Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Mansas

Today's discussion on the Mansas (Sundiata and Musa) raises a number of issues regarding how leadership has been implemented. Clearly, both Sundiata and Musa had very strong feelings about the manner in which a society should operate. Sundiata, in creating the Mali society, was attempting to instill a just and righteous civilization that would grow and thrive. Musa, on the other hand, inherited a society that already was thriving and made it even more successful.

The keys to Musa's success relied upon trade. Trade has helped push forward history through the interactions between societies that developed, and in the Mali example, the fact that Musa was able to use the commodities present in the society (Salt and Gold) to his advantage allowed him to make Mali a central power not only in Africa, but throughout the world. Trade (and the resulting interactions between civilizations) also encouraged cultural and social development across North Africa and into Southern Europe. Musa was able to capitalize on his advantages and the downturn in both Europe and the Middle East to further develop worldwide relations and increase his own civilization's standing in the world system.

So the question that arise from today involves trade. Specifically: can you think of other time periods in which trade/interactions have been the main motivating factor for historical development throughout the world?


Anonymous said...

IT'S TALIA RUBNITZ!!!- I don't know how to sign in... haha

I don't think that either legalism or Confucianism hits the nail on the head with human nature. Humans need some structure and some freedom and choosing one over the other doesn't necessarily work. This is why so many governments now a days are a combination of the two. Humans need structure to survive and prosper, yet they also need freedom. It isn't good to oppress the people, but it also isn't good to have a society without any laws or control. Confucius believed that if the people saw good they would do good, but that isn't necessarily the case. Ex) If we see our parents and our teachers doing good, that doesn't mean that the children will turn out good. It might sometimes, but often times the children will still act badly. On the other hand, if things were always legal, there might not be an urge to commit the crime in the first place. I might be totally making this up, but I remember hearing that people were thinking of lowering the drinking age, so it might not tempt people to drink before 21. Some people like to commit crimes because it “feels good to break the law and to be bad”. Legalism is bad because it provides no freedoms for the people and they live their lives around bribery, punishment, and reward. It leads the civilization in a more organized and systematic way, but it oppresses the people. I don’t believe that people are naturally bad, or naturally good. I believe that it is how they are brought up (nature vs. nurture), and both societies hit on them different ways. I don’t think that one society over the other is better or worse for human nature. For Hurricane Katrina, with the city in chaos, people roamed wild. They stole what ever they could from different houses. Some people think they are entitles to it because maybe they lost their home. They feel justified to do so. There weren’t enough police around to promote control of the city. They still had a government, but they didn’t have adequate protection. People got angry in what happened to them and took it out of different people. Laws break down in a chaotic situation, which is how it would be if they had not laws and something like this happened. That is how Confucianism is. They have a government, but no laws. When a natural disaster happens or something horrible happens, people tend to act on their instincts, which aren’t very humane. It is just a part of human nature, which throws society out of order.

Anonymous said...


matthew levy said...

The example I immediately thought of takes a step before the process of trade, to the process of production. The connection between production and trade is a very real one and is simply based on supply and accessibility. The Industrial Revolution increased the amount of products in the marketplace. Applying this to the majority of the population (whom are poor) the benefits are twofold. The initial benefit allows more items to be traded. This gives people more tools to optimize their daily requirements, thus giving them more time to pursue other things. Applying the beliefs of Aristotle, these people have more free time to philosophize and explore. Clearly, this is a motivating factor which can cause development.
There was also greater spread and understanding of culture globally. The second piece involves the dropping price of goods due to their heavy presence in the marketplace. During the Industrial Revolution, the value of the human and human labor was rediscovered. This assisted in a smooth transition into a modern, technologic world. The bar had been raised and the historical product could be defined as a flatter world. -A more connected, reliant, global setting for business to be dealt with as usual.

cindy said...

Pertaining to the question asking; during which time period was there major development because of trade by such interactions and where? Immediately i thought of the Silk Road, not only because we have previously discussed the time period and the area but also because it was one of the most well known trade routs during that period where development was the cause of trade. Between the extensive network of trade routes, it connected people from Asia and Europe. Many people exchanged valuables but also interacted with each other unlike ever before. Additionally, it was one of the longest and most prosperous routes that was the cause of great culture development.