The English men say that no man is an island, and so did many countries realize when they welcomed globalization.
Globalization involves interaction between different countries’ markets and businesses in order to achieve special unity and mutuality amongst them. Nations expect more excellence and prosperity, to fight against poverty and better the lives of their citizens from this global unity. Unfortunately, globalization does not meet the expectations of all members, despite the fact that some greatly celebrate this unity. Many are disappointed, pulled down economically and in others, the poverty levels increase instead of reducing. However, there are they that enjoy much gain and success, but in many developing countries, people are pulled down to a state of oblivion they never imagined they would be in. Yes, to some developing countries, globalization brings more misery than prosperity.
Effects of Globalization on Argentina
Among the developing countries that live under terrible economic downfall, resulting from this global unity is Argentina.
The country took loans from the world’s financial organizations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. These organizations lend money under harsh conditions, but since Argentina needed assistance, she had no choice but to accept the conditions. The terms of agreement allowed the lending bodies to sell national industries to foreign global corporations, downsize social programs, and shift economies towards export for the global markets (Pogge 16). The more Argentina and other developing countries got in debts, the more the World Trade Organizations gave more strict conditions.
Inability to pay back the debts and loans left Argentina and other countries in misery than they could handle; unfortunately, Argentina has never mastered the economical strength to overcome this setback fully. Argentina faced a hard reality of economic downfall in the month of December 2001. The impacts of this fall run deep in the society devastating the poor even to date. This is what inspired McLean to shoot the Los Cartoneros documentary. Financial ministers all of a sudden realized that there was little ready money left in the country since it had been invested overseas or that corporate executives, political bureaucrats and some International Monetary Fund representatives had taken enough money for themselves (Pogge 17). The government’s immediate response was to increase duty and freeze every private account.
When foreign investors realized this, they sidetracked their money to other investments and the country remained almost bankrupt. Due to the inflation in the country, many people lost their jobs and had to look for ways of survival, and this was the birth of the Cartoneros. Although the aim of globalization is to increase opportunities, it is not so with Argentina. The country stands as one of the big globalization losers. The rate of the nation’s economy downfall was so high that over 58% of its citizens were left living below poverty level. However, it is surprising how fast Argentineans responded to the economic downfall and the manner in which they invented survival tactics.
However, after about five years, the government went back to global policies and invited many more investors, and others to buy their national companies. This has pulled Argentina low and it remains among the poor countries in the world. The government is paying the debts and enforcing the authorizations they had agreed with the World Trade Organization managers. The common citizens carry on with life, many of them choosing to deal with consumer-related businesses. Life is not the same again, previously working and well paid men and women have to find ways to raise their families and feed children. Among them, some have joined the Cartoneros business, which is their way of survival. Cartoneros are cardboard collectors; they collect waste cardboards and other recyclable matter in the city, they sell them and to get money to sustain their families.
Majority of them did not start as cartoneros but they are victims of negative influence of globalization in their land. McLean says that around “100,000 cartoneros in Buenos Aires alone are people who once held steady jobs but who are now forced to support their families through a survivalist form of self-employment that yields sub-poverty income.” Although cartoneros are poor and underemployed people, had it not been for the loss in globalization in their country, they could be prominent people in the society whose effort would do the nation proud. Sadly, now they are the people who go with their whole households to the garbage bins to collect cardboards, a job that the city’s waste management organ is supposed to do. In addition to cartoneros being proper victims of their countries erroneous trade policies, they unknowingly carry on the always-flourishing disparity in global trade as poor scavengers to big recycling industries. They collect waste, take it to the depositories, receive negligible salary, and continue in the same routine.
They do not know that these depositories are agents of international corporations, and when they collect the materials, they send them to owners of the world’s big recycling industries. The industries then send the new products, from the recycled waste, and they sell to the same Argentineans at very high costs, compared to the salaries they get during the collection. Poor cartoneros do not even have anyone to care for their health issues, job security, and dangers involved during their visits to the garbage bins. Recently, the government offered them trains to fetch the cartoneros that live outside the city daily.
However, the train is unsafe and in questionable conditions. The government has also offered them a place to take their children at least to gain some formal education. To meet their health concerns, the government has now offered them hand gloves and demanded that they buy carts to carry their collection, but the carts need more money to purchase and to maintain.
Certainly, it is hard for the free trade benefits to drip down to the cardboard collectors. No matter how high the benefits may be, they will not get to cartoneros unless the government and the multinational recycling industries decide and purpose to make a change. The partnership between the government and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank has only increased the struggles of Argentineans to earn their daily survival and make a living, and who prior to this partnership had enjoyed every comfort of well paying jobs and good living standards. Los Cartoneros explores how globalization and poverty influence the lives of the Argentineans living during them.
Globalization in City of God movie
Brazil is another victim of globalization as depicted in Meirelles’s movie, City of God. Because of the government’s failure to make calculated decisions in its involvement in the globalization, Brazil is another loser in globalization. Crime rates in the setting of the movie are so high that even as one walks in the streets of the city is not sure whether he/she will reach the destination or meet with death.
The storyline of the movie is a true story that took place between mid-1960s and early 1980s. The government ruling in the city has contributed much to its current state. According to one of the actors, Rocket, the City of God “is where politicians dump their garbage…criminals and homeless families pack them up and send them to City of God!”(Meirelles). Consequently, slum life hardens the children in the city such that they do not fear death or bloodshed. Every child in the city acquires a gun even before he barely walks! The City of God movie is one of the best selling movies that have caught the attention of many countries in the world. It shows the levels of crime in developing world, not because they would have wanted it that way, but because of poverty levels that define the common person in Brazil. Legrain says the movie “has sparked a national debate in Brazil… raised awareness in the United States, Britain, and elsewhere because of the terrible poverty and violence of the developing world” (7).
It is a call to the developed countries to chip in and help to raise the standards of living of the people living in developing countries. As the purpose of globalization is to improve countries’ standards of living as they work together, then the world organizers of globalization should also consider this. Unfortunately, Hollywood critics dispel the City of God movie because it is not a Hollywood movie, and because it has caught the attention of many people across the world.
The film is directed by an infamous person, and the cast contains some locally trained actors, unlike many Hollywood movies with the most popular and professional actors. Further, the focus of the movie is not an individual but a condition; the slum filled with drug addicts, the poor, and the filthy. Ironically, the person who owns the movie, directed by an unpopular fellow, is “one of those big global companies” (Legrain 7). Once again, the same experience like in the Los Cartoneros documentary. International companies and industries take advantage of the developing countries instead of supporting them to grow even higher. The two cases depict globalization as an organization for the interest of few countries but a means to take advantage of others. Few countries make money and profits from the global market. Their improvement comes from exploitation of some developing countries and its citizens, leaving them sinking deeper and deeper in poverty, while they rise higher and higher in their economy.
Financial and economic globalization and the development of globe trade have brought considerable profits to countries around the globe. Nevertheless, with Argentina and Brazil, it is different; the two countries have fallen victims of the globalization dark side. Involvement of the two countries in the world trade has left many people jobless, many living below poverty levels, others living in slums, while other are exposed to highly criminalized society. The two movies portray the negative side of globalization, and the negative impacts it can have on the society. In conclusion, therefore, although globalization has led to the improvement of the economic and financial status of many countries, many other countries have suffered loss from the same as discovered in the two movies discussed in this paper.
Legrain, Philip. “Cultural Globalization Is Not Americanization.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 49.
35 (2003): 4-18. McLean, Michael, dir. Los Cartoneros.
Mindful Collective Media, 2006. Film. Meirelles, Fernando, dir. City of God. Globo Filmes, 2002. Film.
Pogge, Thomas. World Poverty and Human Rights: Cosmopolitan Responsibilities and Reforms. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002.