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Thread: Increasing urbanization in the second/third worlds and it's effects on conflict

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    Council Member Kevin23's Avatar
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    Default Increasing urbanization in the second/third worlds and it's effects on conflict

    According to the international relations scholar Parag Khanna at the New America Foundation, the world is again becoming divided into spheres of first, second and third world. In which the first world composes of nations that are fully developed and advanced economies and three main superpowers, the US, EU, and China. However, most important for this discussion is the second world and third world. The second world is mainly comprised of such nations like Nigeria, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, The Philippines, Pakistan etc, that first world powers compete for in terms of finding clients or contracts from this tier of states. While the third world is made up of nations is largely similar to second world nations, however they tend to be states that are much poorer and progressing in stagnant matter in terms of their economic development, as well as tending to suffer from even greater social, political, or economic instability then what is seen in second world countries like Indonesia, Mexico so on and so forth.

    Overall the concept described above is one of the first world and the superpowers within it comprising a core. While the second and third worlds pertinent to this discussion are ether swaying vastly in between as in the case of the second world, or one the periphery with the instance of the third world.

    The parts of the theorized system by Parag Khanna, that I describe above. The second and third worlds, are rapidly urbanizing as part of a global trend in that direction of development in which cities of varying sizes are popping up from Manila to Cairo and Lagos all the way to Guatemala City. And as I mentioned above, many of these states in both the second and third world have many stability issues due to the fact that they face a wide array of internal and external issues. Now if mega-cities of populations of more then 15 million are added to the mix, where the average income in an urban area like Lagos or Karachi is a dollar a day along with further adding all the new challenges this urban development is going to cause. One has to wonder what the effect geopolitically is going to be.

    Now my question and what I ponder about, is what is this trend towards rapid and massive urbanization in the second and third worlds going to mean in terms of future conflicts and stability in these two spheres? In addition, what are is specifically going to mean for everything from internal conflicts like civil wars to regional or transnational insurgencies?

    So overall, what's the opinion on the issue of rapid, large-scale urbanization in the second/third world and what it means for the various types of conflict?
    Last edited by Kevin23; 08-17-2010 at 07:43 PM.

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    Default Trend line

    Of course trends are always easier to see in hindsight, but in general I think we have ample hindsight to see what the future holds in store for us. Large cities in undeveloped or developed nations present a security and economic problems that is beyond the means of the State to control, so we see the rise of large urban gangs (that can go transnational when their members migrate looking for better opportunities), and the rise of gray and black economies that will become the norm in short order. Any attempt by the State to destroy these new security arrangements (gangs) and economic structures will be meant with great resistance, which in a way could resemble a civil war or insurgency, but I think we'll need new terms to describe this form of conflict (it isn't new, but the scale will be much large than we seen in the past). Already visible in Mexico, San Palo, etc.

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    Council Member Kevin23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Global Scout View Post
    Of course trends are always easier to see in hindsight, but in general I think we have ample hindsight to see what the future holds in store for us. Large cities in undeveloped or developed nations present a security and economic problems that is beyond the means of the State to control, so we see the rise of large urban gangs (that can go transnational when their members migrate looking for better opportunities), and the rise of gray and black economies that will become the norm in short order. Any attempt by the State to destroy these new security arrangements (gangs) and economic structures will be meant with great resistance, which in a way could resemble a civil war or insurgency, but I think we'll need new terms to describe this form of conflict (it isn't new, but the scale will be much large than we seen in the past). Already visible in Mexico, San Palo, etc.
    Very true on the points you making, in which I especially agree with the last characterization you made.

    However, even though cities both in the developed and developing world pose security challenges of all types, I think that as I pointed out previously that the rapid development of mega-cities and urbanization in the second and third worlds i going to pose even greater security and overall geopolitical issues.

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Peripherally relevant comment from the "second world"...

    Important to note, I think, that rapid urbanization is often a consequence of extreme poverty and economic stagnation in the countryside, generally driven and exacerbated by a combination of terrible infrastructure, rapid population growth, and the political and economic dominance of feudal elites who often use illegal means (such as armed force) to discourage political or economic competition.

    People migrate to the city because it's seen as a place with opportunities... $1 a day may seem pretty miserable, but it's more than nothing a day, and there's always that chance of hooking onto something.

    Excessive focus on the cities can distract from a desperately needed focus on rural development. Can't fix one without fixing the other... if there are 2 million unemployed in Manila and you gave each one a job tomorrow, in a week there'd be 4 million more arriving for their chance.

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    Council Member Kevin23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    Peripherally relevant comment from the "second world"...

    Important to note, I think, that rapid urbanization is often a consequence of extreme poverty and economic stagnation in the countryside, generally driven and exacerbated by a combination of terrible infrastructure, rapid population growth, and the political and economic dominance of feudal elites who often use illegal means (such as armed force) to discourage political or economic competition.

    People migrate to the city because it's seen as a place with opportunities... $1 a day may seem pretty miserable, but it's more than nothing a day, and there's always that chance of hooking onto something.

    Excessive focus on the cities can distract from a desperately needed focus on rural development. Can't fix one without fixing the other... if there are 2 million unemployed in Manila and you gave each one a job tomorrow, in a week there'd be 4 million more arriving for their chance.
    Given that you live in a second/third world country, I would have to take your word for it. As I would also agree that the desperation of the even further impoverished and underdeveloped countryside leads masses of people to seek oppertunites somewhere else no matter what the risks might be, which would be just common sense also.

    Also since you put the this in the context of rural development, then a focus on urban development as many 2nd/3rd world and even some 1st world countries are doing now would only fuel the current issues faced.

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    Kevin:

    Dayuhan's comment: Can't deal with one without the other.

    Problem is urbanization proceeds whether prosperity or not, but lack of prosperity really drives the negative consequences to the cities.

    Look at Iraq. Rural to urban migration has been a permanent drive for decades, but it is kind of interesting because, like german farms, the farmers can live in a town, and travel out to the land. So their kids get schools, and they have centralized services and support, without crowding the big cities.

    When you have serious drought, etc.., desperate folks crowd into broken city neighborhoods, and many bad things happen.

    Was it easier to track down OBL and his friends in the wilds of Afghanistan, or in a mega city? I suspect the better shield was to be in a big, anonymous city slum.

    Steve

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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin23 View Post
    Given that you live in a second/third world country, I would have to take your word for it.
    I wouldn't suggest making that a habit, but since my opinion is involved in this case I'll say it's a good move .

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin23 View Post
    Also since you put the this in the context of rural development, then a focus on urban development as many 2nd/3rd world and even some 1st world countries are doing now would only fuel the current issues faced.
    This is nothing new... Governments tend to be more concerned with instability in urban populations. A rebellion in the countryside is seen as a long term problem that you may be able to squash without anyone noticing, while an urban insurrection can throw you out tomorrow. Governments in many of these countries are not, alas, always concerned with long-term planning and addressing root causes.

    Sometimes measures taken to pacify an urban population can exacerbate problems in the countryside... more than one short-sighted ruler has put price controls on food to please the urban consumer, not anticipating (or not caring about) the impact on rural producers.

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    The problem of urbanization begins with planning. If large urban city planners and their leadership fail to plan for the population boom, it can lead to over burdened resources for the government. This burden leaves the inhabitants without adequate housing, employment, and access to health care. The struggle with urban crime also becomes paramount for the local authorities to manage. All of these factors can certainly fuel conflict that could lead to spillover effects of civil war or even perhaps revolutionary movements.

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    Redlegs:

    I'd focus a little more broadly.

    On a very general basis, stay focused on Dayuhan's comments from the perspective of a rural inhabitant, who can, like Europe, prosper as a niche farmer in an urban truck garden shadow---about 50 miles depending on transport links.

    That aside, rural inhabitants face starvation and death from weather, crop failures, market or market/political forces.

    Two hypothetical responses to challenge: Huddle up into tight protective bands, or move to the city.

    Best planning (if practical) may be to support small regional satellite towns that can help make far rural life more tenable. This in lieu of trying to fix the mega city.

    Folks were intrigued by all the farms in Baghdad city. Look at the depopulating towns (Detroit), etc., as on the same path (boom bust) that drove some of this.... want to farm in Detroit? Plenty of small parcels unused.

    At the 50,000 foot level, I am interested in the population settlement expansions across Pashtun historical territories, together with other pressures (radio, tv, etc...) on the old ways and links. How is that big mega-trend related to the conflicts we stumble around about down below?

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