The first part of the course introduced some of the basic
concepts of the globalization, including arguments for and against free trade
and globalized production systems. In this group assignment you will be asked
to think these issues through an analysis of ordinary “stuff” and how it came
into your possession.
Our introduction to the politics of globalization emphasized
how the new mobility of finance, production, and people have transformed the
nature of production as well as the relation between production and the state.
We have discussed globalization in terms of time, place, and space, as well as
in terms of the connections and dependencies that exist between different
places and lives as a result of the global economy. The global capitalist
economy today is connecting people and places at a higher speed, scope, and
scale than in the past. It is also generating increasing amounts of
wealth. Yet relationships in the global
economy are highly unequal and geographically uneven. There are new geographies of inequality, not
only between the “developed” countries/regions and the “developing”
countries/regions but also within these countries/regions. (There are
peripheralized places and people inside ‘core’ nations as well.) In this project,
you are asked to reflect on these issues.
Transnational corporations are often described as powerful agents
of globalization in part due to their role in decentralizing production and
controlling webs of supply chains. Simply put, a single product, which was
produced in one location in the past, is more likely to be produced in many
sites around the globe. The cotton for a shirt may be grown in rural India,
cleaned and processed in a port city 300 miles away, shipped to Bolivia to be
woven into cloth, shipped to Mexico to be made into a shirt, and brought across
the US border to a warehouse, then to a store at a local mall before being
purchased by you. By purchasing this shirt, you are connected to the people who
worked on the shirt, from the cotton growers to the sorters, dyers, and
weavers, to the seamstresses and the corporations who handle all these
transactions. Similarly, your home location
is connected to the places where those people live and work through the medium
of that shirt. Many of these connections
are invisible, unless you/we choose to make them visible. In this sense, this assignment is designed to
help us become more aware of how global factors inform our everyday lives,
especially regarding ordinary consumer products.
Choose one item (Samsung TV) (additional Information Below on Product) that will serve as the focus for your Power Point presentation. Upload your product/commodity selection to
Canvas by May 4. We don’t want to
have duplicate items by multiple groups.
Once your product is cleared, then do the following: First gather information about the
company. Think of questions such as: Where is the company headquarters? Where are
the production/assembly facilities? Where are the markets for the company’s
products? Who are the consumers? What kind of businesses does the company do?
Is it a local or a transnational company? Why, when and how did it go ‘global’?
What are the political and economic conditions in the different sites of the
production process? What images exist to illustrate your answers to any or all
of these questions?
Second, try to
find what the company’s policies and practices are in relation to labor and the
environment. Think of questions like: Who are the workers? What kind of rights
do they have? What are the working conditions like? What are the workers’ wages
and benefits? How many hours do they work? Has the company you are researching
violated any environmental laws? Keep in
mind that an inability to find this information is also instructive, and points
to the need for greater transparency.
Highlight for us any roadblocks you encounter as you research these
Global Connections ( Possesion)
Item: Flat screen TV
Made: Tijuana, Mexico
Distribution: Samsung Electronics Canada Inc.
Company Production: Samsung Electronics America Inc.
Personal Purchase: Offer-Up
– Screen aluminum
– Circuit boards
– indiumtin oxide
– liquid crystal
Must use the attatchment as one of the sources