Globalization of Sugar in the New Era Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  1983 Words
Date:  2022-09-05

It is important to realize that the globalization of sugar as a commodity has seen tremendous improvement since its domestication. As one of the most essential goods, the importance of sugar is underrated worldwide. This is because it has not been accorded the right attention even though sugar has become a global product being used the world over today. To restate its global image, it is true that for those who are living in the United States and some of the European countries, most specifically Britain where there were large plantations of sugar, sugar is so familiar. It is therefore, becomes difficult for them to imagine a world without sugar. Such people in their forties can easily recall sugar rationing that was conducted during the World War II because sugar production stalled during that period and therefore there was not enough to meet the high demands (Mintz, 1986). Those who came from poorer societies even felt some pleasure than those who used to consume sugar and could not during this period. The primary purpose of the essay is to analyze the inception and to know how sugar brings sweetness and power by becoming recognized in the global market.

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It is wise to acknowledge the fact that sugar has seen global growth since its discovery. A lot has been talked about in the whole essay about the global nature of sugar in the modern world. It is, however, worth echoing that in contrasting the two periods, that is, when plantation of sugar started and the modern era, a big contrast has been observed. This shows that sugar has developed to go global. It is important to note that sugar is one of the most crucial products that is exported and traded on in the world market. Countries like Brazil today get a lot of revenue by exporting a lot of sugar to other countries indicating how global sugar has reached. Initially, it was slaves that exclusively provided labor and the whole sugar production process highly depended on the input of slaves to do the production, save for the few chemical processes that were conducted by the limited number of machines. In the modern era, however, sugar production does not depend much on the human labor as before. Today, planting and other associated processes like weeding are carried out by machines, transportation, processing among others are performed by machines as opposed to earlier centuries where the whole process entirely depended on human slave input concerning labor. This signal the extent to which sugar has been recognized as a global product.

While recognizing the sweetness and power that sugar brings, it should be understood that this commodity is so plentiful and essential today in people's lives and for the whole society. It has even become notorious in our lives. However, it has received mixed reactions across the world as several wars had been waged against the disadvantages of consuming this commodity as well as receiving defense on how it has changed the living standards of the people across the world. The significant discussions and concerns evolve around baby food, breakfast cereals, obesity, and nutrition. All these arguments are centered on the sugar debate. If people restrain from consuming sugar, it will take a lot of effort and vigilance, because it is overwhelming modern societies (Mintz, 1986).

It would be of great concern to note that production of sugar would not have been realized as a global concern without the input of slaves who were drawn from various parts of the world, most specifically Africa. It is true that, for example, slaves were taken from Africa to go and work in the large sugar plantation in the United States and Britain. These areas became highly depopulated because as slaves were drawn from Africa, the population of the young and energetic individuals massively reduced (Mintz, 1986). At the same time, depopulation was felt in the United States and England as there was a need for locals to pave the way for the large sugar plantations. This led to the suffering of people which was orchestrated by the slave dealers who forcefully took slaves from Africa and sold or contracted them to work in the sugar plantations without pay. This was the onset of sugar being observed as a global concern as compared to other products.

It is worth noting that the government and others owned most of the large sugar plantations by private investors who brokered slavery deals by the slave dealers. This is why power was very much crucial during this time as different leaders across the world engaged in slavery and the slave trade so that they could be able to tap wealth. The major connection of this concern to the production of sugar is the fact that these slaves were to participate in the major production activities and most importantly in the provision of farm labor in the sugar plantations and other sectors of the economy to enhance production. The African slaves are therefore credited for helping to fasten development processes in England and the United States.

It would not sound like an overstatement to say that just in a few centuries ago, it would have been challenging to imagine that there would exist a world so rich in sugar and organized production without slave labor input as seen today. Besides, the existence of sugar was first acknowledged in the twelfth century in England. During that time, the most commonly used diet in England was quite ordinary and insufficient. This highlights the extent to which sugar has globally been recognized in the global market both concerning its worldwide production and consumption in virtually all parts of the world (Mintz, 1986). For a very long time after that, it cannot be denied that most European countries produced the foods they consumed locally in the most convincing way they could produce them.

For this reason, most of their essential products did not move far from where they were produced. It was only some of the products that were treated as rare and precious that was primarily consumed exclusively by the privileged in the society that was transported to longer distances. Commodities that were made in the homes like bread were almost everywhere and therefore were not highly demanded because everyone in the society could afford them.

As part of this analysis, it should be known that by the onset of the bubonic plague that occurred at around 1347-48 and in the early fifteenth century, European population was tremendously reduced and did not grow up to 1450. This plague disrupted several economic activities until in the mid-seventeenth century when it started to decrease. During this period, European agriculture was in a dire need for labor for the continuity of production in the farms. This was because the majority had succumbed to the effects of the plague hence reducing the population. But still, even when the population started to increase, agriculture in England remained low, and production could not sufficiently contain the people.

In the periods when sugar and other unknown products were being incorporated into the diet of the English people, that diet was still inadequate, for many individuals if not all the people. Therefore, it is in the concern of these nutritive, dietary and agricultural practices that sugar as an essential product can be understood. Most importantly, from the introduction of sugar in England up to the seventeenth century when it highly became a much-desired product in the lives of people that was mainly consumed by the rich and consequently afforded by many, this period saw limited agricultural production and a thin diet (Mintz, 1986). Even when its consumption improved, there is no established evidence that the diet of the people improved. Sugar and some few products were the only significant additions in the diet of the people in England. For the Englishmen, it is true to state that it took time for them to learn how to use sugar and incorporate it into their diets. This explains the extent to which sugar has become globalized to the level where it has become such an important commodity that people have to consume in their daily means in virtually the whole world.

It is important to note that cane sugar is a very versatile substance. In the early periods of usage in the northern parts of Europe however, it was not some single indistinguishable product. This is because it was already possible to obtain some sugars that varied from syrup liquid to hard crystalline solid types. Undeniably, sucrose was described initially regarding the functions it performed, that is, being used as medicine, a material used for decoration, as a sweetener, spice-condiment, as a preservative (Mintz, 1986). These uses of sugar were, however, often complicated to differentiate from each other. This was because these sugar uses did not evolve in any defined series but somewhat overlapped and intersected each other. In the modern world, these uses have become very much defined such that they have been defined. This shows the extent to which sugar has evolved to become one of the essential commodities in the global market. The fact that sugar serves more than one of the mentioned purposes makes it be one of the special and unique among other products.

To stress on the global nature of sugar in the modern world, it is true that sugar is no longer regarded as a sign of any rank in the societies to those who are consuming it and in some occasion as it was regarded before in most parts of Europe (Mintz, 1986). As the use of sugar increased downward and outward, it meant that the power and pride held by those who initially consumed sugar reduced making it become a new product. Additionally, concerning sweetness and power obtained from sugar, the production, refining, taxing, and shipping of sugar overseas, became reasonably useful sources of its power. This was because the amount of money that was involved in the whole of this process was so much larger. Those who traded in sugar and slavery activities became very powerful as they involved state powers. These were the most important commodities that drove power and made people more powerful. After it became a familiar and common commodity that could be afforded even by the poor, sugar lost its special meaning. Even though sugar lost some of its special meanings, it was evident that making it available in large quantities to feed a large number of poor people became a major challenge. Sugar transactions became more profitable and stated earlier; it was associated with power as trading in sugar business was lucrative and could only be carried out by a few powerful people in the society.

It is to state that in almost all over the world, consumption of sugar has helped to increase calorie intake for the majority and laboring poor, becoming one of the first foods taken in the break-in most industries. Additionally, the economic impact of sugar that helped nations like the United States and England to draw the attention of world power cannot be understated (Mintz, 1986). The sugar that was produced from large plantations could be used to benefit these economies through the process of direct transfer of profits to the various domestic banks of such nations which are further reinvested locally and internationally. This made sugar to go global through its impacts. Another way in which sugar plantations could help the economies was by acting as a market for products like machinery that were used to produce and manufacture the sugar, cloths, and other commodities that were used in the industries.


Having looked at the above, it is important to realize the extent to which sugar was important to these economies and the whole world. Significant activities like slave and slave trade revealed major deals that were brokered between the government of Britain and slave dealers who provided slaves who provided labor in th...

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