Making of a Global World
Question 1: Imagine that you are an indentured Indian labourer in the Caribbean. Drawing from the details in this chapter, write a letter to your family describing your life and feelings.
Answer:Some excerpts from the letter can be as follows:
- Life is very difficult and we have to work for long hours. We are not allowed to go back from here. Smallest sign of rebellion is being dealt with lot of cruelty.
- We have learnt to cope with our life and are trying to find some happiness in this situation. We celebrate Muharram and Holi together.
- We also experiment cooking new dishes.
- Many of us have forgotten our dialects.
Answer the following questions:
Question 2: Give two examples of different types of global exchanges which took place before the seventeenth century, choosing one example from Asia and one from the Americas.
Answer: Two examples of global exchanges which took place before the seventeenth century are as follows:
- Example from Asia: Noodles travelled from China to India, Italy and different parts of the world.
- Example from Americas: Potatoes travelled from Americas to Ireland.
Question 3: Explain how the global transfer of disease in the pre-modern world helped in the colonisation of the Americas.
Answer: By the mid-sixteenth century, the Portuguese and Spanish colonization of America began in a decisive way. But the conquest could not be facilitated because of arms and ammunition but because of a disease. Europeans had been exposed to small pox and hence they had developed immunity against this disease. But the Americans had been isolated from the world and they had no immunity against small pox. When the Europeans reached there, they carried the germs of small pox alongwith them. The disease wiped off the whole communities in certain parts of America. And thus, the Europeans could easily get control of the Americas.
Question 4: Give two examples from history to show the impact of technology on food availability.
Answer: Two examples of impact of technology on food availability are as follows:
- Railways helped in transporting foodgrains from different countries to Europe. Large scale transportation made the food cheaper and improved availability. This ensured availability of quality food at affordable prices in Europe.
- Steamship and refrigeration technology helped in transporting processed meat from America to Europe. The people of Britain could now afford meat which improved their diet.
Question 5: What is meant by the Bretton Woods Agreement?
Answer: United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference was held in July 1944 at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, USA. The Bretton Woods Conference established the International Monetary Fund. This organization was established to deal with external surpluses and deficits of its members. The agreement arrived at this conference is often referred to as the Bretton Woods Agreement.
Write a note to explain the effects of the following:
(a) The British government’s decision to abolish the Corn Laws.
Answer: Abolition of Corn Laws had following effects:
- Imported food became cheaper than locally grown food in Britain.
- Vast areas of land were left uncultivated and a large number of people became unemployed. People migrated to cities; in large numbers; in search of work. Many people also migrated overseas.
- Falling food prices resulted in increased demand for food in Britain. To fulfill the demand, large tracts of land were cleared in Eastern Europe, America, Russia and Australia.
- The foodgrains also needed to be supplied to the ports. For this, railway lines were to be laid so that the agricultural hubs could be connected to the ports. Moreover, new habitations also had to come up in agricultural hubs. For all these activities, capital flowed from financial centres; such as London; to these places.
- There was shortage of labour in Americas and Australia. The demand for workforce resulted in large scale migration of people to these places.
(b) The coming of rinderpest to Africa.
Answer: Rinderpest arrived in Africa in the late 1880s. During that period, Italian soldiers were invading Eritrea in East Africa. Cattles were imported from British Asia to feed those soldiers. Rinderpest came along with those cattle. Rinderpest spread in the African continent like the wildfire. It reached to western coast of Africa by 1892 and within five years after that, it reached to southernmost tip of the continent. Rinderpest wiped off 90% of the cattle population of Africa during this period.
Loss of cattle meant loss of livelihood for the Africans. They had no choice but to work as labourers in plantations and mines. Thus, a cattle disease enabled the Europeans to colonise Africa.
(c) The death of men of working-age in Europe because of the World War.
Answer: The First World War wreaked large scale havoc around the world in many senses. About 9 million people died and 20 million people were injured in the wake of the war.
Most of the people who were killed or maimed were people from working age. This resulted in a significant reduction in the number of able-bodied workforce in Europe. Due to fewer earning members in the families, the household incomes drastically reduced in Europe.
(d) The Great Depression on the Indian economy.
Answer: The Depression affected the Indian economy as well. Between 1928 and 1934, the imports and exports of India became nearly half. During this period, the wheat prices in India fell by 50%.
In spite of falling prices of farm produce, the government continued to demand the same revenue from the farmers. Thus, farmers were the worst sufferers in this situation. Many farmers were forced to utilize their savings, sell their lands and jewelry. Thus, India became a net exporter of precious metal during this period.
The depression proved less grim for the urban dwellers in India. With falling prices, many urban landowners and salaried people found the life much easier. Under pressure from the nationalist leaders, the industrial protection grew which led to more investment in the industries.
(e) The decision of MNCs to relocate production to Asian countries.
Answer: In the last two decades, many MNCs have relocated production to Asian countries because of low wages in these countries. This new trend has increased employment opportunities in countries; like India, China, Brazil, Philippines, Malaysia, etc.
This has also helped in increasing disposable income of people and in increasing demand. As a result, countries; like India, China and Japan have emerged as major economic forces in the world economy.