Globalisation isn’t only about what is ‘out there’, remote and far away from the individual

“It is wrong to think of globalisation as just concerning the big systems, like the financial order. Globalisation isn’t only about what is ‘out there’, remote and far away from the individual. It is an ‘in here’ phenomenon too, influencing intimate and personal aspects of our lives” Discuss

Globalisation is the occurrence of advances in transport and communication technology. We no longer live as separate systems or societies but as one collective organism. The world as we know it is getting smaller and we now have no geographical boundaries. With the advances in technology there has been a shift in power. Industries, politics, culture, finance and economies are controlled by fewer individuals. This is globalisation on an ‘out there’ level where it only affects the individuals involved and not the lives of the average person. The individuals not directly involved see globalisation as something that is happening far away and that it does not affect their day to day lives. However they are unaware of the power of globalisation and how much they are actually involved in the process.

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‘Out there’ globalisation describes how the world is getting smaller on a political or industrial level. Politics and industry have expanded on a global scale, but at what price? With the advances in technology we are exposed to different cultures and ways of living suggesting that globalisation offers a new more diverse world. However as we look at the changes in culture in Malaysia and the Far East we can see that nations once rich with culture and history are being swallowed by a new western consumer culture.

Multinational companies have seen their opportunity through the advancements in technology to exploit not only there local market but venture into a global market.

Western powers, spearheaded by American owned

transnational corporations have monopolised world

communications to such a degree that the economic

well being and cultural identity of less powerful

nations have been mightily damaged (James Lull)

3rd World countries are seen as a sight for cheap labour and low maintenance factories. Studies show that major companies such as Nike and Shell have factories in Africa whereby they exploit the cheap labour costs (www.pbs.org/globalisation). The governments of these 3rd World countries compromise their culture due to the fact that they have been brainwashed into believing that the capitalist world that the west nurtures is a better way of living. Globalisation has caused a world system of exploitation producing what Friedman coins a world elite. This new class system perpetuates the dark side of capitalism as fewer individuals are getting richer and a lot more people are getting poorer. This new elite now has the capital and the political power to exploit any nation to make money.

Some people argue that globalisation is destructive with irreversible consequences and this is proving to be true. Dr Michael Marx, executive director of the coastal rainforest coalition states that globalisation has accelerated the rate in which Eco- systems are being destroyed in order to feed the vicious appetites of major co-operations and their shareholders. This reaffirms the point that these western powers are raping the world of their natural resources and cultural diversity and will not stop until every human being on the earth is walking round in Nike trainers and drinking Coca-Cola. Clothes, food and now even sex have been diluted and commercialised so now they come pre-packaged and bland. The world may be more diverse on the surface but we are losing the richness and meaning of these different cultures. Culture has just turned into a commodity for these western companies to sell.

Some people would argue that surely companies would be stopped exploiting the culture and resources of these already poor nations. With this new global economy comes new global organisations that are set to look after the well being of these countries. However these organisations are set up by the west to look after the interests of the western companies and to make sure the global market is extremely profitable. With the globalisation of the economy comes the globalisation of politics. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) was set up to look after the well being of the global economy, however as Michael Marx states ‘ The WTO was created to increase global corporate profitability’ and there has been numerous occasions whereby the good of the planet has been compromised for profit. This also shows how much power America and the west have over any country in their chase for capital.

Globalisation represented so far has shown the detrimental effects of this process however some people believe that globalisation does not mean that we exploit and lose the many divers cultures around the world that in fact we merely share them and learn from them which is a healthy experience. This is said to lessen homogeneity and increase cultural diversity. Some people may criticise this comment as we are not sharing cultures just merely diluting and tasting them and in turn losing them all together. However we must think forward and if we are now entering a new stage in history, new cultures will be formed and old ones lost. Globalisation is the future and although its consequences are irreversible it would seem impossible to have one global culture. The world will always be a diverse and different place.

We must also look at the worldwide organisations that have gone to help under- developed countries. The Red Cross symbol is as well known as any Nike tick or Coca-Cola sign. This global organisation has helped millions of people throughout the world. However some may argue that the cause for these underdeveloped countries is globalisation itself and who is to judge an underdeveloped or less civilised society.

These are all examples of what Giddens refers to as ‘out there’ globalisation. The things that don’t affect the day to day running of most peoples lives. Giddens states that globalisation is not only ‘out there’ in the corporate world but ‘in here’ as part of the average individuals life. We are unaware of just how much globalisation has changed the way we live and how much it does influence the intimate and personal aspects of our lives

The materials we use in our home, furniture for example could be sold in England made in Hong Kong and produced by a Swedish company. If you look around at furniture, the television or even the refrigerator it has probably been made thousands of miles away. This is ‘in here’ globalisation. The clothes we wear will probably be similar to the clothes people wear thousands of miles away. This is due to worldwide advertising and worldwide distribution and it is probably come over from America or the west. As the world is getting you would expect to have more choice but it would seem that our options are becoming increasingly limited to this American consumer culture that is taking over.

The food we eat has now become more varied and interesting. We can now by traditional foods from across the globe in you r local supermarket. This may seem as a mixture of diverse and shared cultures, which is a good thing for everyone to experience. However the food that we eat has been manufactured and compromised to increase profits that in turn we lose what makes these diverse foods different and exciting. Capitalism is diluting these cultures and again selling them to us.

The entertainment that we enjoy has also been globalised. The books we read come from all over the world, the music we listen to has influences from across the globe. The television we watch will be much the same as anywhere in the world. The F.A Carling Premiership can be seen in many different countries. Even our family and social lives have changed due to the advancement in communication technology and globalisation. With the use of the Internet and E-mail you can contact almost anyone, anywhere. It has also changed the way we socialise. With the creation of ‘chat rooms’ two people can forge friends and even relationships thousands of miles apart. Some people argue that Giddens is correct in assuming that globalisation is not just an ‘out there’ phenomenon but also ‘in here’

Globalisation is not esoteric concern

of social theorists but a set of processes

which affect individuals in a truly

phenomenological sense (Giddens)

Some people may argue that there is no ‘out there or ‘in here’ globalisation but that the whole process affects everyone’s day to day lives. If we are to believe that the world is getting smaller and that we no have no geographical boundaries everything that happens in the world will in turn have some effect on our lives. The concept of ‘out there’ has become distorted and blurred. As we have seen Industrial globalisation affects everyone. For example a car manufacturing company could decide to move its factory from Sheffield in England to somewhere in Spain. This not only affects the car company but also the workers who will lose there jobs the economy of the city and the economy of the country. With globalisation comes this snowball affect. No decision can be made without it affecting the whole world. With industry, politics and economy all being controlled on a global level events that happen around the world effect our everyday lives even more so now with the introduction of the Euro.

Globalisation does not just involve the big systems but every individual. Globalisation works in a detrimental way for everyone and if allowed to maintain its course everyone will be affected and cultures and identities will be lost. Globalisation cannot be categorised as ‘out there’ or ‘in here’ as it is all around us affecting our day to day lives in more ways that we can imagine.

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