Globalization: Traveling into “The Forgotten Space”

The products we use laptops, cell-phones, clothes, and more are shipping in shipping containers through the “forgotten space…”

I got to see the documentary, The Forgotten Space by Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, that explores our international supply chain through the eyes of a shipping container box. The “forgotten space” is about the sea and ocean that 90% of our world’s cargo passes as it has become one of the most important mechanisms for the global spread of capitalism. The documentary utilized a wide range of materials, such as interviews, old footage, and clips from old movies. The different materials made the film more effective in terms of getting a message across as we got to hear from the experience of workers who were personally affected by the international supply chain. The film visits various ports like Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Guangdong, and more as it connects corporations and government entities together in our economic world, which normally would prefer to remain separate and scattered.

This was an interesting film to watch because it is something that is closely related to us as consumers and humans of this society because in one way or another we use products that go through this international supply chain. Going through the supply chain and discovering the impacts of these shipping containers have on our world and society. There are many consequences and impacts “containerization” has on our modern lives involving exploitation of labor and the degradation of the environment. One example was the truck drivers in Los Angeles, who were under “entrepreneurial” status, which means they are non-unionized, conceals the fact that they are working for less than minimum wage. It is upsetting to see how much this system has taken over the lives in people where Southern California drivers find that their quality of life is slowly declining.

Overall, I think this was an interesting way they have posed the idea of our international supply chain in relation to the spread of capitalism. The characteristic of the ships at sea looks at the capitalistic expansion into other parts of the world. The shipping containers are symbols of globalization and capitalism, as it has become the prime facilitator or globalized trade. It exposes the negative effects of capitalism and how it fosters and society of greed and self-obsession through the exploitation and displacement of other humans and the environment.

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