Sample Culture and Ethnic Studies Essay Paper on Maquilapolis

            Maquilapolis, which can be described as the City of Factories was formed after the Maquiladora treaty between Mexico and the United States was created that, authorized the establishment of industries at Tijuana. This essay describes the effects of globalization that are evidence in the Maquilapolis 2006 documentary, which stemmed from the establishment of these factories.

            Globalization of production refers to the practice of obtaining goods and/or services from different areas around the world in a way that takes advantage of the differences in the laws that govern the costs of factors of production in different countries. Most of the women living in the region are single mothers who are also poor. To cater for their children, they work in the factories despite the harsh conditions characterized by low wages and exposure to harmful chemicals such as lead. The globalization of production is reflected through the low wages offered to these women in exchange for their labor at the factories. The lack of functional workers’ unions at the companies and refusal to compensate the workers in cases where the companies relocate also affects the women who rely solely on these factories. The women are paid $11 per day, which is not enough to cover the basic needs of their family. In the documentary, they state that buying a gallon of milk equates to approximately two hours.

            In terms of their bodies, the exposure of the toxins from the factories contribute to skin illnesses, risks of diseases such as leukemia, and development of kidney problems. Carmen one of the activists suffered from kidney problems because of working in the companies for six years. Most of the women complained of getting sores on their feet due to the wastes released from the factories.

            In the film, the women resisted by creating a team of activists and educating the other women working at the factory about workers’ rights and existing laws that support workers. They are successful and win a case against Sanyo. The company is then forced to pay Carmen a severance of $2,500 and $2,000 for the other workers. Carmen and Lourdes also organize the Chilpancingo Collective group that is aimed at fighting for the rights of environmental justice for the community. Their win led to the clean-up of the toxins left by battery recycling company, which had led to building up of lead waste in the area. Their resistance is made possible by their cooperation and their need to create a better future for their children.