Week 4 – Neoliberalism revisited: entrepreneurship, consumerism and global capital

Breeanna Campbell – 110671150

This first article, Death ‘On the Move’, discusses the funeral ‘business’ in Africa. Funerals in these cities are very large and expensive. Not only are they shared with the close family and friends of the lost loved one, funerals are shared with the entire community. For this reason, the author discusses how funerals are becoming (or perhaps have always been) a form of entertainment. The increasing growth and cost of these funerals have created new business opportunities and a demand for this funeral business market. Are funerals for profit, with fancy coffins and expensive holiday dates?

The Gugulethu Mall article discusses the struggles between the locals, the “white locals” and the westerners. There are many critiques that argue that this space is a “white space” and not built to benefit locals. However the builders and entrepreneurs argue that it was meant to create jobs for locals and would be available for them to open shops in. These opinions have created lasting tensions between the divided communities. In this context, is entrepreneurship linked to Westernization? How can this be overcome?

I found the article on Skin Lighteners, Black Consumers and Jewish Entrepreneurs particularly interesting. To begin, I struggle to understand how victims of colonialism would want to mirror their colonizers. However with this aside, there are also deeper racist and feminist aspects to be considered. The products from the Kroks brothers were extremely popular and fit a particular knish during this period, for this, I believe they were opportunists. It is hard for me to truly criticize their actions without further knowledge regarding their intentions and they level of knowledge they possessed of their products during this time. Where they aware of the hazards and problems that would arise? Did they believe they were being ethical? After the events that followed these products, I wonder how tanning became acceptable…I am also interested to see if this backlash of consumerism and products will happen to other items in our generations… Example: cell phone use, GMOs, and grocery stores.

All three of these articles discuss consumerism and entrepreneurship in Africa and make me question who decides when trade and/or consumption is ethical?


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