A Product Well Travelled

Have you ever considered where your computer comes from? And I am not talking about how you ordered it online and got it delivered in 3 days from DELL, or even how that computer made it to DELL’s warehouse in Australia in the first place. I am talking about how the computer itself was made. Where do all the parts actually come from? Did you know that the silicon used in microchips started off in as a small piece of quartz in a quarry in China, or Brazil or even Norway? They are then sent to Germany for refinement then off to Japan or the United states to be turned into microchips! That is just one of the many, many parts that make up your desktop computer.

It is all thanks to the success of globalisation that this is even possible. From the humblest of beginnings when traders would simply barter their goods with the locals on shore when re-stocking their supplies while sailing the open oceans, to settlers shipping goods from their native lands. We have always strived for new ways to gain access to what our hearts desire. And with improvements in how goods are being transported, increased speed allowing for a far greater accuracy in determining time frames companies can now access products that might never have lasted the journey because of how fragile they were, expiration date or simply because it would have taken too long to get access to what they needed. Also with the introduction of the Internet anyone can access products from across the globe.

Now when we go to the big department stores to do our weekly shop or to buy ourselves a new outfit we rarely consider where it is the product we have chosen may have originated. The oranges might come from America, and the dress you are trying on might have been made in China with materials that came from the Netherlands.

These are only the physical products that we consume in some way. But globalisation has a far greater scope. It is thanks to globalisation that we have certain TV shows. We are able to enjoy such shows as Doctor Who, a British TV show which originated in 1963 on the BBC. Or, if you want to think more recently, The Walking Dead TV series which premiered on the AMC in America on October the 31st 2010, and then going international in November 2010.

But there is a downside to how much we rely on outsourced products. With the price of some produce being cheaper to ship from other countries, farmers within our own country have often been unable to compete leaving a large surplus of product they are unable to sell.“In some cases farmers are getting as little as $1 to $1.50 per kilo (from wholesalers or supermarkets) and in supermarkets they are getting up to $7 per kilo,’’(Darley P 2015). Large quantities of unwanted produce is then destroyed in order to make way for next years crop, or in some cases they simply had to sell up and find other means to survive. And like the farmers it has also meant many small companies have been pushed out of the market because of larger franchises like McDonalds or KFC. While the ability to source and produce products is decreased by outsourcing, thus making the final sale price (at least for us) cheaper, it can also mean the quality of the product is reduced. And finally with the introduction of produce from foreign countries or even the introduction of animals from foreign countries pests, parasites and diseases have spread that were once not even heard of in the country.

Hopefully there will come a time where a happy medium is reached and the import and export industries can allow for a better competitive advantage for local growers while still allowing for foreign products to be sold.

References:

Elsworth S and Scarr L 2015, What’s super about supermarkets? Primary producers getting lowest prices in living memory,News Corp Australia Network, July 15, viewed 14 August 2015,://www.news.com.au/finance/business/whats-super-about-supermarkets-primary-producers-getting-lowest-prices-in-living-memory/story-fnu2q2e9-1227447032806

TWENEY, D 2007, What’s Inside Your Laptop?, PC Mag, MARCH 14, viewed 14 August 2015, http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2102890,00.asp

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