Friday, September 11, 2009

week 2 - commentary

The countries we view now as peripheral or semi peripheral were once the
powerhouses of the world economy. Abu-Luhhod discusses what the world
economy was like between 1250-1350. During this time, the international
trade economy was developing from NW Europe to China. The author talks
about how some of the economical techniques used today were formulated
many centuries ago. As in the use of currency, banks, money exchangers,
etc. There were also differences and similarities being discussed about
the economies of the Middle East and Europe. Talks about the rise and fall
of a world economy and how many centuries later, Europe thrived with a
world economy that is still practiced today. On how this world system was
seen in the 13th century by a different group of leaders.

I find it interesting that some of the 3rd world countries today were once
the powerhouses in the past. Growing up in a society where Europe, USA,
and others countries have lots of power and perphereal countries in the
Middle East with little power and to imagine that the roles were switched
many centuries ago is pretty amazing. Another point is seeing how some of
the systems we use today began and why they began. In this current state,
we may understand the use of currency, banks, credit, but some of us don’t
know how it came about and how it became invented.

Going along with what I found interesting, I’m curious on how Europe was
able to prosper while the Middle East plummeted. I understand how during
that period the Middle East went through many different rulings and such
but why wasn’t the Middle East able to pick itself up and move on. Was it
the continuous bad leadings by the rulers or lack of knowledge? And I
guess one may wonder if the current powerhouses will also in a couple
centuries become peripherals while many peripherals now become core
countries. On what would some ways be so that we one can maintain their
power and not let what happened in the 13th century happen again.

Angela Han

1 comment:

  1. Angela, I completely agree with your commentary, I liked your ideas, many of which I did not consider while writing my own blog. Specifically there are certain topics you have brought up which I would like to expand on. The Middle East’s loss of power and influence being one, and the changing of today’s economic powerhouses being the second.
    I think the reason why the middle east plummeted so much over the course of history is due to the effects that centuries of war have caused. From the beginning of history, the middle east has probably seen more war and conflict than any other area of the world. During the time period in which Abu-Lugbod writes about, the middle east was a very prosperous region. The prosperity gave reason for people to want to reclaim the land as Christian land. This desire lead to a series of crusades again the Muslim empires in the Middle east. The crusades did have some success in capturing some territory in the Holy Land, yet most of their success was in Europe- which become the forefront of Christianity.
    Switch in power also gave way to weakness. The Mongol –invasion in the 13th century ended the Muslim Empire. After this, the Turkish empire renames Constantinople to Istanbul, and continued to expand to almost the entirety of the middle east. The arab territory was constantly under attack, and new rule. This caused weakness and gave Europe an opportunity to advance.
    To answer your question, yes I do think that today’s peripheral countries will one day (not too far away, either) will have more power and possibly even become core countries. And I think it is likely that some of today’s core countries will lose their seat in power as well. My reasoning to this is the outsourcing and cheap labor. Think of India and China’s progress in the past 2 decades! China will soon be an economic power house, along with other countries which were once considered 3rd-world countries.