Example Answers for AQA A Level Sociology Paper 2 (2019) - Global Development
Last updated 17 Jan 2020
Here are some example answers to the Paper 2 questions in 2019 on the Global Development topic for AQA A-Level Sociology.
Please refer to the AQA exam papers for questions and items. These responses have been written by experience AQA teachers and examiners, but without reference to a mark scheme.
One way in which globalisation has affected global inequalities is through the implementation of neo-liberal economic policies. In the post-Cold War period, neo-liberal economic policy has become the most dominant economic theory and has focused upon the privatisation of former state industries and opening of free trade routes between nations. This has often been enforced through the intervention of International Governmental Organisations (IGOs) such as the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation. Whilst the development of free trade may be seen as a boost to developing nations in so far as they are able to trade their goods with other nations, in reality it leads to the dominance of Transnational Corporations (TNCs) who utilise their economic power to exploit workers in the developing world, whilst simultaneously expanding upon the markets they can sell their products in. This creates inequality, as the economic power of TNCs means that many traders in the developing world are driven out of business and forced to work for lower wages. Inequality is created by TNCs generating greater profits from lower labour costs and increased sales, whilst the standard of living for many in the developing world diminishes.
A second way in which the process of globalisation has affected global inequality is through the spread of Western values. The process of cultural globalisation has led to an increasing awareness of gender equality, particularly in the developing world. As many nations in the developing world are increasingly exposed to Western ideologies of free speech and gender equality, there have been changes in inequality between males and females in the developing world. Nations such as Saudi Arabia have allowed women to compete in the Olympic Games, fly planes, vote and recently overturned the ban on women driving. These changes have been the result of increased globalisation. Furthermore, the role of Non-Governmental Organisations and IGOs in promoting women’s rights on a global scale have led to more women being given the right to own property, have the right to vote in elections and greater control over their own reproductive rights. However, despite the progress that has been made, some critics suggest that this places women in conflict with traditional ideologies. Examples of this include the shooting of Malala Yousafzai for advocating education for girls.
One way that war and conflict may affect the process of development is through damaging the infrastructure of developing nations. As stated in Item K, damage from conflict is likely to ‘take up a considerable part of a state’s resources’, for example in reconstructing roads, railways and airports that have been damaged through conflict, which stops the trade in goods moving in and out of the country and distracts investment into the nation for large TNCs. Furthermore, the aftermath of conflict will also mean the need for overseas aid in order to rebuild the nation. This will inevitably lead to increased debt as a considerable part of the state’s resources will be allocated to repaying debts to IGOs such as the IMF and World Bank in return for aid in the first place. Dependency theorists would argue that in the process of rebuilding a state following conflict, much of the resources allocated through aid end up back in the donor nation, as contracts are awarded to overseas TNCs to rebuild, whilst the developing nation ends up in further debt.
A second way that war and conflict affects the process of development is through its impact on social development. Item K states that ‘wars increase inequalities because many victims are from already disadvantaged groups.’ One way this happens is through disruption to the education of children. In some conflicts, such as the civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, children have been used as soldiers by militias, disrupting their education and putting their lives in danger. Furthermore, damage to schools and other educational institutions has slowed the academic progress of the next generation in some areas. Additionally, conflict can cause disruption as many conflicts, such as the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen have caused massive displacement of people into refugee camps, where access to education for children is non-existent. However, some theorists would argue that in the aftermath of a conflict, aid is given and Western TNCs can set up educational institutions that promote Western styles of education that in the long run, can benefit the children of these nations as it provides them with the skills necessary for the global workforce and would ultimately to beneficial to the process of development.
Different theoretical perspectives would suggest that the role of transnational corporations (TNCs) in development has both advantages and disadvantages. Modernisation theorists would suggest that there are many positive functions to the role of TNCs as they brings Western ideas and values to the developing world. Similarly, neo-liberals would agree that through, the process of trade, TNCs are able to facilitate economic growth in the developing world. However, dependency theorists are less than enthusiastic about the role of TNCs, suggesting that they bring exploitation of both people and resources to the developing world.
One explanation of the role of TNCs in development is put forward by modernisation theorists. Rostow asserts that the role of TNCs is vital to the development of nations as they provide much-needed injections of capital at vital stages of development. Rostow sees TNCs as being important in helping to develop trade infrastructure by building factories in the developing world as the ‘take-off stage’, whilst the expertise of TNCs is often required to develop the infrastructure of a twenty-first century nation by building airports, telecommunications networks and banking systems during the ‘drive to maturity’. Furthermore, in Rostow’s final stage of modernisation – the era of mass consumption – TNCs provide goods and services, as well as formal employment to the developing world so that they may reach the pinnacle of development. However, other critics would suggest that TNCs exploit the need to develop and that instead of trade, targeted aid could be used to enable nations to develop according to their own needs, rather than those of the West.
A second explanation of the role of TNCs is put forwards by neo-liberals. They suggest that TNCs play a role in allowing developing nations to trade their goods, resources and services overseas as they have the distribution networks to do so. TNCs, due to their vast size, are able to provide goods and services to a global marketplace and this enables smaller providers to utilise the benefits of TNCs to start making their own profits and reinvest in their businesses. However, critics would suggest that TNCs are not motivated by development but by profit. Bakan suggests that TNCs are ‘institutional psychopaths’ that stop at nothing to make money. TNCs exploit local workforces that provide cheaper, less regulated employment than Western nations and use their economic power to drive local businesses out of operation, as well as dictating the prices that they pay for their products.
Dependency theorists, such as Frank, suggest that TNCs operate a form of neo-colonialism to keep developing nations in a state of dependency. According to Frank, TNCs operate forms of modern slavery that exploit the land, natural resources and labour of the developing world for their own profit. TNCs have been accused of environmental damage, such as Coca-Cola in India were accused of polluting the water supply of local farmers, whilst Shell where found guilty of polluting the waters of the Niger Delta. Furthermore, TNCs have used their economic power and political connections to intimidate those that challenge them, for example, Phillip Morris tobacco threatening to sue the Australian Government for banning advertising on cigarette packets. However, others would suggest that TNCs are held accountable for their actions, with $150 billion of lawsuits being processed per year against TNCs worldwide.
The scale of TNC involvement in the developing world is another concern for global sociologists. Aid, usually given by the IMF and World Bank, often finds its way into the pockets of Western TNCS in the form of contracts to assist development. An example of this would be the $20 billion worth of contracts awarded to Halliburton to rebuild the infrastructure of Iraq following the invasion of Iraq in the early part of this century. Whilst supporters would state that bringing in the expertise of TNCs helps provide expert knowledge, employment for local workers and the ability to pass on skills and knowledge to the indigenous population, critics would suggest that often the contracts that are awarded to these TNCs end up profiting Western businesses, whilst keeping the developing world in a state of dependency. Often the only employment provided by TNCs is low paid and temporary, whilst at the same time the cost of living increases, because Western TNCs sell their products in overseas markets. In conclusion, whilst modernisation theorists and neo-liberals see the benefits of TNC involvement in the developing world, others are more critical. The influx of Western TNCs into the developing world means that the people of the developing world are assumed to be incapable of development without Western intervention and often this intervention leads to exploitation and conflict. The profits made by TNCs in the era of globalisation have led to increasing global inequality and a cultural backlash against Western nations, culminating in the anti-globalisation movement and terrorism. As a result, it can be argued that the role of TNCs in the developing world is highly contentious.