extremely communist. He found a model that was revolutionary and the popular despised idea of communism is a popular belief coming back to societies and is now seen as the way forward. Let me introduce you to UK politics. There’s two main parties – The Labour Party (which has gone extremely left wing under Corbyn) and The Conservative Party (which is currently right wing under Theresa May). Then there’s the other parties like The Green Party  and The liberal democrats (whose recent leaked manifesto stated that they would fund the UK economy by legalizing marijuana, but that’s a story for another day)

Corbyn’s Socilaist Manifesto

Jeremy Corbyn. A man in UK politics who is evolutionary. Revolutionary. Extraordinary. A man true to his word. A man who is very much a Marxist. Details of a draft version of Labour’s pitch to the country have leaked, with Jeremy Corbyn’s party hoping to make manifesto commitments to part-nationalise some public utilities and to make funds available for social care. His manifesto was leaked and it was found:

  1. Respect the Brexit referendum result and give a meaningful vote on any deal to parliament. EU citizens living in the UK would have their rights guaranteed unilaterally. Theresa May’s Brexit white paper would be replaced with a plan that aims to retain the benefits of the customs union and single market.
  2. Bring parts of the energy industry into public ownership and introduce a local, socially owned energy firm in every area. Also introduce an “immediate emergency price cap” to make sure dual fuel bills stay below £1,000 a year.
  3. Nationalize the railways.
  4. Phase out tuition fees.
  5. Make more funds available for childcare and social care.
  6. Retain the Trident nuclear deterrent. A sentence from earlier drafts saying that a prime minister should be “extremely cautious” about using a weapon that would kill “millions of innocent civilians” has been removed.
  7. Place “peace, universal rights and international law” at the heart of foreign policy, while committing to spend 2% of GDP on defense, as required by Nato.
  8. Make zero-hours contracts illegal.
  9. Build 100,000 new council houses per year.
  10. Complete HS2 from London to Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, and Scotland.
  11. Borrow £250bn to invest in infrastructure but stick to the fiscal credibility rule to balance day-to-day spending. Also, raise taxes for people earning more than £80,000 and reverse corporation and inheritance-tax cuts.
  12. Insulate homes of disabled veterans for free.
  13. Extend the right to abortion to Northern Ireland.
  14. Oppose a second Scottish referendum.
  15. Lower the voting age to 16.
  16. Employ 1,000 more border guards.
  17. Recognise the benefit that immigrants have brought but introduce fair rules and reasonable management, working with employers that need to recruit from abroad but deterring exploitation.
     

Money. Money. Money?

But the question we find ourselves asking is just exactly where is Corbyn going to get all this money to fund this beautiful disaster? Many countries like Germany now run a budget surplus. They’ve done pretty well compared to the aftermath of the world wars.

Germany became the first member the euro-zone to sell 10-year government bonds at a negative yield—which is to say, investors paid for the privilege of lending Berlin money for an entire decade. If someone were to purchase and hold these bonds to maturity, they would get back less cash than they originally invested.

This is not how bond markets work when all is well and fine in the world. In sane times, lenders are supposed to get paid. But government bond yields have been plummeting all around the globe, as nervous investors have looked for relatively safe places to put their money in what feels like an uncertain economic moment (when bond prices rise, the interest they pay stays the same, so their yields fall). Citi recently reported that about one third of all developed nation debt is offering negative yields. Amazingly, yields on Switzerland’s 50-year bonds recently fell below zero. The key point about Wednesday’s news is that Germany auctioned off this debt off itself. Most data we see on bond yields reflect the price on the secondary market—they’re for old debt that investors buy and sell between one another. This time, the German government is borrowing itself, and for nothing.
 Germany is not the first country to pull off this particular party trick. Switzerland sold negative-yielding 10-year bonds in 2015. Japan also did it this year. Meanwhile, Germany and other European countries have previously sold off shorter-term debt at negative yields.

Democracy and socialism

Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically—to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few. To achieve a more just society, many structures of our government and economy must be radically transformed through greater economic and social democracy so that ordinary Americans can participate in the many decisions that affect our lives.

Democracy and socialism go hand in hand. All over the world, wherever the idea of democracy has taken root, the vision of socialism has taken root as well—everywhere but in the United Kingdom. Because of this, many false ideas about socialism have developed in the UK.

Does Democratic Socialism mean that the government runs everything?

Democratic socialists do not want to create an all-powerful government bureaucracy. But we do not want big corporate bureaucracies to control our society either. Rather, we believe that social and economic decisions should be made by those whom they most affect.

Today, corporate executives who answer only to themselves and a few wealthy stockholders make basic economic decisions affecting millions of people. Resources are used to make money for capitalists rather than to meet human needs. We believe that the workers and consumers who are affected by economic institutions should own and control them.

Democratic socialists have long rejected the belief that the whole economy should be centrally planned. While we believe that democratic planning can shape major social investments like mass transit, housing, and energy, market mechanisms are needed to determine the demand for many consumer goods.

Hasn’t socialism been discredited by the collapse of Communism in the USSR and Eastern Europe?

Socialists have been among the harshest critics of authoritarian Communist states. Just because their bureaucratic elites called them “socialist” did not make it so; they also called their regimes “democratic.” Democratic socialists always opposed the ruling party-states of those societies, just as we oppose the ruling classes of capitalist societies. We applaud the democratic revolutions that have transformed the former Communist bloc. However, the improvement of people’s lives requires real democracy without ethnic rivalries and/or new forms of authoritarianism. Democratic socialists will continue to play a key role in that struggle throughout the world.

Won’t socialism be impractical because people will lose their incentive to work?

We don’t agree with the capitalist assumption that starvation or greed are the only reasons people work. People enjoy their work if it is meaningful and enhances their lives. They work out of a sense of responsibility to their community and society. Although a long-term goal of socialism is to eliminate all but the most enjoyable kinds of labor, we recognize that unappealing jobs will long remain.

These tasks would be spread among as many people as possible rather than distributed on the basis of class, race, ethnicity, or gender, as they are under capitalism. And this undesirable work should be among the best, not the least, rewarded work within the economy. For now, the burden should be placed on the employer to make work desirable by raising wages, offering benefits and improving the work environment. In short, we believe that a combination of social, economic, and moral incentives will motivate people to work.

Just what do you think?

How the United States justice system is flawed

Hafsah

Hafsah

Writer. A Caffeine dependent life-form. Original Hopeful Rational Inquisitive IngeniousPhotographer Sailor Philosopher Happy. Serial Chips and Salsa Eater.Curious and ambitious. In-between sofa cushions.
Hafsah

Latest posts by Hafsah (see all)

Justice. The truth, however, is that the court system is flawed in just about every way imaginable. The courts are in the practice of handing out punishments – not justice – which generally work to oppress our country’s racial minority and impoverished people. Law and the legal system is supposed to evolve with the times. Are we stuck in the medieval times?

How is the system flawed?

  • The UK VS the USA:  In the UK, the prosecution (The prosecution is the legal party responsible for presenting the case in a criminal trial against an individual accused of breaking the law) cannot threaten the suspect and give them more aggressive charges if the person does not plead guilty of a crime but wants to go on trial to prove innocence.  In America, however, this is just standard practice. The idea behind our justice system is that everyone gets his or her day in court, but that is rarely how things play out anymore. In many instances, maintaining your innocence is considered a dumb move because the potential punishment is so hefty. In most cases, people plead guilty and take a lesser punishment regardless of their culpability because the risks of losing at trial is far too risky. How is that justice?
  • Unfair arrests: In the U.S., African Americans are six times and Latinos are 3 times more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts. Before you blame it all on behavior, police seem to disproportionately target certain people for arrests. Despite similar drug usage rates, black people are four times more likely to be arrested on marijuana charges. Moreover, punishments are not allocated equally. On average, judges sentence black convicts to 20% more jail time than white people who committed the same crime. How do you help convince a country that black and brown people are dangerous criminals? By disproportionately locking them up more often and longer to reinforce the idea that they are criminals.
  • Prisons are a business: Why does the U.S. have the world’s highest incarceration rate? As usual in this country, follow the money for the answer. Over the years, prisons have gone from a state-run entity to a private enterprise. Since maximizing profits for this industry requires stuffing as many bodies into the jails as possible, that means the demand for new inmates is always high. We can’t expect justice to be served when rich people have a financial interest in seeing more people locked up.
  • Plea deals?: Those who can’t afford a defense are supposed to be afforded a public defender attorney, but that is not always provided. There are documented cases of people being offered an immediate plea “deal” if they agree to not request council. The poor lawyers who agree to serve as public defenders are underpaid and overworked, and often lack the time and resources to adequately mount an effective case against the state’s prosecution. A great new HBO documentary, Gideon’s Army, portrays just how unviable the system is for everyone involved.
  • Justice is dead: With pressure from the state to obtain convictions, prosecutors are forced to play a game where being on the winning side is more important than being on the right side. Somewhere in this process, the idea of finding justice is lost. Prosecutors should be tasked with presenting a fair case, not attempt to win at any cost, particularly when “winning” may mean a potentially innocent person’s freedom is at stake.
  • A judges conscience: Think legislators are the only elected officials whose positions have been compromised by the Citizens United decision and the subsequent need to appeal to campaign donors? Think again: state judges (who decide 95% of the country’s court cases) are subject to the same warped system. 38 states require its top judges to run for office, and since voters generally knows little about its judicial candidates, the winner is usually the person who spends the most to get his or her (usually his) name out there. This leaves judges beholden to their private interest campaign financiers, which has unsurprisingly led to a surge of decisions in favor of corporations rather than individuals.

The Innocence Project

Every single man, woman and child in this country could easily be accused, tried and condemned in a “circumstantial evidence” case. As a result they could spend a lifetime attempting to prove their innocence. I call it the monster of deception. These laws are designed to prosecute guilty people. The law assumes that once a defendant is found guilty by a judge and jury in a circumstantial evidence case that its job is entirely finished. It is also designed to disallow any defendant a meaningful appeal of his or her guilty verdict. Circumstantial evidence laws assume that all doubts of innocence are erased once a person has been tried and convicted. Lawmakers created this monster in the hope of keeping the guilty behind bars. But what if you are innocent?

After 14 years on Florida’s death row, Frank Lee Smith died of cancer in January 2000, before he was exonerated of rape and murder. The DNA results not only cleared Smith of the crime, but also identified the true perpetrator, Eddie Lee Mosley.  According to the Innocence Project, 311 people in U.S. history, 18 of whom were sentenced to the death penalty, have been freed after DNA evidence proved them innocent. The average DNA exoneree has served 13.6 years behind bars.  So are prisons really corporations that need to change?

Holmes, a renowned investigator of crime, once remarked, “Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing. It may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different.”

Circumstantial evidence

Circumstantial evidence is not direct evidence from a witness who saw or heard something. It is not a cut and dried fact. There is no DNA or real eyewitness testimony to help prove guilt or innocence in a case. Instead circumstantial evidence is indirect evidence that gives prosecutors leeway to actually invent allegations. These allegations are manufactured to attempt to persuade a jury that the defendant is guilty. The prosecutor can imply that something happened, but he or she cannot directly prove that it happened. It is a chain of events or facts (usually manufactured in a clever prosecutor’s mind) designed to help a jury determine the innocence or guilt of the accused.

Circumstantial evidence is generally admissible in court unless the connection between the fact and the inference is too weak to help in deciding the case. Prosecutors are well schooled in the deceit and lack of conscience their job involves. Many convictions for various crimes rest solely on circumstantial evidence.

What if you are innocent of the charges but the jury finds that you are guilty despite this fact? The real question is how can you prove your innocence? History shows that circumstantial evidence cases get very complex because of the webs of deceit spun by a wily prosecutor determined to sway a jury his or her way to gain a conviction. This has a devastating impact on the middle class and the poor who cannot afford adequate legal counsel. As the case becomes more complex the cost of defending yourself against a false allegation grows impossibly expensive. Would you like to spend your life savings trying to defend yourself against a false allegation? That’s assuming you have a large savings account.

The Supreme Court ruling: K.T. Thomas and R.P Sethi

The Supreme Court ruled that that in a number of cases where direct evidence is scanty that circumstantial evidence plays an important role. Justices K.T. Thomas and R.P Sethi ruled during a criminal murder case appeal that circumstantial evidence, furnished by the prosecution, can be used to convict, provided that the evidence is so complete that it leaves no doubt about the guilt of the accused. The judges ruled that the circumstances relied upon by the prosecution must be clearly established. The truth of the matter is that most of the allegations against a person in a circumstantial evidence case is never clearly established.

This ruling appears biased in favor of the prosecution. It is clearly unfair to someone who is innocent and whose conviction rests solely on a collection of cleverly crafted circumstantial evidence. The false allegations from the Prosecutor can come from his or her own personal need to gain a conviction. Furthermore, the laws are written in such a way to keep anyone convicted on circumstantial evidence from actually receiving an appeal. Any appeals that may be filed by an innocent person are basically futile because the Supreme Court constantly rules against them. As a result of this the innocent person in prison could be denied the right to a new trial. The laws that currently protect a circumstantial evidence conviction can and does impede true justice.

If I am innocent how can I prove that I am not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? The answer is that you cannot. Your entire future depends on the decision that twelve people will have to make. They do not know anything about you except what they have read in the newspapers or heard on the news. Prosecutors use the press to help win their cases. Are juries fallible? The answer is, of course they are. Human beings from all walks of life are subjected to serving on a jury. Twelve people who do not know you decide the course of your life forever.

The facts are that a jury doesn’t really know if a defendant actually committed a crime. In many cases, the prosecution doesn’t even know. Mainly because of media pressure which in turn causes public outcry; these cases become equivalent to a circus act. The police and prosecuting attorneys fall under pressure because it is a part of their jobs to ensure that someone pays for a crime committed. A mean-spirited and contentious prosecutor can allege that any number of things happened and they use any means available to them to gain a conviction. What is inherently frustrating about a circumstantial evidence case is that it has the legal ability to convince a jury that an innocent defendant is guilty.

The jury has a legal obligation to carefully examine the evidence presented to it. The first question should be, Is the fact possible? If so, are there any circumstances that could render it impossible? If the facts are impossible then the jury should find the defendant innocent or guilty based on what they conclusively know. What we do know is that the real truth rarely comes out in a courtroom.

Often the defendant’s rights are greatly compromised by the way different states place limitations on their rights of disclosure. Most states do not allow disclosure in a criminal case. This can impede true justice because if a defendant had disclosure rights they would have the right to depose any witnesses who plan to testify against him or her. This would allow the defendant to collaborate more meaningfully with their attorneys and this could greatly help an innocent defendant prove his or her innocence. In most states, a person bringing a civil suit in a car accident, for example, has more discovery rights than a person who may face the death penalty or a long period of incarceration.

Discovery rights should be allowed in all criminal cases. If an innocent person could have the equal rights of discovery in a criminal case, it would eliminate any surprises the defendant may face in the courtroom. By limiting the defendant’s rights of discovery, it proves that most states actually value monetary case settlements over criminal cases that involve our most basic rights under the Constitution. These are the rights to pursue life and to have our liberty. The case eventually ends up in the hands of twelve people who have to decide who has presented the best argument for the innocence or guilt of the defendant. They deliberate by asking the questions: Who presented the best argument? Was it the defense or the prosecution?

Jurors are not legal experts. Jurors come from varied backgrounds and from all walks of life. They are human beings who can make mistakes. But the question begs asking, if jurors are not allowed to vote their consciences, how can they possibly pass judgment on another human being who may be innocent? The jury selection process needs improvement as well. Prosecutors and attorneys intentionally rule out anyone who has had any contact with the legal system. They want jurors who are uninformed and who will believe the tales invented by the prosecution. The truth is that most jurors lack the ability to decide the case based on factual evidence.

As children we are taught that the USA haS the best legal system in the world. It has some flaws, but it is the best in the world. I no longer believe that true justice exists. If the system is the best in the world, why are we sending innocent people to prison? And if an innocent person is convicted, why are we denying them the right to appeal their sentences? I vote to abolish the practice of allowing the legal system to ruin our lives by continuing to incarcerate the innocent. A new approach needs to be made and fast too.

Source: Lectic Law Library (http://www.lectlaw.com/)

Steps To Poverty Alleviation In India

Step foot (carefully) on the streets of the Delhi megalopolis and you’ll find an explosion of colour and a cacophony of all sorts of weird and wonderful noises. In some ways, it’s the archetypal developing city, with disorganised shops lying around in wide, bending alleyways that look almost as if they’re the fruits of a child’s imagination. In others, however, Delhi has its own unique aura, the quintessential, all-encompassing Indian tinge that has had foreigners from the Mughals to the British flocking like flies to its soil throughout history.

Despite this, however, there is an elephant in the room, lying wearily beneath the glitz and glamour of a hugely unequal and somewhat segregated Indian society. You probably already know what it is: poverty. 2012 Indian government projections suggest that 21.9% of the Indian population are below its official poverty limit – to put that into context, it means that almost 1 in 4 Indians are affected by the scourge of poverty. Despite substantial amounts of aid being given to the Asian country to help solve the problem, it’s not even remotely close to going away at all. This is because of deep and wide-ranging problems in the framework of poverty alleviation projects in India, one of which is information failure in the microfinance sector leading to excessively high interest rate loans.

Primarily in Indian rural communities, a large problem with regards to supplying loans to low-income  households is that loans are advertised at lower interest rates than they are in reality. Given the relative lack of education in these areas, exploitative moneylenders can easily demand money unlawfully from families, citing a higher interest rate than the borrowing family had initially thought. Hence, this asymmetric information between lenders and borrowers, combined with the high operational costs of face-to-face lending to these communities in the first place, results in interest rates that frequently reach levels above 50%. To combat this, it’s logical that the government could introduce subsidies for microfinance institutions to reduce overall costs, thereby resulting in the pushing down of interest rates through the competition of the free market mechanism (the sheer numbers of microfinance institutions involved makes this method viable for application).

Furthermore, the Indian government could make efforts to introduce a database of sorts for each rural community, spearheaded by a government-appointed official, detailing each microfinance institution and the details of the loans that they are providing to people in these communities, decreasing the potential for exploitation of borrowers. Given that corruption is such a prevalent problem within almost every Indian institution that exists, deterrents such as substantial jail sentences should be given to anyone exploiting the system, along with many avenues for which people to complain about unjustly high interest rates without fear. Obviously, this wouldn’t solve the problem entirely, but it would go a long way to decrease interest rates and therefore provide a more sustainable alternative revenue stream for families starting businesses on the back of this loan.

Moreover, while children going to school and sitting in classes matters, the end goal of all of this is for them to have an education, gaining transferable skills which they can take to work, boosting the standard of living for themselves, their families, and the wider community. In India, however, while the number of children going to school has been increasing, the number of people getting an education is a greatly different story. In 2009, India ranked 73rd out of 74 countries sampled with regards to the extent of the children’s knowledge regarding various subject matters, indicating that although children are going to school, they are actually not learning very much at all.

This is in part because teachers believe that they can get away with not working as hard as possible to educate their students, due to no system of rewards or punishments being in place to provide either positive or negative incentives to teach. Therefore, what I propose is as follows: establish a more rigorous, practical system of testing for Indian children by an independent organisation to each class in schools, with positive incentives in the form of bonuses being paid to teachers whose class performs significantly well. Due to negative incentives promoting negativity and eventual apathy in the school environment, it would be unnecessary to include them with the same frequency as positive incentives, however if a teacher’s class has been doing badly for a sustained period of time, they should take a compulsory training class and be forced to accept a decrease in wages, or leave the school entirely. To make the whole system fair, classes should be allocated based on a test conducted to determine each student’s aptitude when they enter the school, making sure that the aptitude levels of each class are relatively similar. Whilst there is no suggestion here regarding how to make more children go to school, this is because it is already happening in India on a large scale, and so therefore we now must focus on how to maximise learning from going to school itself, in order to pull more and more families out of poverty.

Infrastructure has developed hugely in India since the pro-market reforms of 1991; nowadays in India, people have more opportunities than ever before due to more alternative routes to success. However, despite this, the lack of aspiration shown by some of the poorest people in India has continued on from previous years; they feel that high profile, white collar jobs that can pull their family out of poverty are out of their reach. This is because if the poor’s attempts to find a source of income do not work out, the loss that they could have faced both in time and monetary value could cripple them further than they already have been. While there is no silver bullet to fix this problem, the only way in which it could be somewhat ameliorated is through exposing the poor in these communities to people who have succeeded in the past.

There is the potential that the effects of supplying information through media to these communities could have little to no effect, as the potential consequences of failing are so crippling. Hence, it is important to focus on other reforms so that people are more and more exposed to others who have succeeded, and the idea is that the allure of success would eventually drive some people to take risks, catapulting them out of the poverty trap. The most difficult thing about this process is the start; once we have a start, there will be a virtuous cycle, hence the burning need to focus on other ways in which to overcome the Indian obstacles to growth.

While growth continues in India at a breakneck pace, the most important thing now for the country is to increase the quality of living of the poorest within society. That can only be done through overcoming inherent obstacles; maybe, just maybe, once we’ve beaten these, growth and prosperity will increase like never before.

What do you think? Please leave a comment below with your thoughts, whether you’ve been attracted or repulsed by my propositions.

Which Waves Of Immigration Have Been Most Beneficial To the United States?

David McDonald

David McDonald

David is a 19-year-old Canadian student currently attending the University of Guelph. He currently studies Public Management and economics with hopes of one day becoming an accomplished journalist. David enjoys reporting on global events and actively try to make a difference in the world.
David McDonald
There have been four major ‘waves’ of immigration coming into the United States Of America since it’s independence. However, I’d have to say that the most recent wave of immigration has been the most beneficial to the American economy due to three reasons:
  • Increased US population Diversity: America still needs diversity to overcome underlying racial barriers that continue to stunt their economic, cultural, and social growth.
  • Help boost overall economic productivity: In short, immigrants don’t take jobs away, they help create jobs. Immigrants start up businesses and bring economic diversity to the States, which have helped US maintain economic stability for centuries.
  • Immigrants help boost local economies: Immigrants help increase demand for local goods and services, and they tend to move into underprivileged neighbourhoods and help bring these areas out of poverty.

THE FIRST WAVE: 1607-1830

Total Immigrants: approximately 1.2 million

From the first Colonial settlements in Jamestown and Plymouth, America grew quickly from an estimated population of 250,000 in 1700 to an estimated 2.5 million in 1775, when the Revolution began, to a population of 9.6 million in the 1820 census.

THE SECOND WAVE: 1830s-1880s

Total Immigrants: 15.3 million.

As the population of the United States exploded from 13 million to 63 million between 1830 and 1890, a second wave of immigrants landed in America. The port of entry for the vast majority of these people was New York City. From 1855 on, arrivals were processed at Castle Garden, the first immigration center established by New York State.

THE THIRD WAVE: 1890s-1920s

Total Immigrants: 22.3 million

The population of the USA increased from 63 million in 1890 to 106 million in 1920, as immigration hit its peak. For three decades after 1890, an annual average of 580,000 immigrants arrived on American shores, and 1907 set a record of 1.3 million newcomers in a single year. On the eve of World War I, the foreign-born had swollen to 15% of the US population. With 75% of Third Wave immigrants coming through the Port of New York, the old state immigration center, Castle Garden, was overwhelmed. This led to the construction of the first federal immigration center, Ellis Island, which served as the main port of entry for American immigration from 1898 to 1924.

THE FOURTH WAVE: 1965-Today

Total Immigrants: estimated 30+ million

US Population: 315 million+

The current wave of immigration is by far the largest in American history in absolute numbers: over 30 million legal immigrants have entered over the last four decades, supplemented by an illegal immigration of anywhere from 8 to 20 million. Primarily from Latin America and Asia.

The Fourth Wave is revitalizing and reshaping American society. As in the past, as the number of immigrants has grown it has produced a new anti- immigrant backlash and a debate about our immigration laws.

By looking at just the sheer numbers, it’s easy to say that the current wave of immigration coming from Latin America has arguably been the most beneficial to the United States for numerous reason.

Reasons for Increased Immigration

“Push Factors” that drove Fourth Wave immigrants from their native countries included:

  • rising population pressures,
  • the intense poverty of Third World countries, and
  • government repression.

These forces combined with the pull of US economic opportunity and freedom to spur the Fourth Wave of immigration. At the same time that America began opening its doors to immigrants again the introduction of jet aircraft which could cross oceans in a few hours greatly decreased the cost and difficulty of travel: a far cry from the terrifying weeks spent on cramped boats by the early immigrants.

Contemporary immigration has increased steadily because it is mostly “chain immigration,” in which recent immigrants use the family preferences in the immigration law to sponsor other members of their families; the more immigrants who come here the more family members become eligible and the overall quota is increased. As of 2006, the US accepts more legal immigrants as permanent residents than the rest of the world combined.

Where Fourth Wave Immigrants Come From

The Fourth Wave is the most diverse ever, with over 80% of immigrants coming from Latin America and Asia, bringing with them a veritable kaleidoscope of cultural traditions.

Fourth Wave Immigrants have come to the US to escape Communist dictatorships (Cubans, Vietnamese, and Chinese) and civil wars (Salvadorans). Most have come in search of economic opportunity (Filipinos, Dominicans, and Indians). All these groups, together with the Irish (the only traditional source that continued to supply large numbers of immigrants) today have more than a million of their countrymen now living in the US, along with an estimated nearly 10 million Mexicans.

Why The Fourth Wave Of Immigration Has Had The Most Beneficial Impact on America

The Fourth Wave has primarily settled in 7 states: California, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey have over 70% of the immigrant population.

The new immigrants have revitalized many of America’s cities, moving into depressed neighborhoods and made them thrive again.

The Fourth Wave brought an astounding new ethnic and religious diversity – something that the US still needs due to increasing racial prejudice. Now the US has more Muslims (4%) than Jews (3%) and an increasing number of Buddhists (nearly 1%). Mexican, Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern restaurants have sprung up all over.

The new immigration is drastically altering the ethnic demography of the Untied States. As recently as the 1970s, the US was still about 85% white, but that figure has dropped to about 60% today. If present trends continue, the percentage of Americans who are white will drop below 50% before 2050.

Long split on lines of black and white, America is fast becoming a “rainbow society” composed of all the different peoples on earth. Latinos have now overtaken African-Americans as the largest US “minority group,” and may well comprise 1 in 4 Americans by 2050. Asian immigrants, a miniscule percentage of the US population before the Fourth Wave, may comprise nearly 10% of the population by mid-century.

AMERICA: A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS

The above diagram shows every nation in terms of immigration, America has immigrated more than any other nation on Earth, and as you can see by this image, is the most diverse nation on Earth.

The importance of immigration to our nation’s growth and success has slowly permeated our national consciousness after years of denial. Ellis Island, left to rot in New York harbor for a half century, was restored in time for its hundredth birthday in 1992 and reopened as a museum of US immigration history from colonial times to the present. Its 2 million annual visitors come from all four waves the American immigration experience. Four hundred years after its beginnings America is still a land of immigrants.

Africa is striving towards an interconnected society

David McDonald

David McDonald

David is a 19-year-old Canadian student currently attending the University of Guelph. He currently studies Public Management and economics with hopes of one day becoming an accomplished journalist. David enjoys reporting on global events and actively try to make a difference in the world.
David McDonald

Introduction

The idea that Africans are still dangerously behind on technology is one that is widely shared in an arrogant western society; however, studies show that the continent’s inhabitants will be making rapid progress towards continent-wide internet implementation.
I am a product of the society I’ve grown up in, and when I think of an individual living in sub-saharan Africa (around 1 billion people) I picture the man above; A tribesman who would look at a cell-phone the same way we would look at a Kardashian without plastic surgery: bewildered.
With that being said, I’m willing to put aside my biased (western) ideologies of rural African people, and explore exactly how the continents people plan to take on the next several decades.
Will native africans/farmers/residents embrace technology? Or will they neglect the abundant resources that the internet can bring? Keep reading if you’re just as interested as I am in terms of how Africans will utilize the internet, and the technologies that accompany such a transition.

What is the continent’s current position on internet accessibility?

As like any other place on the planet, most of Africa’s population resides in countries that border surrounding oceans.
In these countries, residents are home to more stable economies, better infrastructure and health care, as well as increased access to the internet because well, they’re attached to the ocean.
Climates are more stable, which means it is easier to live and grow crops. However, for the billion people living in sub-saharan African, life proves to be more difficult.
Internet cables do not stretch across Africa because there is no solid infrastructure in these regions. Along with this, the lack of rainfall and water exposure makes farming much more difficult. Sub Saharan residents are largely impacted by a lack of resources needed to live a healthy life – internet accessibility will improve their circumstances drastically.

 

As you can see above, much of Africa falls short of their potential to be connected to the internet. Only two countries surpass the 80% mobile phones per 100 population feat, which even falls short of averages in many developed nations. Generally speaking, they have a long way to go until they meet western civilization’s numbers (which I don’t think they ever will).
For Africa to collectively adapt to a rapidly-changing world, they need to connect their people through the internet. It will improve their way of life in so many ways, here are a few:
  1. Education will receive one of the greatest boosts out of any sector due to internet application; Children will be able to learn away from school by accessing the internet on their phones. They will also be able to learn many valuable technological skills that will help innovate the continent.
  2. Health care and policing will flourish. With cell phones, people will be able to contact authorities when in trouble. Amber alerts will be much more effective; with people being able to contact police from remote areas, a much larger amount of people will be notified of any trouble.
  3. Agriculture will see a boom. Farmers currently lack the resources to grow crops in the most efficient way possible. With the internet, they can research farming techniques and utilise that knowledge for their future harvests.
The benefits are really endless, and the future’s looking bright for Africa when you consider the possibilities that the internet will bring.
However, with all of this being said, it raises a lot of questions as to how people in Sub-Saharan Africa will,
  1. Be able to afford internet costs
  2. Be able to afford the technology needed to utilise the internet (cell-phones, laptops)
Well, it seems like I’m not the only person to have asked these questions, because the people of Africa have answers.

 

How does Africa plan to navigate potential obstacles that internet implementation brings?

Two words: solar panels.
According to 3TIER, Africa receives the highest amounts of solar irradiance on the planet. For those of you who don’t know, solar irradiance is the power per unit area received from the Sun in the form of electromagnetic radiation. Solar panels harness this power and convert it into energy.
The historically high solar irradiance in Africa will be a large driving force in terms of moving the continent forward. Ironically enough, it is the same reason the continent is still one of the most impoverished areas on the planet. Why? Simply put, more sun exposure and less rain means it’s very difficult to farm. But in the 21st century, who needs farms when you can have fields of solar panels, right?
Although Africa doesn’t make any of the lists for solar production, the opportunities are certainly there. It will eradicate unemployment issues that sweep the continent, all while helping build infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa.
If locals are given jobs to build solar panels, then they will have more money to purchase technologies that rely on internet. Along with this, regional governments will harness solar energy and use it to power internet across the continent.

 

Potential is nothing if you don’t take action, right? Well, Africa is taking action. Just look at the progress they have made in terms of installing undersea internet cables in only three years.
Going back to what I said earlier, most of Africa’s internet sources only reach areas that border the ocean; the challenge is to get that internet to reach in-land in the hopes of having a connected population.

 

I certainly believe they can achieve interconnectivity if they continue on the path they are on.