Write in Brief
Question 1: 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 : Examples of the different types of global exchanges which took place before the seventeenth century:
- Textiles, spices and Chinese pottery were exchanged by China, India and Southeast Asia in return for gold and silver from Europe.
- Gold and foods such as potatoes, soya, groundnuts, tomatoes and chillies were first exported from the Americas to Europe.
Question 2: Explain how the global transfer of disease in the pre-modern world helped in the colonisation of the Americas.
Answer : The global transfer of disease in the pre-modern world helped in the colonisation of the Americas because the native Americans had no immunity against the disease that came from Europe. Before the discovery of America, it had been cut off from the rest of the world for millions of years. So, they had no defence against the disease. In particular, Smallpox proved a deadly killer. It killed and decimated whole communities, paving the way for conquest.
Question 3: Write a note to explain the effects of the following:
(a) The British government’s decision to abolish the Corn Laws.
Answer : (a) The British government’s decision to abolish the Corn Laws resulted in losses for the agricultural sector, but progress in the industrial sector. Food began to be imported more cheaply into Britain, and thousands of workers involved in cultivation became unemployed. However, consumption increased and the industrial sector grew, with more workers being available in cities than in rural areas.
(b) The coming of rinderpest to Africa.
Answer : (b) Rinderpest arrived in Africa in the late 1880s. Within two years, it spread in the whole continent reaching Cape Town within five years. Rinderpest had a terrifying impact on people’s livelihoods and the local economy. It killed about 90 percent of the cattle. Planters, mine owners and colonial governments became successful to strengthen their power and to force Africans into the labour market.
(c) The death of men of working-age in Europe because of the World War.
Answer : (c) The death of men of working age in Europe because of the World War reduced the able-bodied workforce in Europe, leading to a steady decline in household incomes and a consequent struggle to meet the living expenditure by families whose men were handicapped or killed.
(d) The Great Depression on the Indian economy.
Answer : (d) By the early twentieth century, the global economy had become an integral one. The depression immediately affected Indian trade. India was a British colony that exported agricultural goods and imported manufactured goods. Under the impact of Great Depression, the Indian economy was closely becoming integrated into the global economy. As international prices crashed so did the prices in India. Between 1928 and 1934, wheat prices in India fell by 50 percent. The fall in agricultural price led to a reduction of farmers’ income and agricultural export. The government did not decrease their taxes due to which peasants’ indebtedness increased all across India. In these depression years, India became an exporter of precious metals, notably gold.
(e) The decision of MNCs to relocate production to Asian countries.
Answer : (e) The decision of MNCs to relocate production to Asian countries led to a stimulation of world trade and capital flows. This relocation was on account of low-cost structure and lower wages in Asian countries. It also benefitted the Asian nations because employment increased, and this resulted in quick economic transformation as well.
Question 4: Give two examples from history to show the impact of technology on food availability.
Answer : Two examples from history to show the impact of technology on food availability were:
- Improvement in transportation system: Faster railways, lighter wagons and larger ships helped transport food more cheaply and quickly from production units to final markets.
- Refrigerated ships: Refrigerated ships helped transport perishable foods like meat, butter and eggs over long distances.
Question 5: What is meant by the Bretton Woods Agreement?
Answer : In order to preserve economic stability and full employment in the industrial world, the post-war international economic system was established. To execute the same, the 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 (IMF) to deal with external surpluses and shortages of its member-nations. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (popularly known as the World Bank) was set up to financial post-war reconstruction, and they started the financial operations in 1947.
Under the agreement, currencies were pegged to the price of gold, and the US dollar was seen as a reserve currency linked to the price of gold. Decision-making authority was given to the Western industrial powers. The US was given the right of veto over key IMF and World Bank decisions. The Bretton Woods system was based on fixed exchange rates. The Bretton Woods system Opened an era of unique growth of trade and incomes for the Western industrial nations and Japan.
Question 6: 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.
I hope you all are fine there. I am working in Caribbean as an indentured labourer. Through this letter, I want to tell you about my work life and hardships. I have been hired by the colonisers under a contract which included wrong information regarding the place of work, mode of travel and living and working conditions. The contractor uses harsh and abusive language for us. There is a lot of work at the plantations with a heavy workload and sometimes I have to finish all of it in just one day. The contractor cuts my wages if he is not satisfied with my work. I am living here a slave’s life. I know you will be very upset to know my situation but the governments here are thinking to introduce new laws to protect the labourers like us. So, I hope this situation will pass soon.
Question 7: Explain the three types of movements or flows within international economic exchange. Find one example of each type of flow which involved India and Indians, and write a short account of it.
Answer : The three types of movements or flows within the international economic exchange are:
- Flow of trade (trade in goods such as cloth or wheat): India was involved in trade relations since ancient times. It exported textiles and spices in return for gold and silver from Europe.
- Flow of labour (the migration of people to new areas in search of work): In the nineteenth century, thousands of Indian labourers went to work on plantations, in mines, and in road and railway construction projects around the world. Indentured labourers were hired under contacts which promised their return to India after working for five years in the plantation. The living conditions were harsh and the labourers had very few legal rights.
- Flow of capital (short-term and long-term loan to and from other nations): To finance the World War, Britain took high loans from the USA. Since India was under British rule, the impact of these loan debts was felt in India too. The British government increased taxes, interest rates, and lowered the prices of products it bought from the colony. This affected the Indian economy very strongly.
Question 8: Explain the causes of the Great Depression.
Answer : The Great Depression was a result of many different factors. The post-war global economy was weak. Also, agricultural over-production proved to be a nuisance, which was made worse by falling food grain prices. To counter this, farmers began to increase production and bring even more produce to the markets to maintain their annual incomes. This led to such a glut of food grains that prices plummeted further and farm produce was left to rot. Most countries took loans from the US, but American overseas lenders were wary about the same. When they decreased the amount of loans, the countries economically dependent on US loans faced an acute crisis. In Europe, this led to the failure of major banks and currencies such as the British pound sterling. In a bid to protect the American economy, USA doubled import duties. This worsened the world trade scenario. All these factors contributed to the Great Depression. It affected USA the worst on account of its being a global loan provider and the biggest industrial nation.
Question 9: Explain what is referred to as the G-77 countries. In what ways can G-77 be seen as a reaction to the activities of the Bretton Woods twins?
Answer : G-77 countries is an abbreviation for the group of 77 countries that demanded a new international economic order (NIEO); a system that would give them real control over their natural resources, without being victims of neo-colonialism, that is, a new form of colonialism in trade practised by the former colonial powers.
The G-77 can be seen as a reaction to the activities of the Bretton Woods twins (the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank) because these two institutions were designed to meet the financial needs of industrial and developed countries, and did nothing for the economic growth of former colonies and developing nations.