“How Is Identity Affected By
Some Economic, Political,
Environmental, and Social
Dimensions of Globalization?”
Case Study
My friend asked me if I wanted a
frozen banana, I said "No, but I want
a regular banana later, so ... yeah".
Canadians Love Bananas
Canadians eat 3 billion bananas a year- about
100 per person
They are the 2nd most popular fruit in Canada
Bananas do not grow in Canada. They are
shipped upwards of 5000kms to get to here
from developing countries
Exporting Social Problems:
Panic of 1893
Over 500 banks close.
15,000 companies go out of business.
Approximately 30 percent of the rail system
jeopardized by company closures.
The unemployment figures stood at over 14 % for the
civilian labor force and over 25% for non-farm
Even Theodore Roosevelt, then the civil service
commissioner, had to sell four acres of land to keep
his family out of insolvency.
• The continuing influx of immigrants only contributed
to the massive employment problems, as more and
more people competed for fewer and fewer jobs. .
• Workers strikes: most notable was the Pullman strike
in Chicago.
With the new markets being made available, American
businessmen began to move into Central America.
Initially, it is to build overland routes across the isthmus to speed
up the shipping of goods to the American west coast and the
Asian markets.
• America’s eye had been cast on Latin America since the
days of the American Revolution.
• Thomas Jefferson was so sure that America was destined
to rule the southern part of the continent that he once
recommended that government officials should learn
• Central America, with its potential for an isthmus route
to the Pacific, drew the most attention of the American
government and American entrepreneurs over the years.
• First overland route was built as a result of a treaty
negotiated by the American chargé to Colombia,
Benjamin Bidlack, that gave the United States the right
to establish a route across Panama.
• William Aspinwall created the Pacific Mail
Steamship Company in 1846. A year later,
Cornelius Vanderbilt opened his overland route
crossing Nicaragua.
• Entrepreneurs soon began to flood into Central
America, investing in railroads, shipping
interests, coffee, and bananas.
• American involvement in the area continued to
grow at a slow but steady rate over the next few
decades, but the years following the Panic of
1893 would be the years of the Banana Men
A Short History of the Banana in North
• Bananas were virtually unknown in North America
until around 1870, when they were first imported.
• They were considered a rare exotic treat, as they
were hard to transport before they became too
• In 1876, bananas were sold wrapped in tin foil for
ten cents (about 2.25 by today's standards) each in
Philadelphia at an event commemorating the 100th
anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of
When bananas first began to be imported in quantity, the American
people were so unfamiliar with it that an article appeared in the
Domestic Cyclopaedia of Practical Information instructing how one was
to eat a banana: "Bananas are eaten raw, either alone or cut in slices
with sugar and cream, or wine and orange juice. They are also roasted,
fried or boiled, and are made into fritters, preserves, and marmalades."
Bananas & Dimensions of
Banana production is a great example of the
forces of globalization at work and how they
affect and are affected by, people’s identity.
- Created 40,000 jobs in Guatemala
- investments valued at $60 million
- owned the country’s telephone and telegraph facilities
- owned almost every mile of railroad in the country
- controlled its only port on the Atlantic Ocean
- monopolized banana exports
- not happy about agrarian reform  lobbied US government to
intervene on grounds of “stopping Communism”
They also provided loans to the
various dictators who ensured to keep
it business as usual for UFCO.
All imported material coming into Guatemala
came through UFCO owned ports.
The company was exempt from paying real
estate taxes and tariffs to Guatemala for over 99
years, and it was granted exclusive right to
transport mail between America and
Eventually, UFCO would own almost eighty percent of
Guatemala, over 550,000 acres of land in a country that is
less than half the size of Alberta.
Modern Banana Wars
• Beginning in 1999,
the United States and
the European Union
were involved in a
modern banana war.
• The United States, backed by five Latin
American banana-exporting nations, argue
that the European Union's banana import
rules favored former European colonies in
Africa and the Caribbean at the expense of
the Latin American growers and U.S.
marketing companies, like Chiquita.
• Chiquita supplies 50% of the EU's banana
imports each year, but wanted an even
larger market share.
• Chiquita grows no bananas in the US, but
few days after the corporation donated
$500,000 to the Democratic Party the
Clinton/Gore administration filed a
complaint with the WTO on behalf of
• The WTO ruled in favor of the U.S. and
Chiquita. The EU initially refused to comply
with the WTO ruling
• Chiquita then donated
$350,000 to the
Republican Party, and
the Republicandominated Congress
prepared legislation to
impose tariffs on goods
imported from the EU as
punishment for refusing
to comply with the
WTO's ruling.
• In 2001, the U.S. and the EU came to terms
• Under the terms of the deal, the U.S. has agreed
to drop a 100% tariff on $191.4 million worth of
EU export items in nine categories that was
imposed in 1999 as retaliation for the EU's
banana policy.
• Those tariffs, which were backed by the World
Trade Organization (WTO), covered mostly
European export luxury items such as British
linens, Danish hams and French handbags.
Economic Dimensions
Bananas are cheap for Canadians…
YEAH! (Or not?)
Cheapest fruit sold in Canadian
Bananas are grown on huge plantations
owned and controlled by transnational
Economies of Scale- savings that come from
producing, using and buying things in large
Economic Dimensions
Bananas are cheap for Canadians…
YEAH! (Or not?)
Cheapest fruit sold in Canadian
Transnational's control many ships,
containers and warehouses that are part of the
banana distribution process, thus lowering
Economic Dimensions
Bananas are cheap for Canadians…
YEAH! (Or not?)
Cheapest fruit sold in Canadian
Banana yields are high because of large
use of chemical fertilizers and
Economic Dimensions
Bananas are cheap for Canadians…
YEAH! (Or not?)
Cheapest fruit sold in Canadian
Labor in South America is cheap
Ecuador, Bananas &
Highest exporter of bananas to North
American markets
Ecuador bananas are cheap because the cost
of producing them is low
Question: How do they keep the prices so low?
Answer: One reason, Ecuadorean banana workers
are the lowest paid in Latin America
Question: How low is low?
Ecuador, Bananas &
In 2002, male banana plantation workers earned
about $6.40 per day! Women were paid even less,
and children are sometimes not paid at all.
Calculate how much a male banana plantation
worker earns in a month, working 6 days a week.
(There are an average of 4.3 weeks in a month).
The estimated amount that a family of four needs
per month to meet basic needs is $220. How does
this compare with the salary of the worker?
Ecuador, Bananas & Economics
-Cycle of Poverty-
Political Dimensions
3 American transnational's
control the majority of banana
Chiquita, Dole, Del Monte
Bananas are also grown in
Jamaica and St. Lucia; These
small farms can not compete
with the transnational’s prices
World Trade Organization
Environmental Dimensions
Challenges to the Environment:
Loss of forests to create large growing
areas for bananas
Example: In Costa Rica, 60% of the
country’s rainforests have been cut down
to clear land for banana plantations
One variety of banana: Cavendish
Why could this be a problem?
The Environment and Bananas
Challenges continued…
Heavy use of synthetic
Many of the chemicals are
considered hazardous to
human health
Chemicals from banana
plantations run off into rivers,
lakes and oceans, poisoning
fish, birds, and other wildlife.
Social Dimensions
Banana workers face many
Low wages
Less then needed to meet their basic
Unsafe working conditions
Workers handle chemicals without safety
equipment or training
Banana fields are often sprayed with the
workers in the field
Bananas & Social Conditions
Indigenous peoples are often displaced
because of the clearing of land for banana
plantations, and destruction of the
environment with the use of chemicals
Wildlife populations deplete leaving the
Indigenous peoples without a source of food
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