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 The Sociology of Rich and Poor Nations

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Required Texts
Course Outline
The Sociology of Rich and Poor Nations
This assignment must be typewritten and you will present it to the class on an assigned date.
World Facts and Maps
How to make this a good paper
A Chronology of U.S. - Nicaragua Relations
Under the Big Stick


Department of Sociology
   The Sociology of Rich and Poor Nations
Summer 2000

 The Sociology of Rich and Poor Nations

Instructor: Dr. Jerry Kloby
MTWR 9 a.m. to 12:25 p.m.
Office: DI-263
Phone: 655-7920

    My sociology web pages are located at


     Great disparities in living standards exist throughout the world. Why are some countries more "advanced" than others? How do nations "develop?" What forces are responsible for the great poverty and deprivation that exists in much of the world? This course will examine these and related questions with the aim of giving students a better understanding of the modern world while also developing the skills to study it further.
     We will also examine how the world order is changing, along with the United States' place in it. Long considered the wealthiest of nations the U.S. now trails many developed nations in crucial indicators of well being. The U.S., however, still manages to exercise unparalleled power in world politics and is unmatched militarily.
     This semester we will look at some of the major perspectives regarding development -- how it takes place and how it is measured. We will discuss the process of nation building and examine concrete issues such as world hunger, global warming and the international debt crisis. We will also critically examine "globalization" and make some assessment of its pros and cons.

^ Required Texts:

From the bookstore:
     Jerry Kloby, 1997, Inequality, Power, and Development: The Task of Political Sociology, Atlantic Highlands, NJ.:        Humanities Press.
     Ted C. Lewellen, 1995, Dependency and Development: An Introduction to the Third World, Westport, CT: Bergin and Garvey.

Readings to be distributed in class:

     Richard B. Freeman, 1994, "How Labor Fares in Advanced Economies"
     Ted Trainer "What is Development?" Society and Nature Vol.3 No. 1, 1995.
     Juliette Majot "Brave New World Bank" Global Exchanges Winter, 1994.
     Joe Kane "The Rebels of the Rain Forest" Conde Nast Traveler, December, 1998.
     Institute for Community Studies Newsletter #4, May 2000: "Coping with Globalization" and the article on Benjamin        Barber.

 Course Requirements:
 1) Student attendance and class participation will be factors in determining grades.
 2) Students will be required to give one presentation in class based on the homework assignment described below.
 3) There will be two tests based on class lecture, required readings, and videotapes.

Evaluation: Your final grade will be calculated on the following basis:
 2 Tests: 70%
 Homework/Presentation: 30%

^ Course Outline:

1.  Introduction to the course.
         The state of the world.
         The concept of poverty. The extent of poverty in the world today. Is it growing?
         What is "development"? The sociology of development.  Measures of development
         Globalization and its impact.

2. The development of capitalism in Europe, economic development in the U.S.
 Read: Kloby, chapters 1 & 2.

3. A world of wealth and poverty.
           The world is not simply divided into rich nations and poor nations. Within the less developed nations there are some very wealthy people and they often have much in common with the rich in the "developed" world. Conversely within the developed nations there are those who are very poor.
 Read: Kloby, chapter 3, pp. 32-60.

4. Comparisons of developed nations.
         Where the U.S. stands. A look at some comparative statistics that put us in a global context. What can we learn from other developed nations?
 Read: Kloby, chapter 6, and "How Labor Fares in Advanced Economies" by Freeman.

5. What is the Third World?
 Lewellen, chapter. 1.

6. Theories of development.
         Modernization theory. Underdevelopment. Imperialism, world systems theory and dependency theory.
 Read: Kloby, chapter 7 (up to p. 154), and Trainer "What Is Development?".

7. Colonialism and the creation of the third world.
 Read: Kloby ch. 7 and Lewellen ch. 2 and 3.

8. Modernization versus Dependency
 Read: Lewellen chapters 4 and 5.

9. U.S. Foreign Policy and the Old World Order.
         The benign view of U.S. foreign policy is that it manages to help some people some of the time while occasionally making things worse though the intentions were good. A more critical view sees the U.S., and other developed nations, as perpetuating a series of problems and taking advantage of the situation for limited and selfish reasons.
 Read: Kloby, chapter 8 and Lewellen chapter 6 (optional).

10. Population, Urbanization and Migration
 Read: Lewellen, chapter 7.

11. Sustainable Development
 Read: Lewellen, chapter 8, review article by Trainer.

12. Human Rights
 Read: Lewellen, chapter 9.

13. The New World Order
         The meaning and significance of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.
 Read: Kloby, chapter 9 and chapter 9 in Lewellen.

14. Global Institutions
         The U.N., World Bank, International Monetary Fund, The World Trade Organization: World Government behind the curtains?
 Read: Article by Majot on the World Bank, review relevant sections in Kloby. Read Joe Kane's article on the Cofan Indians v. Texaco in Ecuador. Read "Coping with Globalization."

 ^ The Sociology of Rich and Poor Nations

Homework Assignment

Follow this link to  "Web sites for information on development and global issues." (  Visit one of the sites listed there and then write a two part essay. The first part should describe the web site (who runs it, what type of information is available, etc.). The second part should be more extensive and discuss a news item or article available at that web site (i.e. it should be about some substantive issue).

For example, if you were to visit the Worldwatch site you would read that:

"Worldwatch is a nonprofit public policy research organization dedicated to informing policy makers and the public about emerging global problems and trends and the complex links between the world economy and its environmental support systems."  You could note that the site has four main sections one is on "Alerts," another is about "Worldwatch" magazine, the third is about other publications and the fourth is about speakers available through Worldwatch.

For your substantive article analysis you could choose something from the "Alerts" section (e.g. "Global Temperature Jumps Off Chart") and summarize what Worldwatch has to say about global warming. You could mention that they have a graph that illustrates changes in the earth's average surface temperature from 1866 to 1998. Try to use your own words as much as possible. If you quote use quotation marks.

Lastly, give the site a rating from one to five stars, with five being the highest grade.

Length: 1400 to 1800 words. Please write the number of words at the bottom of the last page.

^ This assignment must be typewritten and you will present it to the class on an assigned date.

Due date:


Pick one country and discuss it in some detail. First  you should include some basic information about the nation (location, population, type of government, etc., use a book like Rand McNally’s ^ World Facts and Maps, or an almanac), then discuss some of its history and culture, along with some important issues facing the nation today.

Another option:  Choose a global issue such as hunger, the environment, or development, and write a paper discussing the issue and relating it to this course.

^ How to make this a good paper: there are two things I can think of that can really help. One is to collect recent newspaper articles on the country that you’ve chosen. Use these articles to write about what is currently happening in that nation -- make your paper as up-to-date as possible. The second thing you can do, which would be a big plus, is to discuss the country in terms of some of the issues and perspectives that were raised in class and in your readings. A good idea would be to use the list of topics on the syllabus for this purpose. Ideally you will be applying the concepts and theories that you have learned in this course to a particular nation. Your paper should not read like an entry in an encyclopedia or almanac. I suggest consulting one or more of  the books from the recommended list below.

Some other things to consider:
     Make sure that you put a serious effort into collecting appropriate information. The research component of this paper will weigh heavily in your grade but be sure not to overlook information in your required readings or videotapes shown in class. To insure a quality paper be sure to read and reread your work. Remember: read, edit, revise and proofread.

Due date:

Important: your papers must be properly footnoted. You will lose credit if you do not cite your sources.

Some Recommended Books:

Barber, Benjamin Jihad v. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World, Ballantine Books, 1996.

Berman, Karl Under the Big Stick: Nicaragua and the United States Since 1848 Boston: South End Press, 1986.

Blum, William Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1995.

Brown, Lester, Christopher Flavin and Sandra Postel, Saving The Planet: How to Shape an Environmentally Sustainable Global Economy New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1991.

Caufield, Catherine, Masters of Illusion: The World Bank and the Poverty of Nations New York: Henry Holt, 1996.

Commoner, Barry, Making Peace with The Planet New York: The New Press, 1992.

Coote, Belinda  The Trade Trap: Poverty and the Global Commodity Markets UK: Oxfam, 1996.

Diamond, Jared Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fate of Human Societies New York: W.W. Norton, 1999.

Franklin, Jane The Cuban Revolution and the United States: A Chronological History Australia: Ocean Press, 1997.

Greider, William  One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism New York: Touchstone, 1997.

Herman, Edward S.  The Real Terror Network Boston: South End Press, 1982.

Hobsbawm, Eric The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991 New York: Random House, 1994.

Instituto del Tercer Mundo, The World Guide 1997-98 Oxford, UK: New Internationalist Publications Ltd.

Kidron, Michael and Ronald Segal, The State of The World Atlas New York: Penguin Books.

Kotz, David with Fred Weir, Revolution from Above: The Demise of The Soviet System, London: Routledge, 1997.

Lappe, Frances Moore & Joseph Collins, World Hunger: Twelve Myths New York: Grove Press, 1986.

Mason, Mike Development and Disorder: A History of the Third World Since 1945 Hanover, NH.: University Press of New England, 1997.

Nader, Ralph, et al. The Case Against Free Trade San Francisco: Earth Island Books, 1993.

Pearce, Jenny Under the Eagle Boston: South End Press.

Ross, John The Annexation of Mexico: From the Aztecs to the I.M.F. Monroe Maine: Common Courage Books, 1998

Wallach, Lori and Michelle Sforza  Whose Trade Organization?  Corporate Globalization and the Erosion of Democracy, Washington, DC, 1999.

^ A Chronology of U.S. - Nicaragua Relations

1821  Nicaragua gains independence from Spain.
1823  Monroe doctrine is proclaimed.
1848-1860  British troops occupy Nicaragua's only Atlantic port, San Juan del Norte.
1853  U.S. Marines intervene on behalf of Cornelius Vanderbilt.
1855  U.S. mercenary William Walker declares himself president of Nicaragua and legalizes slavery.
1860    Walker is executed.
1912-34 U.S. Marines occupy Nicaragua, install Anastasio Somozoa as head of the country and  establish the National Guard.
1934    Peasant leader and anti-imperialist Cesar Augusto Sandino assassinated by Somoza's agents.
1961    The FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) is formed.
1979    Sandinistas are victorious.
1980    Nicaragua receives awards from the U.N. for dramatic improvements in health and literacy.
1980s   U.S. begins to covertly aid forces known as the "contras," many of whom are former Nicaragua  National Guard officers, who are attempting to depose the Sandinista government.
1982     Congress passes the Boland Amendment which prohibits use of funds to support the contras and any efforts to overthrow the government of Nicaragua.
1982?   Fund-raising network is set up by Colonel Oliver North and other top Reagan administration officials to privately raise money for the contras. Reagan administration secretly and illegally sells arms to Iran to raise money for the contras.
1984    The Council on Hemispheric Affairs labels the contras as one of the worst human rights violators in Latin America.
1986    The World Court finds the U.S. guilty, on numerous counts, of violating international law in its attempts to undermine the government of Nicaragua.
1990     Violetta Chamorra (U.S. supported candidate) is elected president. U.S. President George Bush immediately asks Congress for $300 million in emergency aid to the new government, including $32 million to pay for sending the contras back to Nicaragua from Honduras (NY Times, 3-20-90).
1992    George Bush pardons Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger and several others convicted of crimes in the Iran-Contra scandal.
1990s   Nicaragua's economy struggles under the burden of IMF and World Bank initiated structural adjustment

Good sources: ^ Under the Big Stick by Karl Berman, and Under the Eagle by Jenny Pearce, both are published by South End Press.

U.S. Military Interventions in Nicaragua:


1899 (twice)


1910 (twice)

1857 (twice) 











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