The Paradox of Plenty: A Legacy of Colonialism

This research paper explores the possible origins of the mindset regarding the paradox of plenty in the DRC, thus, discussing different moments relating to the history of colonialism; covering colonialism, neocolonialism,pre-colonialism, and post-colonialism.

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Welcome to The Paradox of Plenty: A Legacy of Colonialism. My paper can be explained given this situation: You are rich beyond your wildest dreams until, through a series of events, you are not able to access your money anymore because a caretaker seized it in your "best interest". Then, once your caretaker has made sure you've been "cared for properly", they will give you the inheritance conditionally. The conditions include maintaining the property, getting an education, and supporting your family. The whole premise of this is that your birthright is no longer yours and an entity, that is deemed superior, has seized what would be able to help you fulfill the requirements of becoming an active citizen in a global economy, while at the same time criticizing you for not being able to accomplish this. Now exchange "you" for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the "caretaker" for Belgium (and a number of other countries who profited off of colonialism). *This is one of the ways my research advisor explained the Paradox of Plenty. And soon, it started to shape my perception about the actual term "Paradox of Plenty" as not just an explanation of low GDPs in countries with many economic resources, but a legacy of colonialism cloaked in economic theory.

This is also not specific to the DRC as many countries in the global south have experienced this. 

I have truly enjoyed researching this topic and am intrigued to know what the Laidlaw community thinks about it. This research project has been a real eye-opener for me in terms of intersectionality between different academic disciplines and the discipline needed to accomplish a set goal. I truly appreciate the opportunity I had to write this diligently with my research advisor, Thembela Kepe, as well as build skills and develop the ones I already had. 

Joelle Weir

Student, University of Toronto

Hi! I'm currently a journalism and Environmental Chemistry student at the University of Toronto. I like to read, dance, and do yoga. I am also a MAJOR Foodie and cook all the time. My favorite classes this semester has been Intro to Journalism, Mandarin, and Stats! I also talk about social journalism and live-stream in my free time.