Capitalism An economic system in which means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market. Private ownership and free enterprise can lead to more efficiency, lower prices, and better products. Socialism A theory or system of social reform which contemplates a complete reconstruction of society, with a more just and equitable distribution of property and wealth. In practice, such a distribution of wealth is achieved by social ownership of the means of production, exchange and diffusion. Communism A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single, often authoritarian party holds power, claiming to make progress toward a higher social order in which all goods are equally shared by the people. In its ideal form, social classes cease to exist, but there are not supposed to be coercive governmental structures. Totalitarianism The government is in the hands of a minority who often rule through military might and extreme political repression. The Chilean government under General Pinochet (1973-1990) is an example of a totalitarian government. Fascism A philosophy or system of government that is marked by stringent social and economic control, a strong, centralized government usually headed by a dictator, and often a policy of belligerent nationalism (e.g. Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany). Democracy Democracy is a political system which has many different meanings and can take different forms. It can be incorrectly used as a synonym for capitalism. Fundamentally, it means a government of, by and for the people. Federalism A political system that divides powers between the national and state governments (“shared governance”). Culture The arts, customs, and habits that characterize a particular society or nation; the beliefs, values, behavior and material objects that constitute a people's way of life. Cultural identity The identity of a group or culture, or of an individual as far as one is influenced by one's belonging to a group or culture. Our cultural identity defines who we are and how we are viewed by other people. It is constructed in terms of your association with a number of important social groups, including family, gender, place of residence, economic position, and ethnicity. Ethnicity Ethnicity is a social construction that indicates identification with a particular group which is often descended from common ancestors. Members of the group share common cultural traits (such as language, religion, and dress) and at times they can be an identifiable minority within a larger nation-state. Nation A self-identifying people who share a common history, often language, a common culture and a homeland. A nation is the most persistent and resistant organization of people-culture- territory. There are more than 7,000 nations on our planet. Nationalism Close identification with the social, economic, historical and political concerns of a particular country or nation. State A territory built by conquest in which one culture, one set of ideals and one set of laws have been imposed by force or threat over diverse nations by a civilian or military bureaucracy. States can be ephemeral and may originate and disappear with the stroke of a pen (e.g. end of the U.S.S.R. on December 25, 1991). Nation State You have a nation state if a nation’s homeland corresponds exactly to a state’s territory. Multinational State You have a multinational state when several distinct nations are found together in the same political state. Ethnonationalism Strong feeling of belonging to a minority dominated by a more powerful nation. Ethnocentrism The belief that one's culture is superior to all others. Separatism Desire to break away and form one’s own (nation) state. Secession The act of breaking away. Irredentism If a nation’s homeland spills over into another state and the people on the “wrong side” wish to join the territory. Centripetal Forces A force (e.g. ideology, religion) that holds a state (nation/multinational) together Centrifugal Forces A force that disrupts a country’s unity. Raison D’être The purpose that justifies a state’s existence Imperialism The practice of one country extending its control over the territory, political system, or economic life of another country. Political opposition to this foreign domination is called "anti-imperialism.” Liberalism A 19th-century political idea which championed individual rights, civil liberties, and private property. Globalization Globalization refers in general to the worldwide integration of humanity and the compression of both the temporal and spatial dimensions of planet wide human interaction. It has aggravated many of the already existing chronic problems on our planet--such as the degree of economic exploitation and social inequality. Colonialism Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of Colonies in one territory by people from another territory in order to control their human and natural resources Neocolonialism The state of third-world countries which enjoy formal political independence, but continue to remain economically dependent on rich, industrialized countries which are often former colonial powers. Dependency A situation in which the economy of certain countries is conditioned by the development and expansion of another economy to which the former is subject. Revolution Means an alteration in the personnel, structure, supporting myth, and functions of government by methods which are not sanctioned by prevailing constitutional norms. These methods almost invariably involve violence or the threat of violence against political elites, citizens, or both and often with a resulting abrupt and significant change in the distribution of wealth and social status. Hegemony Domination, influence, or authority over another, especially by one political group over a society or by one nation over others (internationally among nation-states, and regionally over social classes, between languages or even culture). Right of Self-Determination The right of a people to determine its own destiny. In particular, the principle allows a people to choose its own political status and to determine its own form of economic, cultural and social development. Dignity? What is it? What does it have to do with “geopolitics and ethnic conflicts”? Why is it so important? Just For Fun: Cow-Artly-Definitions SOCIALISM: You have 2 cows and you give one to your neighbor. COMMUNISM: You have 2 cows, the Government takes both and gives you some milk. FASCISM: You have 2 cows. The Government takes both and shoots you. TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income. ENRON/BP/WALL STREET STYLE VENTURE/VULTURE CAPITALISM: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt / equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholders who sell the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. Sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public buys your bull.