The Case for Contamination
Kwame Anthony Appiah wrote an article for The New York Times which speaks about ethical considerations, globalization, and cultural diversity as a single matter to be reviewed and discussed. Although various cultural backgrounds exist to represent differences or diversity, Appiah believes that there exists a commonality between all of us. Despite the cultural and individual differences, all of us have beliefs, ideologies, traditions, and norms to observe and follow. For instance, Appiah’s experience with a Ghanaians Wednesday festival is something that he attributes to a worldwide phenomenon – that is all cultures have their own festivals, and while this is a common thing, the primary feeling that is shared by all cultures in this situation is the celebratory feeling and environment.
Another worldwide event that seems to make differences in culture non-existent is globalization. The goal of globalization is to promote solidarity by eliminating the lines or boundaries that divide the citizens of the global village. Ideally, globalization seeks to uphold equality and individuality, by means of making cultures homogenous. However, Appiah argues that the dimensions of globalization are the same things or elements that eliminate homogeneity in the world as it strips away the unique identities of culture by imposing standard cultures and practices to observe and follow. This is primarily observed by the application of capitalism that diminishes cultural preservation. The introduction of the Western culture to minority groups has changed their ways and is threatening to obliterate their culture by eliminating all the ways by which it is to be passed on to the next generation. Globalization as a means to promote homogeneity is cancelled out by the real implications of the actual dimensions of globalization – and that is to promote homogeneity by means of establishing a single culture that defies all others.
Appiah’s arguments are agreeable as his assertions are backed-up by current event and situations that reveals how globalization is killing cultural roots. Globalization does not only uphold the moral or ethical concepts of equality, human rights, justice, and such for all, but also looks into the political and economic situations that are implemented by means of applying the dimensions of globalization. For instance, the advent of globalizations has motivated business organizations to look into the possibility of expanding to international shores. This business strategy materializes in trading or export policies, outsourcing, mergers and acquisition to and of foreign organizations, reentry to international markets, and such. In order to communicate, individuals realize the importance of learning English as an international language that is to be used during transactions. Consequently, worldwide consciousness on the need to communicate motivates the learning of English, while fueling the elimination of the need to learn and preserve one’s native tongue. (Jones, 2004)
Although the goals and objectives of globalization was established with the intentions of resolving international problems and conflicts that originate from cultural differences, the influences or impacts of globalization is threatening to eliminate culture or cultural identities altogether. Through the laws and policies that nations need to follow and observe due to globalization, cultural roots are in danger of being wiped out just by simply following standardized rules or guidelines that trample on the cultural identity of nations. Aside from these assertions of Appiah, his recommendations or suggestions are also applicable for international institutions that handle globalization, such that there is a need to place ethical or moral boundaries on the structure and implementation of globalization that should consider the freedom of every individual of self-governance or the right to make decisions based on what they personally believe in.
Appiah, K. A. (2006). The Case for Contamination. Retrieved December 16, 2008, from
The New York Times Company. Website: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/01/magazine/01cosmopolitan.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=THE%20CASE%20FOR%20CONTAMINATION&st=cse
Jones, G. (2004). Anti-Globalization. Retrieved December 16, 2008, from Gary Jones.