Critical Analysis Essay

1440 Words Nov 2nd, 2014 6 Pages
A critical analysis of “Cleaning up down South: supermarkets, ethical trade and African horticulture”
Alexandra Kitching

Cleaning up down South: supermarkets, ethical trade and African horticulture is a piece by Susanne Freidberg published in Social and Cultural Geography journal in 2003 (Freidberg, 2003). Susanne Friedberg holds PhD from UC Berkely and is a Professor of Geography in Darmouth College, New Hampshire (“Susanne Freidberg,” n.d.). In the article the author argues that the ethical standards have become fetishised. The UK supermarkets compliance with such standards edges on paranoia. It does not mean that the supermarkets care about these standards from moral point of view but that the compliance is driven by fear of bad
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This combined with the cultural and geographical distances (Freidberg, 2003, p. 33) has resulted in “homogenisation of the supply chain” in Africa (Freidberg, 2003, p. 34). The major vegetable suppliers are primarily large white-run farms. The author calls them “Benign dictators” (Freidberg, 2003, p. 33). These companies do not only have capacity to supply large quantities of vegetables but are also culturally similar to the supermarket buyers.
The author likens the ethical standards ‘mission’ to a “neo-colonial civilizing mission” (Freidberg, 2003, p. 35) to clean up the South. In addition to infrastructure improvements previous attempts were primarily about making Africa more hygienic with large emphasis on soap industry. The whites wanted to have cheap but also clean labour. The neo-colonialism Freidberg (2003) talks about expands into other areas, such as vocational training. As the ethical standards become more cumbersome, more human resource is needed to fill compliance and record-keeping vacancies. With white expatriates being traditionally more expensive, the quest for cheap labour makes vocational training of the local black population an attractive solution. However, even though more black Zambians are given mid-management jobs, the “racial ‘glass ceiling’ in export

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