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Musing on Globalization and Culture

Musings on globalization and culture

- By Bhavani Suri

Globalization is a broad term that evolved sometime during the computer age when the internet combined the world into a single frame on a PC. Thomas L. Friedman's book ‘The World is Flat’ comprehensively breaks down globalization to its core and suggests how it’s a playing field for most commercial businesses. Expanded consumers, expanded visibility, and more competition. From the confines of lanes and by-lanes, companies just exploded into another world that was much larger than anticipated. The author reminisced on some core economic changes when he happened to visit Bangalore, India. He even broke down globalization into three phases: 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. While this may be great news for the world economy, where do we stand culturally?

From here begins the advent of global equality in its digital sense, which essentially began during globalization 3.0 – the invasion of multinationals. Commodities diffused and finally evolved into a diffusion of standards, giving way to common cultural expressions worldwide. The efficiency of electronic commerce led the path to homogeneity, and popular culture became a uniform expression.

Definitely, digital forms of communication are responsible for the fusion of cultures that flatten social differences and primarily try to recognize human experience. Besides, there’s also institutionalization – for instance, teaching the most spoken language worldwide – English – which has become the primary mode of instruction globally. Electronic commerce, popular culture, and the growth of international trade have acted as catalysts for changing cultural components.

People with shared beliefs embrace another culture that voices particular principles. According to observers, a basic global culture is emerging amongst those with slightly similar objectives and lifestyles. The members of elite organizations who have common goals tend to transcend geographical boundaries.

Globalization and culture, thus, share a multi-faceted relationship that can be rather complex. While going global facilitates the exchange of ideas and values, cultural practices tend to be shared on a global scale, too. This diversification has a specific enrichment but raises concerns about homogenization, where dominant cultures can overpower local traditions. Often, Western culture takes center stage, leading to a loss of older cultural identities. It is imperative to strike a balance between benefitting from globalization and preserving heritage, which can be a significant challenge.

The benefits of globalization are many, though, such as profits to companies, opportunities for economic development, minimal stereotyping, courage to defend one’s values, and access to other preferred cultural products.

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