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Using as an example the economic cycle of the sugar trade, as regulated by the Lome Convention, this programme gives the structural analysis of the unequal relationship that exists between the ind...ustrialised countries of the West and the primary producers of the Third World.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: D233, World politics
Item code: D233; 09
First transmission date: 30-08-1981
Published: 1981
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:00
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Producer: Jeremy Cooper
Contributors: Michael Shackleton; Michael Galtung; Jonathan Elsom; Sammy Johnson
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Economic development; EEC; Lome convention; Politics; Sugar
Footage description: Johan Galtung introduces the programme by defining his understanding of the idea of exploitation. He argues that poverty and richness are two sides of the same coin. Structuralism tries to explain the inequalities generated by exploitation in terms of the structure of the economic relationship. Mike Shackleton talks about the Lome Convention, with special reference to the sugar trade and then introduces a film which gives one view of the way in which the convention has worked. The film shows cane sugar being planted, harvested and milled. It analyses the uncertainty in the market for sugar and shows how the guaranteed prices offered by the E.E.C. have benefitted the A.C.P. sugar exporting countries. It then shows how the E.E.C. gains from the Sugar Protocol, especially by developing markets for its own exports. Galtung argues that the film is blind to the structure behind events. The E.E.C. gets a better deal from the arrangement. The vertical division of labour is the factor which leads to this. Mike Shackleton states that the structural implications are in the film but not drawn out. Part of the film is shown again, showing the planting, harvesting and refining of the sugar. Mike Shackleton analyses the stages in the economic cycle of sugar showing that, despite changes in ownership, the pattern of production and processing is essentially the same as in colonial days. It is still exploitative. Galtung argues that this is because of what occurs between the two countries trading and within the two countries. Complex, high-level processing involves technological spin-offs, such as education and roads. Simple procedures lead to no such developments. Mike Shackleton now looks at how Lome has altered this relationship. He looks at the way in which guaranteed prices have operated and how the terms of trade have worked against the third world producers. Galtung points out that the producers of processed goods can develop their product and improve it. This option is not open to the primary producers. Shot of man walking up a downward moving escalator. Mike Shackleton now looks at the argument that the Convention has improved interdependence between the countries involved. He argues that this idea does not point out the relative importance of the trade to the different parties. The sugar trade is far less important to the E.E.C. than to the A.C.P. countries. What is more, protection of beet producers in the E.E.C. hampers the development of A.C.P. sugar producers into other areas of the world market for sugar. Galtung argues that the raw sugar produced by the A.C.P. countries could be processed to make many items, such as alcohol or building materials. The export of sugar represents for the exporting country a corresponding loss of opportunity to develop. The Lome convention can be criticised therefore for not altering the old structure but reinforcing it. Finally Galtung explains the structuralist analysis of what holds the structure of the exploitative relationship together. He argues that elites in centre countries give a comparable lifestyle to elites in peripheral countries. The elites in the peripheral countries stand to loose their life-style if the structure is altered; they therefore are unwilling to press for change. Mike Shackleton sums up, arguing that the role of the centre of the periphery is a key factor in explaining why exploitation continues.
Master spool number: OU3677
Production number: FOUD146B
Videofinder number: 121
Available to public: no