Have you ever wondered where all the stuff at those ubiquitous pound stores come from? A new documentary, Bulkland made by filmmakers Tobias Andersson Åkerblom and Daniel Whelan set out to find these answers. They explore the surreal world of the Futian market, a 43 million square feet spot in China that sells the world everything from their Christmas items, playing cards and wooden toys. Just to put the size of the market into perspective, the Aalsmeer Flower Auction center in Holland is 5,580,000 sq ft. almost 10 times the size.
The marketplace is located the city of Yiwu, about two hundred miles southwest of Shanghai. Every day thousands of foreign traders visit the market looking for things to buy in bulk and sell to dollar stores and other vendors in their home countries. As cheap goods have flooded world markets, dollar stores have popped up around the globe and built this present-day Klondike, connected by the world’s longest railway to markets in Western Europe.
All of this has come at a cost, this hyper-capitalism has degraded a lot of the local environments, as mountains are dug out, people burn rubbish and smog envelops the city. It has however enabled a lot of local communities to become employed and provide for their families, gone are the days of the cultural famine, now people are fed and communities have productive work.
Other developing countries have been able to climb the socio-economic ladder by adopting a similar model such as Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Laos. This cycle of trade has effected the world over as it has undercut most of the production factories in the Western world eliciting anger where especially unemployment rates are sky high. This documentary attempts to provide answers where so many questions are currently being asked.