Tag Archives: globalization

Quoted: Richard Owen from the Times (UK) on Gastronomic Racism


The tomato comes from Peru and spaghetti was probably a gift from China.

It is, though, the “foreign” kebab that is being kicked out of Italian cities as it becomes the target of a campaign against ethnic food, backed by the centre-right Government of Silvio Berlusconi.

The drive to make Italians eat Italian, which was described by the Left and leading chefs as gastronomic racism, began in the town of Lucca this week, where the council banned any new ethnic food outlets from opening within the ancient city walls.

Yesterday it spread to Lombardy and its regional capital, Milan, which is also run by the centre Right. The antiimmigrant Northern League party brought in the restrictions “to protect local specialities from the growing popularity of ethnic cuisines”.

Luca Zaia, the Minister of Agriculture and a member of the Northern League from the Veneto region, applauded the authorities in Lucca and Milan for cracking down on nonItalian food. “We stand for tradition and the safeguarding of our culture,” he said.

Mr Zaia said that those ethnic restaurants allowed to operate “whether they serve kebabs, sushi or Chinese food” should “stop importing container loads of meat and fish from who knows where” and use only Italian ingredients.

Asked if he had ever eaten a kebab, Mr Zaia said: “No – and I defy anyone to prove the contrary. I prefer the dishes of my native Veneto. I even refuse to eat pineapple.”

—Richard Owen in his article “Italy Bans Kebabs and Foreign Foods from Cities” writing for The Times Online

Microcredit: “A political economy of shame”

by Guest Contributor Tanglad, originally published at Tanglad

It’s easy to understand the appeal of microcredit. Poor women from the Global South use loans as small as $20 to start businesses and lift themselves from poverty. The creditors make a profit when the loans are repaid. Win-win.

What do they say about things that look too good to be true?

A whopping 90 to 99 percent of these loans are paid back with interest, another shining indicator of microcredit’s success. But there is an ugly side to ensuring repayment, where poor women are made to police one another and punish defaulters with collective acts of aggression.

In her study of Grameen Bank microcredit programs in rural Bangladesh,* Leila Karim finds that the focus on the 98 percent loan recovery rate hides how beneficiaries are co-opted into “a political economy of shame.” Continue reading

Series Introduction: Globalization – Of Bond and Global Politics

by Guest Contributor Ansel, originally published at Mediahacker

Editor’s Note: I watched the Quantum of Solace the weekend it opened. This is not unusual for me, as I watch all the Bond films and like them all for different reasons. However, I wasn’t planning to write specifically on Bond until longtime reader Ansel (now of the Mediahacker blog) sent his review of the film for consideration. I enjoyed the review, especially as it touched on a matter of great importance in our current times: the effect of globalization on communities of color. And so, I am using Ansel’s review as a jumping off point for larger discussions about global politics and policy, now found using the “globalization” tab. The first of the series will go live tomorrow – until then, enjoy. – LDP

*Spoiler Alert*

James Bond, 007. For decades the British super-spy’s name stood for deadly charisma, over-the-top international espionage, and fancy gadgets – until the series took a more realist approach two years ago when actor Daniel Craig took over the role from Pierce Brosnan. The critics hailed Craig’s turn in “Casino Royale” for his icy cool and the physical presence he brought to new, grittier action sequences. This was finally a Bond for the new century, they said.

From an anti-kyriarchy point-of-view, I think Quantum of Solace better fits that description. Casino Royale’s plot was based on Ian Fleming’s original Bond novel about a corrupt financial magnate. The story took place mostly in Europe and turned on a high-stakes poker match played by ultra-rich elites.

With Solace, all the familiar elements are still there – the frenetic action, expensive cars, the constant tension between Bond and M, his boss at MI6, played by Judi Dench. As in every other Bond movie, most women in the film look like supermodels and are used or controlled by men, whether by force or by Bond’s charm. He sleeps with one of them in this movie, slightly down from absurd average of 2.5 women per film.

But James Bond fighting to protect the water supply for impoverished indigenous Bolivian villages? From a wealthy villain who poses as the head of an eco-friendly company called “Greene Planet” and conspires with U.S. intelligence to overthrow a leftist president? Now there’s something new and timely. Continue reading