Cultural Forces In World Politics

In This Review

Cultural Forces In World Politics

By Ali A. Mazrui
Heinemann, 1990
272 pp. $24.95

Now the Albert Schweitzer Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York, Binghamton, Kenyan-born Ali Mazrui has long been educating us to the significance of developing-world cultures, traditions and outlooks in international politics. In this work he seeks to find the proper role for the Third World in what he considers to be a still Western-dominated global system. The North, he observes, has the capacity to destroy the globe through resource depletion, pollution and other ecological damage, or through nuclear war. Yet the South, he argues, cannot seek an "exit visa" from this world system. Rather it should pursue strategies for selective entry and selective participation. Mazrui suggests a number of steps: greater use of its indigenous resources rather than relying on outside assistance; domesticating, for local cultures and conditions, what must be bought from abroad; diversifying trade partners and aid donors; wider horizontal interpenetration within the Third World; finally, greater Southern austerity in using Northern resources. This is an erudite, encyclopedic and provocative essay.

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