Money and Slums

According to the film, increased globalization has the potential to reduce poverty levels around the world, but this has not been the case. Cities have grown as a result of increased economic activity, but the wealth gap between rich and poor continues to widen. The film features experts who offer their perspectives on the topic as well as people who have been impacted by the increased migration of people to cities. Economists provide business advice, human development experts offer their perspectives, and the varied experiences of merchants and slum dwellers interviewed contribute to the documentary’s richness of knowledge. The fact that it has captured both the historical and present conditions of globalization is critical in helping players understand the aspect of slums and money. Notably, it is challenging to balance development and poverty. Failure by governments to plan logistics involved has contributed to the problems experienced all over the world, as captured in the film. Experts advise states to balance economic growth across regions to ensure that cities do not suffer the pressure of accommodating large numbers of people. This paper analyses the economic and social issues that come with the movement of people as presented in the ‘Slums and Money’ (“Slums and Money” n.p.).

In most situations, industries set up their plants in urban areas in an attempt to minimize the cost involved in the production process. For instance, the closer they are to the market, the lesser the transport expense. Thus, they can avail their commodities at a lower price, increase their profit margin, and remain competitive in the industry. In addition, perishable goods are best situated closer to the urban areas where they get to the market on time without going bad. Fundamentally, a majority of production plants are located in the cities. Thus, it attracts men and women who are willing to abandon part of their families upcountry to work and live in and around the firms. It would be costly and hectic for anyone to live in a distant location and commute daily to the city. Therefore, it makes economic sense for people to live closer to their workplaces.

Globalization has seen territorial barriers removed and investors from all regions of the world find it easier to invest in the diverse areas of the world. Remarkably, most countries have reduced the process involved in registering and doing businesses in their territories and offer incentives on the same. As a result, cities are increasingly growing, and more employment opportunities are being created. The economic growth is directly proportional to the population increase. Consequently, the demand for housing and a limited supply of decent houses causes the rates of rent to upscale. Therefore, individuals opt to live in the slums where life is affordable. An example is Brazil where individuals stream to Rio de Janeiro and have trouble dealing with drug lords and police.

The growth of slums seems inevitable with globalization that accompanies urbanization. Growing cities is a sign of economic growth, something that every city needs. A large number of people in the city translates to an increase in trade among people who need goods and services to survive. A productive economy is one where the movement of money is rapid with a lot of exchanges. In the process, the government earns revenue that it should use to offer utility services to the taxpayers. The bad news is, that is not always the case because of most rulers, especially in Africa, thrive in impunity despite embezzling public funds. As a result, the conditions in the slums are deteriorated and lack necessary facilities like proper sewerage.

In a free market, the prices of land and housing are determined by the forces of demand and supply. Therefore, the government has no control over it, and the rates keep escalating with demand. Thus, decent housing becomes inaccessible for the ordinary people due to unaffordability. A free market is indeed beneficial for economic growth, but it limits the ability of unskilled and semi-skilled persons who earn a meagre income. Consequently, inequality grows with specific people benefiting from the increased demand for land in the cities. The real estate industries make fortunes, yet ordinary persons struggle to make ends meet in impoverished slum areas. Individuals that can afford rent in decent houses become enslaved to their landlords since they cannot make any reasonable investment or savings with the residual income.

Notably, the preference of life in the slums is arrived upon by individuals who have opted to persevere unfavorable conditions with a strategy of liberating themselves eventually. Contrary to workers who would rather spend more than half of their income on rent with an uncertain future, some slum residents decide to pay less in expenditure and save to own homes. Remarkably, saving is not healthy for any economy because it decreases the amount of money in circulation. However, owning a home is an intelligent way of cutting one’s expenses in rent, give a chance for investment, and guarantee security in old age. Despite the role that cities play in growing the country, there exists a concern regarding rural areas lagging behind. Notably, people leading simple lifestyles in the slums reduce their expenses with the aim of sending extra income to their kins upcountry. However, the rate of growth will not be equally distributed across all regions because industries are concentrated in one geographic region. Interestingly, structures are more in cities whereas large pieces of land are under-utilized in rural areas.

The disparity in the value of the property between the two regions is very vast. Notably, rural areas lack the facilities that would encourage investors to set up their plants there. The government has a role in using revenue earned from taxing trading activities to develop the less populated areas. For instance, it should build access roads and avail electricity to the remote regions to ensure ease of doing business. In addition, speedy infrastructure like air-strips will guarantee that perishable goods arrive at both local and international markets on time. When that is achieved, the pressure on cities to accommodate masses of people who migrate in search of better opportunities will be lessened. The demand for housing will consequently reduce in the urban areas, and the value of land and rent will also come down. The quality of life will improve without a doubt, and experiences in the slums will revolutionize.

Spreading development to diverse regions is a role that governments can play to offer a reasonable solution for their people. It will not only guarantee people a quality life, but it will also help to reduce the gap between the well-off and the needy individuals. That is especially because development is inevitable unless a nation decides to close itself from the rest of the world. Notably, valuable lessons can be learned from the case of China when it isolated itself from the rest of the world. Nations need each other to trade and grow since interactions expose entrepreneurs to issues and solutions that ignite the need to create efficiency. Concepts of leadership also spread through forums that are helpful for governments to improve their strategies. Free markets are ideal, but they need to be regulated to prevent exploitation of resources. For instance, selfish leaders sell off natural resources to foreign investors without benefiting locals. It is critical that governments put in place reasonable policies that will give locals an opportunity to empower themselves and also help investors to compete in the global markets.

Notably, an integrated economy guarantees that technology spreads making online business lucrative and more efficient. Advancement in technology has also improved roads that link more regions together and speed up the speed of delivery.

Rural-urban migration comes as a result of people moving in masses to the cities to seek better opportunities in life. Sacrifices made are immense and economic factors force them to live in devastating conditions within the slums. Notably, industries set up in cities because utilities required in production are readily available. In addition, it helps them to cut costs and remain competitive. As a result, cities have grown in population and demand for housing has made it impossible for individuals to afford decent houses. Experts advise governments to invest in spreading development to other regions to ensure the quality of life is upheld.

Work cited

Slums and Money: A Socioeconomic Analysis. New York, N.Y: Films Media Group, 2009.

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