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 “International system is formed when two or more states have
sufficient contact between them, and have sufficient impact on one another’s
decisions, to cause them to behave—at least in some measure—as parts of a whole. ” (Bull,
1977, p. 9). Our world is divided into many different countries which differ
from one another not just by their territory, nature, language or traditions.
It is also obvious that some states are in better economic situation and are
more developed than others. In some countries people are very poor, marginalised
and oppressed while the other part of the word live wealthy life, have many
opportunities and do not even realise that life could be different for them and
that it could be worse. This essay has three main parts to discuss the structure
of the international system by summarising its pros and cons. Firstly, I am
going to describe the key theory of international relations which analyses the
origins of the international system. In second part I am going to evaluate the
world’s system relying on various examples. Eventually, I am going to answer
the question if the world’s system is actually unfair and if it does promote
under-development. One of the key 
perspectives of international relations – structuralism – argues that “global
economic relations are structured so as to benefit certain social classes, and
that the resulting world system is fundamentally unjust.” (Steans, 2010, p.
75). Few of the elements of structuralism itself, which help to understand the
structure of international system are dependency theory and world-systems
theory. Dependency theory means that “resources flow from a “periphery”
of poor and underdeveloped states to a “core” of wealthy states, enriching the latter
at the expense of the former.” (Suresh, 2010, p. 279). Modernisation theory,
otherwise, held that all societies go through
similar stages of development and those countries which today are considered as
underdeveloped are actually in the same situation as the wealthy countries were
in the past. Andre Gunder Frank was a scholar who developed research of
dependency theory, which eventually rejected the modernisation theory. Frank
claimed that modernisation theory was a process through which wealthy states
are getting rich and poor states are impoverished by them, in this way becoming
more dependent upon economically developed countries. “Available
theory therefore fails to reflect the past of the underdeveloped part of the world
entirely, and reflects the past of the world as a whole only in part. More
important, our ignorance of the history of these underdeveloped countries leads
us to assume that their past and indeed their present resemble earlier stages
of the history of the now economically developed countries. More studies of
development and underdevelopment fail to take account of the economic and other
relations between the metropolis and its economic colonies throughout the
history of the mercantilist and capitalist system.” (Frank, 1966, p. 27). If we have a look in the past we can
observe that the countries which now are considered as poor ones, actually
have colonial pasts and most of those countries were included as the Third
World. This term arose during the Cold War when countries were categorised into groups based on their
economic and political divisions. Many Third World countries were economically weak, and
non-industrialized as countries which today are considered as periphery ones by
the world systems theory.  Now American sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein, referring to this
theory suggests us that the world should be divided into three groups by their
economic situation – periphery, semi-periphery and core countries. This
apportionment makes us to consider how equal is the international system after
all. Current world situation just strengthens Wallerstein’s idea of different
economic situations of countries as it shows that international inequality
actually exists as one of the greatest issues of our international system. That
is obvious as many countries lack resources such as food, clean water and
health care. “equality
of resources is the view that a distributional scheme treats people as equals
when it ‘distributes or transfers resources among them until no further
transfer would leave their shares of the total resources more equal’ “. (Brown,
2009, p. 50). Present
data provided by The Credit Suisse Research Institute’s Global Wealth
Report 2017 shows that the wealthiest 1 percent of the world’s population now
owns more than half of the world’s wealth which
is obvious evidence that the world system is opposite of equality. “There’s
enough food in the world to feed everyone. But control over resources and
income is based on military, political and economic power that the minority
hold. Those without equal fortune get left behind”.  The
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 795
million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were
suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2014-2016 and unfortunately that
number is still growing and resulting in even more people living in famine. “Of the world’s hungry people, 98% live in
developing countries.” (Hilal Elver, The guardian, 2015). That is
enormously big percentage which could be way different if unfair world system
would be changed. “The root causes of food insecurity and malnutrition are
poverty and inequity rather than shortages” (Hilal Elver, The guardian, 2015).  This leads to the conclusion that we actually
live in the international system which is unfair and  world’s 
famine is definitely one of the clearest examples of that. Another
issue that proves unfairness of the international system is lack of education
in poor countries. According to an
infograph released by the Unesco Institute for Statistics in 2013, 52% of the
774 million illiterate people who are 15 years and older are based in West and
South Asia. Despite that most schools in poor states are free, it
is compulsory for children to wear special clothes and for parents to provide
them with required books, which price can seek a third of the parent’s income. For
example, a family that grows crops may bring in $120 a year after growing
expenses and have to pay $75 a year per student for school books and uniforms. Financial
aids that periphery countries get are not enough to provide good quality
teaching programs, create schools, teachers do not earn adequate amount of
money so there is always lack of them and classes are oversized which makes the
job even more difficult. One of the events that greatly represents how poor
states and their education system is  dependent on wealthy countries was the global
financial crisis in 2008 – the collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers.
It affected some developing countries which economic situation had been growing
and resulted in them facing significant slowdowns. “Poor countries are on a worsening
trajectory, as severe and deepening pressure from the economic downturn caused
by the crisis of the rich world’s banking system bites on their
budgets,” (David Archer, 2011,
The Guardian). Kenya was one of the countries that suffered from the crisis. As
a result, it had to delay plans to give free primary school education to 8.3
million children. And this event is just one of the biggest our world has ever
had so that is why it got that much attention. There are many more quite ones
happening and affecting poor countries in a major way. This event is an example
of how big issues of wealthy states can promote under-development of poor
despite there are many examples which prove the fairness of dependency theory,
it has criticisms as well. One of them – the lack of competition. If all
countries would be in the same economic situation, there would be no need to
improve. In today’s world people compete to each other because they know they
can benefit from it. The aim to become more famous, more acknowledged or richer
than others is driving a person to seek highs, to discover and to create
innovations we never even thought about. If there would be equality everywhere,
no one could possibly step out of that zone. This means that probably the world
would not be that industrialised and modernised as it is now. People would not
think about creating newer and better technologies because there would be no
point to overcome others, to become wealthier or more-developed. The other
criticism of dependency theory is because of sustainability. For example, there
are countries which are at the bigger risk of suffering a disaster as a result
of natural hazards such as volcanic eruptions, floods and earthquakes. If they
would become a victim of such a disaster and would be left with no money to
deal with it, they would be forced to borrow it from other states. In other
way, country could be destroyed, people would suffer and die without getting
basic aid to help them survive. Free-market economists like Martin Wolf and
Peter Bauer, to name a few, give a number of examples to support their
arguments against dependency theory. One of the most frequently cited is
India’s economic improvement after it moved to open-trade. After the collapse
of India’s main trading partner – the Soviet Union and consensus after the Gulf
War which caused the growth in oil prices, the country suffered major economic
crisis. India asked for a 1.8 billion dollars loan from the International
Monetary Fund and the fund requested the state to de-regulate. Economic reforms
were initiated and eventually India had progressed towards a free-market economy.
As a result, financial liberalisation has increased as well as life expectancy,
food security and literacy rates. In conclusion, the structure of the
international system is not fair and it impedes improvement of poor countries. The
world’s famine is one of the examples of how unequal the economic system is. It
results in many people living in periphery countries having nothing to eat
while those in wealthy states have lots of food and do not even know what it is
like to starve. Unfairness of the world’s system is also obvious when you
compare access to an education. Wealthy countries have countless quantity of
schools and universities when poor ones do not have money to create that many
schools and even if they would, people of those countries could not afford
going there. Despite many examples which prove dependency theory, there are
also some criticisms of it. Lack of competition between states could stop
industrialisation consensus modernisation processes, finishing by not having
new technologies and the end of the world’s improvement. Sustainability is also
one of the criticisms of the statement of the international inequality. It
proves that there are countries which are more possible to be ruined by natural
hazards and eventually would end up having to borrow money to restore themselves
and help people to survive. Taking into account both sides of the structure of
the international system and the history of periphery countries it is certain that
the world’s system is unfair and that it prevents poor countries from becoming developed
and wealthy as others states already are.

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