Friday, March 29, 2013

IS GLOBALIZATION AMERICANIZATION?




IS GLOBALIZATION AMERICANIZATION?
Globalization rates according to the proponents have been increasing at unprecedented rates in the last couple of decades due to increases in technological use. Globalization refers to the increasing ease by which people from different countries or continents can connect with each other to do business (Investorwords, 2011). The effects of globalization have been different on different individuals depending on their economic status. The developed countries are pro-globalization since it creates competition in the world while for the underdeveloped countries, they will be disadvantaged since they do not have the capacity to function in the interconnected world. Globalization can result to the increase in foreign goods in the local cultures thus changing the local cultures a great deal. The essay seeks to establish how and when cultural items become glocal; a hybrid of global and local.
The glocalization of cultures is contributed to by the activities of multinational companies. These companies’ influence on the cultures is to make it homogenous, but they achieve the one way homogenization where the American culture becomes dominant. The increasing presence of American companies abroad has impacted in some way on the cultures of the people where the company came to operate. The United States has forced their cultures on people who have to rely on their companies for the products they offer. Food is part of culture in most countries but this is quickly changing in that there is an increasing level of the consumption of the American foods. The eroding of the Italian food cultures has been created by the US fast food outlets. An example is the Starbucks where coffee is served in the restaurant with similar standards while the people wanted to have exclusive experiences. The American culture of buying coffee as a take away to be consumed in the office is quickly eroding the Italian culture where coffee was taken as a leisure activity in the coffee shop. The people in Italy are forced to abandon their local cultures to embrace the American way. The effects of other multinational companies in different countries have been different, but in most cases the American culture has come out dominant (The Levin Institute SUNY, 2011)
The effect of imported films and movies has also contributed to the glocalization of cultures. According to Legrain (2003) the film industry is under the knuckle of Hollywood. Most of the movies being watched currently in most parts of the world traces their origins to America. Although there have been arguments that the movie directors and actors are non Americans, this to e only acts as a “cosmetic coat” to make the films more appealing to the world audience. Legrain went further to state that foreign influences which include cultures can be taken up by local people and this can change their cultures forever for instance since the mostly available movies are the ones which originate from the United States,  a France national will have no otherwise but to consume what is readily available to him. His being French will be eroded by the acts that he exposes himself to. He will start to see the world from the view point of the American makers of the film (The Levin Institute SUNY, 2011).
The rise in the use of technology mostly the internet has also contributed to the glocalization of culture. The Economist (2011) paints a gloom picture on the effect of technological advancement the small village in Southern India. The villagers whom most of them were poor did not appreciate the importance the technology played in their lives. Although I have to acknowledge from the outset that there are significant positive contributions of technology to the local populace such as the prices of crops at the go, vacancies notifications and also advice on health, it has impacted to assert the globalization that erodes the traditional cultures. The people who have embraced the technology for instance the youth are significantly losing their ways of life to the effects of the global culture. Through the internet connections the youth have an increased access to music mostly produced in the west. The Hip culture which seems to idolize sex, wife battery and explicitness is affecting the Indian culture of decency. The youth come to identify with this new source of entertainment abandoning the traditional Indian music. The Bhangra music which most Indians now listen to due to the effects of the internet is a fusion between western music and the traditional one (Roy, 2010)
To a great extent, globalization has been like the synonym of American. Due to the high market power that America boasts of they are able to have a significant effect on how people from other localities behave thus impacting on their cultures. Their financial capability enables them to engage in mass production ensuring them surpluses that are exported. The continued use of these goods be them food, movies or music contributes to the Americanization of other cultures (The Levin Institute SUNY, 2011).



References
Investorwords (2011). Globalization: Definition Retrieved August 22, 2011, from http://www.investorwords.com/2182/globalization.html
Legrain, P. (2003). In Defense of Globalization: Why Cultural Exchange is Still an Overwhelming Force for Good Globalization. Retrieved August 22, 2011, from http://www.international-economy.com/TIE_Su03_Legrain.pdf
The Economist (2011). Behind the Digital Divide. Retrieved August 22, 2011, from http://www.economist.com/node/3714058
The Levin Institute SUNY (2011). Globalization. Retrieved August 22, 2011, from http://www.globalization101.org/uploads/File/Culture/cultall2010.pdf
Roy, A. (2010). Bhangra moves : from Ludhiana to London and beyond. Farnham ; Burlington, VT : Ashgate.