Alternate Assignment 03/03/2021
GEOG 32221-01 Economic Globalization
Exploring the 2008 financial crisis & Investigating commodity chains
Part 1. Exploring the 2008 Financial Crisis
In class last week, we explored the foundations of modern banking, the way that monetary savings are transformed and put to work as securities, and how the process of securitization drives the global financial system. The first part of this activity is going to explore the 2008 global financial crisis, and examine the effects of this crisis in a country of your choice.
1.a. To refresh, watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPOv72Awo68
Now, keeping in mind the causes and geographic origins of the crisis, let’s explore the global effects.
1.b. Read the opening pages of the following document (feel free to read all of it if you want!): https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/9789264111905-9-en.pdf?expires=1614966280&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=9406006F13BC4BD1EE0B0CE58F3C259B
Here is the text, pasted for your convenience:
“For the moment, we’re sticking together, but who knows how long that will last?” Arnaud Lemoine, 35, an engineer at Renault, summarizes the state of mind of many Renault employees – both manual workers and executives – in April 2009. During a management meeting, Arnaud learns that in order to maintain jobs during the economic turmoil arising from the financial crisis, employees earning in excess of a given salary are encouraged to reduce their working hours – which also implies reduced wages. “It’s not catastrophic. I still have work… But it still feels strange.”
That same month before the “Arab spring”, Ali El Awary, 43, the owner of a narghile and oriental crafts shop on El-Mouiz street in old historic Cairo, rails against his bank. “I wanted to diversify by opening a restaurant near Zamalek. When I mentioned the project to my banker about six months ago, he was enthusiastic. But since the crisis, banks no longer want to extend credit.” To top it all off, with a drop in tourism because of the crisis, his turnover dropped 35% in 2009. “That doesn’t help me put over the case for my project to the bankers. They speculated, they failed, and now they’re making us pay the price for their fall.”
Reality has been even worse for others. Ratry Sovath, 37, a skilled manual worker living on the outskirts of Phnom Penh in Cambodia, was laid off along with over 50 colleagues following the economic difficulties of the textile plant where she’d worked for over 10 years. “The director told us that orders had halved in six months. With three children, all we have left is my husband’s construction work salary. Life’s going to get very difficult.”
These three situations in three different regions of the world have a single origin: the financial crisis, which originated in the United States. Surprisingly, it affected most world financial markets almost simultaneously, then turned into an economic crisis in many countries. Recovery has been rocky at best, and has led to questions being raised not only about the financial markets and the behavior of banks, but also globalization itself. Until now, it could be said that the imbalances and instability caused by globalization were the inevitable reverse side of the prosperity brought about by opening borders to trade and capital. The world had already gone through serious financial crises (the 1994 Mexican crisis, the 1997 Asian crisis, the burst of the Internet 8. The 2008 financial crisis – A crisis of globalization? OECD Insights: Economic Globalization 129 bubble in 2000, the 2001 crisis in Argentina) at a quickening pace that paralleled globalization. But they were always limited to one country, or at worst one region. This crisis seems to have vindicated the most virulent critics of globalization, by endangering the economy on all five continents.”
Though the 2008 financial crisis was brought on by speculation in the U.S. housing market, the increased globalization of finance spread the impacts of this collapse across the Globe.
1.c. Choose a country (you may choose from the three listed above or others) and research the impacts of the 2008 financial crisis on that country. In no less than 350 words, please summarize the impacts of the 2008 global financial crisis on that country. You will need to do some research and cite your sources here to support your claims – you do not have to use a formal citation style, just paste the website links you use here. Please use reputable sources (AKA don’t cite me Wikipedia).
In your paragraph, think about the following questions:
Why did you choose this country?
What were some of the immediate effects as the global markets went into recession?
What were some of the large-scale, or national effects? What may have been smaller-scale, or local effects?
What were some of the long-term effects of the crisis? How has the country recovered since?
Please submit your writing here:
Paste your source links here:
Part 2. Investigating Commodity Chains
This week in class, we’ve discussed the development of commodification, commodity chains, and the ethics implied by these commodity chain arrangements. To connect this idea to your own life, you’re going to pick one item you use routinely and explore as much as you can determine about the commodity chain that brings it to you.
2.a. First, choose a product or item you use routinely (at least once a week). Find out as much as you can about where it (and its parts) comes from. Use at least 200 words to describe what you found, and post your links below:
Please submit your writing here:
Paste your source links here:
2.b. To end, please read the following blog post: https://nautil.us/blog/the-secret-life-of-everything-where-your-stuff-comes-from
I’d like you to reflect on the following questions in about 100 words below:
What is your first reaction to this article? Does it strike you as odd that we can’t find the source, the original source, of most of our stuff?
Does this reporter’s experience match your own experience above in any way?
The article states that we know more about the “flows, not sources” – what does this imply about our globalized economy?
How does this affect the ethical/moral dimensions of producers and consumers in supply chains as we discussed in class – if we can’t even always be sure where things come from, does it even matter? Who is responsible for being responsible about these very complex and hidden supply chains?
Your reflection here: For more information on Economic Globalization see this: https://www.britannica.com/topic/globalization
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