War I postcard of alliances, 1917.
[Courtesy of propagandacards.com]
Welcome to the
'Happy Hinges' of Capitalism and World
Empire (Carta Maior, Brazil)
the impressive economic development and quality of life in the former British
colonies of Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and the Nordic countries of
Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland? For Brazil's Carta Maior, columnist Josť Luis Fiori writes that all once attached themselves to greater
powers in Europe, and now form small 'happy hinges' of the military structure
and global power of the United States.
By Josť Luis Fiori
Translated By Brandi Miller
December 3, 2012
- Carta Maior - Original
The history of capitalist development in the 19th and 20th centuries
registers the presence of certain countries with high levels of development, wealth,
and quality of life, and with low national propensities for expansion or
imperialism. This is the case of the former British colonies of Canada,
Australia and New Zealand, and the Nordic countries of Sweden, Denmark, Norway
and Finland. Since 1870, all have shown growth rates that are high, steady and
convergent; up to World War I, inferior only to that of Argentina.
Today these are industrialized, specialized and
sophisticated economies. Norway has the third highest per capita income and the
Development Index score (0.943) in the world; Australia has the fifth
highest per capita income and the second best HDI in
the world (0.929); and almost all have an average yearly per capita income
between $50,000 and $60,000. In reserves per capita, Norway is considered the
richest country in the world today, and in 2009, was considered by the U.N. "the
best country in the world to live." And Denmark has been classified -
between 2006 and 2008 - the "happiest place in the world," and the
second most peaceful on the planet, after New Zealand - along with Norway.
Canada, Australia and New Zealand were English settler colonies
during the 19th century, and were later transformed into British Crown Dominions
until after World War II. But today they are independent kingdoms or nations that
are part of the Commonwealth,
and they maintain the English monarch as head of state. As colonies and dominions,
they always functioned as the periphery of the English economy. Even after they
began to industrialize, on average they maintained the participation of English
capital, which comprised up to two-thirds of the gross capital of these three
countries. And after the end of World War II, all have established analogous
relations with the United States economy. In this century and a half of
history, Canada - just as an example - stood by the U.K. and U.S. during World
Wars I and II, in addition to participating in the Boer War, the Korean War, and
being a founding member of NATO in 1949. It participated in the wars in the
Gulf War, Iraq War, and Afghanistan and Libya wars, and it directly
participates in the U.S. Aerospace
Defense Command. And the same happened, in almost all cases, with Australia
and New Zealand.
On the other hand, the Nordic countries were expansive, and
Sweden in particular was a great dominant empire within Europe until the 18th
century. But after its defeat at the hands of Russia in 1720, and its
submission within the hierarchy of power in Europe, the Nordic states transformed
into small countries with low populations densities and high levels of natural
resource endowment, functioning as specialized pieces in an increasingly sophisticated
European production system. After the 1929 crisis, Sweden was made famous by
the "success" of its countercyclical "Keynesian" economic
policy, but actually managed to overcome the effects of the crisis thanks to
its status as an economic partner and supplier of steel and equipment to the
Nazi war machine, which also occupied Denmark and exerted great influence over
the region throughout Second World War. After the war, Denmark and Norway
became members of NATO, and Denmark continues as a strategic passage for
control of the Baltic Sea.
Posted by Worldmeets.US
Meanwhile, Sweden participated in the wars in Kosovo and
Afghanistan, and supplied weapons to Anglo-Saxon forces during the Iraq War.
Finally, Finland, which was part of Sweden until 1808 and of Russia until 1917,
ended up occupying a key position during the Cold War until 1991, and still
occupies a strategic position today due to its control of the Bay of Finland
and proximity to Russia itself.
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Through all of this, despite these countries having
different origins and trajectories, it is possible to identify some things that
they have in common:
I. They are small or have a very low population density.
II. They have excellent endowments of food, mineral or
III. All occupy decisive positions on the global
IV. And all specialize in services or high-tech industrial
sectors, and in some cases, military industries.
Some would say that this is a typical case of "development
by invitation," but that means everything and nothing at the same time.
The key here is that the economic success of these countries cannot be
explained by itself, because since the 19th century, the "Dominions"
operated as "frontiers of expansion" for English "economic
territory," and as military and naval bases of the British Empire. And the
Nordic countries, after they submitted, transformed themselves into specialized
satellites of the production system, and the expansive powers in Europe. And
today, finally, these seven countries operate as small "happy hinges"
of the military structure and global power of the United States.