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CHINATOWN: An Attempt at Globalization in Sweden
Kalmar, a small town in the south of Sweden, is in dire need of an economic boost. In the face of unemployment and a dwindling population, local authorities signed an agreement with ambitious Chinese businessman Luo Jingxing to set up a commercial center in Kalmar. This amusing and relevant film shows the problems that emerge when the tigers of the developing world try to expand into Europe, and the realities of idealized globalization projects that may not always unfold as planned.
The inhabitants of Kalmar prepare happily to receive their new neighbors, but cultural differences soon rise to the forefront. The strict Swedish Health and Safety Inspectorate clashes forcefully with the Chinese desire to complete the work quickly. The Chinese workers aim to begin work without permits and balk at being asked to work with proper shoes. The venture, which pits Chinese raw capitalism against Swedish bureaucracy, ultimately leads to a failed project, the loss of money, and negative consequences for both parties. In the end, the harsh reality of the cultural clash defeated this vision of globalization.
"A revealing and significant examination of what happens when two cultures try to execute a contemporary globalized economic plan. . . The film is highly recommended for illustrating the real nature of 21st century globalization and its discontents."
David Eller, Anthropology Review Database