Modern day definition of globalization takes into account world cultures and civilizations in defining globalization. On the other hand, to economists, globalization refers to the way the world is integrating to one economic domain when barriers of trade and communication are eliminated.
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From rich countries to developing continents like Africa, globalization is a topic that is spurring debate in our day to day activities. With these in mind, my essay focuses on explaining the meaning of the following statement “In African cities today, the logic of accumulation and expenditure is so pervasive, so thoroughly connected to the world economy, that it generates its own social reality” (Hoffman 405).
In regard to the article by Davis, it is reported that most of the times; Africans have the illusion that the informal sector which requires little capital to start and mostly dominated by women in Africa can be equivalent to employment in the formal sector.
The illusion is perpetrated by World Bank into the African continent and this has challenged economists as to how the low wage earners are able to meet their daily obligations if they barely earn enough money to see them through their daily needs. In connection to the world economy, the low wage earners with little or no skills become easier targets for exploitation by companies who subcontract them to the formal sector to compose the company’s workforce (Davis 20).
On a different note, Hoffman seeks to explain the way economies in the African continent are linked to the world economy. In most cases, people who are under NGOs aid and other sponsorship programs from governments outside Africa rely entirely on such aid to acquire basic services in African countries.
Many are the times such people always feel safe under the care of NGOs in such a way that if aid from NGOs ceases to exist (Hoffman 406), people in such programs would not afford their basic needs and therefore the link of African cities to world economy. When ruling governments in countries that give donor aid to Africa change hand, people in the cities and most of them in NGOs aids programs will be left without basic services (Hoffman 409).
What Davis refers to as Darwinism, Hoffman sees it differently. According to Davis, Africans compete for the few resources that are available to make ends meet but to Hoffman, it’s a means of survival where people involved have to move and occupy space in the social and also physical context. As long as moving produces positive effects, people in African cities are bound to move and occupy space for the sole reason of surviving the hardships (Hoffman 419).
In most African countries, slums are as a result of people moving from their rural homes to the cities in search of greener pastures such as jobs. The illusion that people hold that they will get greener pastures in the cities is well demonstrated by the increasing numbers of slums which is an eyesore to the cities and therefore becomes a suitable ground where crime and violence is breed.
People who end up jobless in the urban cities turn to the slums as their only option rivaling with others for the same scarce resources a situation which Davis refers to as Darwinism. For countries in the African continent, reality is that, the informal workforce founds terror groups where robberies and crimes are organized and this adds to the discomfort of the few who are rich and working in the formal sector in the cities.
On the other hand, Hoffman argues that the barracks are places where labor is continuously organized and taken to places it is most needed. Yes, it is also a way through which surplus production of labor is absorbed but nonetheless a practice that is becoming alarming in most African cities.
I tend to think that Hoffman and Davis have a central point of view where their ideas have a jigsaw fit. To Davis, the surplus labor is organized in slums in the outskirts of most African cities and this is caution for the danger of violence and insecurity that looms in such places.
On the other hand, Hoffman sees the barracks as places where violence can be contained but the speed in which people enter the barracks and are positioned elsewhere is a state that is posing threats to the African cities more so with the liberalization that these men who have been to the barracks can be hired to provide security by individuals.
The movement in and out of the barracks needs to be regulated (Hoffman 408). Organizing people into barracks cannot be blamed on the people and the environments created (Weizman 70) are as a result of the contexts that the armies are in such that they only tend to move or be deployed to areas where their services are needed.
City of god is a movie that has a close relation with the situation discussed by Hoffman and Davis. The gap between developing countries of Africa can be compared to the two cities in the movie. The earthly cities are compared to the developing countries talked about by Hoffman and Davis, those countries whose citizen’s mere survival depends on foreign aid by NGOs and whose main source of income is through the meager earnings gotten from the informal sector.
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The idea is thought to be unreal to sustain an economy. The city of god can be juxtaposed in the sense of countries that offer aid to developing countries and who absorb surplus labor in African countries to their multinational companies. Cartoneros is another movie that portrays the poor as people who suffer the most amid all the talks of what needs to be done to avert such situations.
For instance, the way developing nations in Africa rely on aid from the developed countries in Europe. To recap it all theses developing nations are at the mercies of donor countries to the extent that if governments of the donor countries change hands, the decisions to give the developing countries aid would be at the hands of the ruling governments. In a way both movies are relevant to the reading and they depict the articles in a more practical way.
Davis, Mike. “Planet of Slums: Urban Involution and the Informal Proletariat.” Mexico. New – left Review. n.d. pp. 5 – 34.
Hoffman, Danny “The City as Barracks: Freetown, Monrovia, and the Organization of Violence in Postcolonial African Cities.” New York. London. W. W. Norton & Company. n.d. pp. 402 – 427
Weizman, Eyal. “Walking through Walls.” Bromley, McMillan – Scott Services. n.d. pp. 72 – 89.