Are you looking for a global learning case study?

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

Well, if you are, and you are open-minded about globalisation, and want to help your students be the same, you might well look at this week’s Schumpter column in The Economist.  But, if you’re not, and you want youngsters to share your view that capitalism and international trade are the intertwined roots of all our difficulties, then don’t bother, as there’s nothing there for your comfort.

The feature of the column this week is Kenya’s international flower business which now reaches from “from seed to cellophane”, and is worth over $3 billion to the Kenyan economy, directly employing around 4.5 million people.  Of late, this has been faced with two seemingly contradictory demands from western consumers and their moral guardians: increasing demands for better value for money, and for more corporate social responsibility.

I won’t go into all the rich detail in the column about the innovation that such western pressures result in, which you can read about here, but it is worth repeating the last couple of sentences:

"… the most interesting thing about the industry is the way that it is shaking up ideological certainties.  The West’s demand that companies be good citizens is confounding many on the left by consolidating more power in the hands of giant agribusinesses.  At the same time it is confounding many on the right: far from choking enterprise, it is encouraging firms to become more productive and innovative."

For me, this makes the story an ideal one from an open-minded, ESD2-type, educational perspective, as it's about the real economy and people's livelihoods, both here and in East Africa, and it raises lots of issues, both moral and economic to chew (or choke) on, according to your inclination.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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