Instruments of Change

 by Sara Schippert

As our world is becoming more technologically advanced, many countries are being forced to change their ways. Many Third World countries are in the process of modernization, though some are ahead of others. Besides modernization, there are other factors that can influence a country to change. These factors consist of the military, a charismatic leadership, ideology, bureaucracy, and religion.

The military can be a very powerful instrument of change. For example, the majority of countries in the Middle East are ruled by the military. The military is seen as a very capable institution because of the fact that it can build or destroy nearly anything. It is also most representative of the society because it includes all classes and types of people.

An illustration of the military as an instrument of change is the military takeover of Egypt, led by Nasser in 1952. The military takeover of a government is often referred to as a coup d’etat. Nasser was a member of the Free Officers. Nasser, like other members, came from a lower-middle class background and was frustrated with the feudal system that was being enforced in Egypt. Under the feudal system, only two percent of the people owned an entire 75% of the land. Due to the unfairness and the people’s hatred of the current king, the military took over the land of Egypt.

The second instrument of change is leadership, which plays a significant role in the process of change. Nasser became the leader of Egypt after the military revolted. In 1953, Nasser gave a famous speech in Alexandria where someone fired four shots at him but missed. Nasser was praised for this speech, stating "I live for Egypt, I die for Egypt." These words turned Nasser into a charismatic leader- a leader who is seen as a type of God and is a huge role model to the people. During his rule, Nasser wanted to give Egypt back to the Egyptian people. Nasser accomplished this by giving extra plots of land to peasants, passing Agrarian Reform Acts to help out the lower classes, and by gaining control of the Suez canal. Needless to say, Nasser was seen as a great leader and hero in the Third World.

The third instrument of change is ideology. Ideology is simply a belief system- what one feels is good or bad. Ideology can also be referred to as a set of political ideas or values. Many Third World countries have taken on the concept of socialism. Third World socialists prefer to reject both capitalism and communism. Capitalism reminds them of their hated feudal system and the injustices inherent in that system. They also feel communism lacks incentive because it states that people should work only according to their abilities, yet people will receive what they need from the government. Obviously, that system will not provide any motivation for its people to work harder.

Third World socialism is also admired because it advocates the idea of natural resources belonging to the nation and its people and not to the individual whose land they are located on.

Another idea influenced by socialism is that all public services should be nationalized. These public services include health care, transportation, utilities, and education. It does not feel that it is fair for basic needs to be influenced by a person’s wealth. They want them to be run by the government to emphasize service over profit.

Socialism accepts the idea of public property but rejects monopolies. Monopolies occur when there is only one company who sells a certain good to the whole country. The concept of monopolies are unfair to the people because the companies can raise their prices since they are the only source of particular goods and services.

The last concept of Third World socialism is land reform. Socialism believes that the government needs to intervene to make sure no feudalism or unjust land ownership systems are being enforced.

The fourth instrument of change is the bureaucracy, which is sometimes called the civil service. A bureaucracy is run by the government and is important as an institution because it forms dreams into reality. However, the bureaucracies in the Third World countries have many problems. The first problem of Third World bureaucracies is that it has a very old culture. Bureaucracies were developed many years ago in non-western societies. The bureaucrat was a representative of the king instead of the people. Furthermore, people looked at the bureaucrat as someone with power because they worked for the government.

Secondly, bureaucracies have a very new structure. This structure began as Europeans came and colonized the Third World. In the case of Egypt, the designers of the bureaucracy were British, but the workers were Egyptian. A clash of the two cultures often resulted.

The third problem of the bureaucracy is the behavior associated with them. It is now much more relaxed due to an increase in security. The problem of nepotism arises, also, in which hiring decisions are based on who a person knows in the bureaucracy, rather than how knowledgeable or experienced one is for the particular position.

Political intervention is also a problem with the bureaucracy in the Third World. The bureaucracy is used as a dumping ground for the unemployed. The bureaucracy has been overcrowded and has more people than needed to complete the jobs. Unfortunately, this lowers the morale of the institution because nothing productive is accomplished. The bureaucracies in America clearly seem like heaven compared to the ones in the Third World.

The last instrument of change is religion. In most cases, a person needs to understand the religious foundations of a nation in order to be able to understand a country’s culture and political system. The dominant religions in the Third World are Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

Islam is the fastest growing religion on Earth. Indonesia has the largest Islamic population. The Islamic religion is important when making political decisions and is governed by the ways of The Quran, the holy book of the Muslims. Moreover, Islam was revolutionary in the areas of slavery and women’s rights.

Hinduism is found mostly in Southern Asia and is the most dominant religion in India. The holy books of Hinduism are called Vedas, and followers have a strong belief in Karma- the idea that one’s actions have a consequence in a later life. They also believe in the Caste System. This system based on religious belief rather than economic status. Hindus believe in capitalism, for it allows their system of classes to exist.

Buddhists, on the other hand, believe in socialism, where the working class is honored. Buddhism was founded by Sidhartha Gautama. He was originally a prince but later ran away to become a beggar and to find the meaning of life. After accomplishing his goal six years later, he was known as The Buddha, which means "the enlightened one." Buddhism is prominent in East Asia and has had a revival in China in recent years.

Change, though sometimes much needed, can be hard to accomplish. It can be difficult for a Third World country to accomplish change. These instruments of change amount to stepping stones for the Third World countries to rid themselves of old ways and to progress into new ones.

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