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Explanations

Podcast recommendation: Edible Economics by Ha-Joon Chang

Alice Griffiths

18th October 2022

Edible Economics by Ha-Joon Chang, is a book adapted for BBC broadcast, and includes a really interesting, contemporary explainer about the economics of the banana in this episode. It's relevant for students digging into the Global systems topic.

It has a great pitch, in my opinion, for Year 12/13 students and, while it is all very informative, the second half (from 6 mins 30 seconds) provides a really useful explanation of the term 'banana republic' - ideal if the banana is the food commodity you use to focus in, on patterns of world trade.

The author, a South Korean economist, goes on to discuss similarities between banana agriculture and TNC-linked production more generally, i.e. which countries have benefited from hosting TNCs and why. The banana episode of the podcast is available via BBC sounds here.

Chang's comments on the limitations of 'screw-driver operations' in the Philippines reminded me of reading the interviews carried out by Naomi Klein with garment workers in export processing zones, written up in the classic economic geography text, and teacher 'must-read', No Logo.

The Edible Economics podcast series also includes the tantalisingly-named Chocolate episode, which includes the author's excoriating critique of the concept of a 'post-industrial economy'. Very topical stuff.

Alice Griffiths

Alice has taught Geography over a period of twenty years. She is a published author and editor of a wide range of A level resources and has also created award-winning, online content for younger students. An occasional presenter at the GA’s annual conference, she was head of department at an 11-18 school until 2020.

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