While globalization is a relatively new phenomenon in theory, but not necessarily in history, as of 2009 it has created transnational corporations linked to government, international economic institutions, and non-government organizations. (Steger 67). With this definition bananas are a textbook example of the globalization of tropical fruit commodities. The transnational corporations of the United States, most notably Chiquita, Dole and Del Monte, have been linked to the governments of Latin and South America, the World Trade Organization, and the “organic” fruit movement. By tracing the path from banana plantations to supermarket it becomes clear how the “morals” of capitalism have permeated into the global banana market by emphasizing cheap labor, indifference towards the environment, and trade liberalization. This commodity chain of corporatized “dollar” bananas demonstrates how globalization benefits the powerfully rich fruit companies and not the countries and laborers where bananas are grown; and further, “dollar” bananas highlight consumers’ ignorance of the food they eat.
It all started with the United Fruit Company at the turn of the 20th century in Costa Rica with the Soto-Keith contract. (Wiley 71). This contract between Costa Rican president and American entrepreneur laid the railroad tracks from San Jose to the port of Limon for the future transnational company, United Fruit (Wiley 71). Because of debts owed to the entrepreneur the government gave him acres of land, which were the future banana plantations of United Fruit Company. This United States based company was innovative in the sense that they combined all parts of the commodity chain under their control for efficiency reasons, from plantation to railroad to shipping, to marketing and distribution (Wiley 70). This very capitalist mentality of vertical integration formed a banana monopoly in the region. This vast amount of control drove out any
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