Week 4 Blog Post

Mary Crawford – 110209140

The gap between the wealthy and powerful and the poor and powerless can be measured in the opportunities available to them and the success rate within the two groups. The gap remains unable to shrink due to the out of control capitalism in which they are marketing “to the poor”. Western companies such as Unilever and Avon, are benefiting from the poverty experienced by the people in Africa and continue to reinforce the segregation between the rich and the poor. It seems as if large brand name companies such as Coca-Cola are doing all they can to suck Africa dry of all it is worth and utilizing capitalism in order to offer cheap labour in Africa and therefore cheap prices for the western world.  They pride themselves on stimulating the government through the creation of jobs by moving their manufacturing stations to Africa but in reality only make breaking free of the poverty cycle that much harder. Although the marketing is geared towards the low income population, most of their advertisement consists of white european/westerners rather than a face they would more likely relate too. This could connect with the article about South Africa and the continuing racism and this idea that white means wealthy. It could be possible that the “poor of Africa” will feel compelled to buy these companies products because of the wealthy image it creates. This is parallel to the skin lightener and how over time, more and more of the population has become more inclined with the “white wealth” and appearing as if they are apart of it. This demonstrates how neoliberalism plays a role in the development of Africa. Furthermore, in the article by Dolan, “Capital’s New Frontier: From ‘Unusable’ Economies to Bottom-of-the-Pyramid Markets in Africa” presents a similar problem Canada is facing right now. The Conservative government has attempted to stimulate the economy and create jobs through the “trickle-down” theory that by giving financial support to the wealthy elite, it will eventually make its way down to the lower class. More often than not, the support never ends up getting all the way down to those who need it and job creation is normally not on a large scale. Considering our government cannot even figure out how to provide jobs to those who need it and maintaining a stable economy within our own country, we are in no position to begin suggesting anything to anyone else. When the recession hit, the American and Canadian governments assisted many car manufacturers and other large companies out of bankruptcy but thousands were still being laid off. The trickle-down theory has proven not to work well, so why should we expect the Botton-of-the-Pyramid method to work any better?

Discussion Questions:

– How does colonialism play a role in the way capitalism is abusing the poor?

– What alternatives are there to the Botton-of-the-Pyramid method?

– Should there be limits or regulations for large companies about manufacturing in poverty-stricken countries?

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