Research Paper: Banana Wars and the Multiplicity of Conflicts in Commodity Chains
The Banana Wars have been positive but to a certain extent. Personally, I believe that the Banana Wars have been positive for globalization when you look at it from certain perspectives, but negative when you look at it from other perspectives. To evaluate the impact of the Banana Wars, it is important to consider the perspective of the companies that lead the production of bananas, the workers, as well as the consumers. Today, many of the bananas produced are made by transnational corporations, such as Chiquita and Dole. For these companies, globalization and the production of bananas have mostly been positive. During the 1900s, these companies got involved with political globalization, which is one reason that the experience hasn’t been completely positive. The Banana Wars were initiated when the European government started to favour old colonies. These colonies did not have to pay a tariff (tax) when exporting bananas to Europe. Consequently, the companies that were not based in these colonies were upset and started to complain to the WTO. Eventually, America started to charge a tax on European goods, and the exportation of bananas had become a political issue between America and Europe. This was one of the negative aspects of globalization for the companies, as they now had to pay more to participate in trades. Although, the Banana Wars have still had a positive impact on companies. These transnational corporations participate in economic globalization by being involved in trades.
Many countries, such as Canada, depend on trade from other countries/companies in the world to get bananas. These companies are able to make a lot of money by using economies of scales (making large amounts of bananas and saving as a result). Economic globalization has positively impacted the banana industry by letting this trade occur, while also helping these transnational companies grow. Dole is a big producer of bananas that is an American company. However, Dole, along with other companies, outsource their products from countries in South America. Due to the lack of workers rights in these countries, many workers are marginalized and mistreated, which would make their perspective on globalization more negative. Certain countries have unions that fight for minimum wage and many countries are being influenced by this. Although, there are still many countries that do not have unions for banana workers. Many banana workers are not being paid enough for the amount of the work that they do. For instance, according to the International Labor Rights Forum, some banana workers may be making as little as $3 per day. This aspect of the banana industry has been negatively impacted, as these workers are working crazy amounts to fulfil the needs of economic globalization. The banana industry is also involved with environmental globalization. The workers are constantly around pesticides and fertilizers, which can harm the environment and the health of workers. Along with this, many of these workers live in poorer countries, which results in these workers not being able to stay up-to-date with new communication technologies. They also wouldn’t be getting paid enough to be able to pay for this technology. Even though many workers would see globalization and the banana industry as a negative thing, there is still a positive side. For many of these workers, working for a transnational corporation, such as Dole, may be the only opportunity that they have to make money.
Social globalization has also helped make the banana industry a better place for employees. As a result of media and social globalization, people around the world have started to become more aware of the issues regarding bananas and working conditions. If enough action is taken, these employees will be able to have a job in the banana industry that also treats them fairly. When considering the perspectives of consumers, the banana industry can be seen as evenly positive and negative. The banana industry has increased trade and allowed people to eat bananas all around the world. Additionally, the prices of bananas are usually cheap as well, due to how the bananas are made. On the contrary, because bananas are so cheap, many people have learned about the working conditions of banana workers. This is a negative aspect because even though we know that workers are being mistreated, there isn’t much we can do about it. This makes many consumers feel guilty about buying bananas. Consumers in many developed countries have also realized that growing bananas has had a negative impact on the environment (environmental globalization). Growing bananas reduces the biodiversity in countries, and disrupts the environment that many animals and plants depend on. The transportation of bananas also harms the environment by using non renewable resources, such as fossil fuels. However, once again, there isn’t much that the consumers can do about this. Yet, the low prices of bananas may force these consumers to buy bananas instead of a different fruit. The banana industry has had a positive influence on globalization, as well as a negative impact.