Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Banana Perspective

Yesterday in AP Econ, we used the banana market as an example for productive efficiency. In the example we deduced that it would be much more efficient for the U.S. to produce bananas somewhere like Honduras or Columbia because the climate is much more suitable. It made me think because to most people in the U.S. this seems like no big deal, especially if we were to trade for the bananas and make a fair deal. In the novel; however, the banana farmers begin producing bananas in Macondo without trade. Marquez depicts the farmers as making a lot of changes in Macondo and doing everything to benefit the production of bananas. It seems like no big deal to the banana farmers, especially because they view the people of Macondo as a lesser society. To the people of Macondo, the banana farmers are not simply producing bananas more efficiently. The production of bananas in Macondo has major effects on the people. Not only is their town changing, but they are being used as workers and receive no fair trade. To what appears as a simple business decision to producers from the U.S., actually has huge, life-changin effects on the people of Macondo.

6 comments:

Rickeia Coleman said...

I think this is a very interesting perspective because in the US we have laws and a minimum wage that at least allows people to survive if nothing else. However, the people in places such as Latin America work numerous hours for a few cents that they cannot even live off of. The people of Macondo are an example of this and when they try to have at least one day off, the banana company uses their forced power over the people to eventually "prove" that the people don't exist because they are temporary workers. Not only are the people of Macondo worked tirelessly, but they aren't even seen as people and the book shows how the European people view the people of Macondo by referring to them as discarded bananas after massacring a great number of them. The people of Macondo are no more than a source of income for the European people.

Savannah Watermeier said...

I chose to write about the Banana Massacre in my paper. One thing I don't understand is how the US can protect its own citizens but not its foreign workers. The US has a minimum wage, like Rickeia said, but the Latin Americans worked for next to nothing. This seems pretty hypocritical. It is also a perfect example of how the Americans viewed the natives as less than human. They thought that just because someone has different color skin that they are not to the same standards as white men. The Americans had the same attitude when it came to slavery of African Americans. Also, paying the Latin Americans pretty much nothing reminds me of indentured servitude.

Joseph Martin said...

I like the connection between AP Economics and the Banana Massacre from Marquez's novel. According to today's working standards, the demands of the banana workers were very mild. They only wanted written contracts, six day weeks, and eight hour days. These conditions are unheard of for workers that are citizens of the United States. This relates to Savannah's opinion that the US protects their own workers but not foreign workers. The US wanted to lower their costs to be able to produce goods at lower prices. Technically, the US is not responsible for the working conditions in other countries, and the countries of those governments should watch out for their worker. At the time of the banana companies, the Latin American government was weak unable to stand up to the powerful American companies. After the banana massacre, the government of Columbia denied the incident ever happened because they depended on the economic impact of foreign businesses such as the United Fruit company and could not and did not want to give in to the demands of their people.

Bailey Taylor said...

I, like Savannah, also wrote about the banana massacre in my paper. I do not understand how someone can just murder innocent people and then pretend like it never happened and go about their day. This may be a bit of a hyperbole in the novel as compared to what actually happened, but Marquez makes his point very clear that the natives were treated as animals. This connects back to what Savannah said above about the Americans thinking that the natives were less than humans. They had no regard for their well-being and felt no guilt for murdering them. This system was very corrupt, and sadly, this sort of treatment still goes on in the world.

Brooke Williamson said...

I really like the discussion above and agree with everyone's opinions regarding the Banana Massacre. However, I'd like to add that it was so unfortunate and twisted that the government brought together the plantation workers as if they intended to hear their voices and concerns, when in actuality, they intended to annihilate them. I wrote about this meeting in my paper and still find it unreal that so many Latin Americans were tricked into gathering and then ultimately ended up dead because they simply wanted to fight for their basic rights. This instance goes to show another example of outside forces abusing their power, instead being dominating and oppressive rather than beneficial to the greater society (similar to the Russians and Germans in the Czech society).

Julia Scofield said...

I think that the connection between economics and the growing of bananas in Latin American countries is very important. When deciding how to create a product to sell, a company must come up with the most efficient way to make that product in order to lower their marginal cost and increase their marginal benefit. For the United Fruit Company, the solution to this problem is outsourcing labor to Latin American nations. Oftentimes when companies outsource labor, the reason that it is more efficient to outsource is because the workers are not given as many rights. In the case of the United Fruit Company, the way that they decreased their marginal cost was to make the worker work every day of the week, all day, and had to buy their food from the company store. However, just because the company has increased their profit, does not mean that their actions should be excused. Marquez wrote One Hundred Years of Solitude in order to critique the oppressive system which businesses promote and the government defends.