Bananas, Chiquita, and Globalization

1604 Words Jun 28th, 2010 7 Pages
Bananas, Chiquita and Globalization

While globalization is a relatively new phenomenon in theory, but not necessarily in history, as of 2009 it has created transnational corporations linked to government, international economic institutions, and non-government organizations. (Steger 67). With this definition bananas are a textbook example of the globalization of tropical fruit commodities. The transnational corporations of the United States, most notably Chiquita, Dole and Del Monte, have been linked to the governments of Latin and South America, the World Trade Organization, and the “organic” fruit movement. By tracing the path from banana plantations to supermarket it becomes clear how the “morals” of capitalism have permeated
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It is at this first stage of production at the plantation where the most exploitation of workers takes place. As an article about workers’ rights in Ecuador says, “people are not seen as being as important as the final product” (Astorga 2). Because a lot of banana exporting countries have monoculture economies, most of the countries depend on jobs and income from banana producers. Most of these jobs are contracts too resulting in only temporary work. Not surprisingly, 10 cents of every dollar spent on Chiquita bananas stays in the production process (Wiley 71). Banana workers are notorious for being paid dismal wages; it should be no surprise that profits benefit the powerfully rich fruit companies not plantation workers. Ecuador , in particular, is known for paying the lowest wages because there are few unions. The average daily wage in Ecuador is $2 in contrast to $9 in Costa Rica (STITCH), allowing Ecuador to sell boxes of bananas for cheaper. With no unions, Chiquita does not pay health insurance, overtime pay or money for education. For most banana workers the threat of being fired triumphs the promises of unions, simply because Chiquita would not be profitable without cheap labor. For banana workers they must work under strenuous working conditions, often working twelve hour days, carrying heavy bunches of bananas cut from the banana trunk.

Aside from social

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