Thursday, 3 July 2008

Globalisation

There has long been a mix of cultures around the world. This is partly due to invasions from conquering nations and then the trade routes set up within empires. There has also been movement by peaceful settlers and immigrant taking their culture with them. Since the advent of rapid transport and communication however the world has become a lot smaller and the mix of cultures has become a lot greater. It is now possible for people in the UK to hear an accurate account of events happening in Australia within a few minutes despite the two countries being on opposite sides of the world and despite them being 12 time zones adrift. In a typical UK high street is is possible to find Chinese or Japanese noodles, Indian curry, Mexican chili, American burgers and Italian spaghetti. Go into a typical high street store and you will find items made in Turkey, Bangladesh, Hungary or China, with raw materials sourced from Africa.

At the moment, globalisation comes hand in hand with capitalism so as such it is inevitable there would be winners and losers. A definite winner, as is so often the case, is America. There are many American brand names that can be found in nearly every country around the world which easily roll off the tongue, including Starbucks, McDonalds and Coca Cola. Other winners include the consumers in the West who can buy goods made in China and the like very cheaply. They also have a wide range of items from all corners of the world for their perusal. Globalisation also encourage the exchange of ideas, which includes music, art and scientific knowledge.

On the flip side there is a downside to globalisation. The losers include the workers in China and the farmers in Africa who work for below substinence wages. There can be winners and losers in the same country. In the UK, manufacturers go out of business as it becomes increasingly cheaper to make goods overseas. This ties in with social responsibility as consumers have to weigh up the pros and cons of buying goods from their own country or overseas on the basis of price, impact on the workers' lives, the effect of not choosing a particular product and also the environmental impact.

The environmental impact of globalisation generally is huge. All the transport that allows business to be carried out internationally has a massive carbon footprint, what with transporting goods and business people from country to country constantly. The communication that allows different countries to learn from one another also an environmental impact because it is so dependent on electricity whether it be using the TV, the internet or the phone.

Without globalisation however, each community would be stuck in their own little bubbles. This would encourage contempt, ignorance and fear of the unknown. Through globalisation different communities can learn from another. Globalisation generally enriches the world and the people in it. However as with all things in life there is a negative side where people or the world suffer thanks to globalisation. The only way to prevent this from happening though and to undo the damage that has been done by globalisation would be to go back to the stone age where people only moved with their tribe to find food and shelter. All that we can do now is make the best of the situation and hope the positives of globalisation can in time outweigh the negatives.


Outside my Syrian host home...



Some brands literally are everywhere... (pictured, Coca Cola, Nestle, Sunsilk, and the previously unheard of (to me) - Windmill.

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