The Dark Side of Logistics

Last weekend I watched “Darwin’s Nightmare”, a documentary that shows the devastating effects of the globalization on the inhabitants of Mwanza, a Tanzanian fishing village of Lake Victoria.

darwin's nightmare

The entire documentary is connected to the Nile perch, an alien fish species that was introduced during the sixties into Lake Victoria, and since then they have devoured every other kind of fish in the lake, also destroying the local ecosystem. A local fish industry (financed by the European Union and the World Bank) has been created to clean and strip the fish flesh, which is finally exported to wealthy countries. Around this industry, all the inhabitants of a country desolated by famine, endless wars, and AIDS, try to survive either offering their services as fishermen or factory workers, or either collecting and eating the factory food scraps (since they cannot afford fish prices). There are also prostitutes who keep company with the planes pilots and farmers who handle the rotting carcasses.

Paradoxically, the logistic system is working very well. The cargo planes are carrying to wealthy countries tons of processed fish, but it seems that these planes are not coming empty to Africa. The author tries to find out what the planes are bringing to Africa, and it appears that most of the times they bring weapons that fuel the continent’s wars.

To sum up, the documentary shows how the logistic system guarantees an effective forward and reverse flow of goods, in order to make the transport system profitable. In addition, the logistic system is supporting the development of many industries, although, in this case, the wealthy countries are taking all the benefits at African’s countries expense.

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