Apartheid, Globalization, and South Africa Essay

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In 1991 President Frederik Willem de Klerk of South Africa succumbed to the pressures of international economic sanctions, officially repealed the apartheid laws and called for the drafting of a new constitution. Just three years later, Nelson Mandela became the President of South Africa in the country’s first multi-racial election. Apartheid’s end may never have come, however, were it not for the improved efficiency of communication between states, the increased economic interdependency between those states, and the emergence of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) that make national borders all but invisible and chip away at Westphalian sovereignty. The existence of such factors allowed for
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Yet such a system could never have been upheld by the infinitesimal minority of whites without the aid of advanced computer technology. Computers supplied to South Africa by industrialized nations, most notably the United States, formed the nucleus of South Africa’s government. Without them, the country’s businesses would have been unable to operate, taxes would not have been efficiently collected, and it would not have been able to keep the tabs on its citizens that were so crucial to inflicting the cruel terms of apartheid laws.

By the time economic sanctions had been imposed on the country, it was almost too late. IBM computers were up and operating and there was no shutting them down. Much to the good fortune of the oppressed people of the nation, however, the economic sanctions finally did take their toll thanks mainly to South Africa’s need to rejoin the rapidly growing international economy. Ironically, this system of “globalization” that not only begat South Africa’s troubles, but also sustained them over the better part of the 20th century, proved to be the system that brought about South Africa’s liberation from apartheid.

Globalization, as former chief economist to the World Bank Joseph Stiglitz defines it, “is the closer integration of the countries and peoples of the world which

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