global responsibility

October 12th, 2011

I recently was assigned an article written by Peter Singer in which he presented the following point: those fortunate enough to have money beyond their own necessities should use all of  that money to help others. Singer compares spending money on luxury items to letting an underprivileged child die. He says that we all are presented with a choice: to pad our own lives with pleasure using our surplus money, or to save the lives of those in need.

I found the link between Singer’s point and globalization to be incredibly glaring. Globalization has clearly brought people closer together through faster communication and increased awareness of the globe as a whole. It  has also drawn attention to the fact that all countries are not on an even playing field. Often where we are born largely determines our quality of life. Those of us fortunate to be born into a richer country like America are privileged- we did not work towards or earn being born into the conditions we were. This raises an important question- as “privileged” members of an increasingly global society, is it our responsibility to give our non-essentials to those less fortunate?

As globalization intensifies and develops, we’re bound to become increasingly aware of global social issues. While some countries will reap the benefits of a more integrated world, countries lagging behind may find themselves ultimately worse off. With a heightened awareness of the global state, it will be more difficult to ignore the gap between our lives and luxuries and the struggles of third-world or undeveloped countries. Will further globalization rouse the conscious of people worldwide and bring about more charity towards needy countries? Or will we simply become more desensitized to the hardships of others? It seems as if globalization could bring about a more integrated world community (recently seen through movements like Occupy Wall Street spreading to other countries), or it could further widen the gap between rich and poor countries.

Personally, I can see the point that Singer is trying to make. However, very few people would be actually willing to donate the entire surplus of their income. A mass movement of this behavior would probably be necessary for it to catch on or be effective, which at this point in time seems unlikely. Also, while Singer presents the idea that people should donate– he doesn’t specify how or through what means. It is easy to sit back and brush off an idea like Singer’s because we live comfortable lives, and comfort is something difficult to give up. While in a perfect world people would share globally to reach some standard of equality, a compromise seems to have  the most potential to be a successful strategy at this point. Donating SOME surplus as opposed to ALL of it seems to sit better with Americans as a whole as a way of doing their part, while still aiding people in need of financial assistance.

Ultimately, globalization is bringing about a lot of important questions- and one of them concerns our level of responsibility in eliminating global inequality.

expert study question

October 4th, 2011

(this was one of the questions I originally presented)

Does globalization pose a threat to individual cultures?

patois and language

October 1st, 2011

In my World In Issues in Lit class we’ve dealt with language a lot recently. After reading a novel that utilized Indian dialect heavily we’ve begun analyzing poetry that makes use of Jamaican patois as an empowerment tool. In times of colonization, Jamaican dialect and patois were looked down upon by the British as signs of illiteracy and lack of education. For a long time after colonization patois carried a negative stigma, but writers started using it as a cultural empowerment tool. Embracing patois was a way to take back Jamaican identity and embrace the language of the area. The high importance of patois to Jamaican culture and language in general to cultures across the world has caused me to wonder– what would be lost if the world integrated to a level where a single language was spoken?

Language hasn’t only been important in the relationship between Jamaica and the British Empire, but around the globe as a whole. Many cultures use language as an important identifier. Language can prove to be a barrier to communication but at the same time it serves to  enrich societies and is an important link to history and origin. However, as globalization continues on language is becoming more and more homogenized. Through the internet a click of a button can translate an entire page of text into your own language. English seems to be the most pervasive language as more languages die out and more countries include English in their education curriculum. As levels of communication and culture blending continue to rise throughout the globe, the question arises: will we eventually speak only one language? Honestly I don’t think I have nearly enough knowledge on this topic to provide much insight but the idea doesn’t seem too far off. Communication and interaction across the globe would be made much easier and more convenient. I think countries would definitely still maintain a sense of culture (even within the language itself- i.e. dialects) if the globe was united in a single language, but a change that large would be gradual and is a long way off. Overall, a meshing of language could be seen as positive (effective, easy communication worldwide) or negative (loss of culture and identity). In sociology we often discuss anomie (a lack of standards that guide people as how to behave that often occurs when a big change takes place), and it would be very easy to link this concept to the large change that would occur if the world was to adopt a single language. Overall, I personally think it would be kind of sad if there was only one language, because language is such a culturally rich element that has had importance in histories around the world.

globalization represented

September 29th, 2011

 

 

Personally, this picture is an accurate abstract embodiment of globalization. While it doesn’t provide a real-world example like many photos, it represents the key elements of globalization through symbolism. The backdrop is obvious, a map of the world. All of globalization clearly focuses on one thing- the Earth and it’s “shrinking size”. The fact that the miniature businessmen are so large in comparison to the map speaks to not only the decreasing size of our world but also how one person can now have more influence and power than ever possible before. This is all made possible through technological developments- which are represented in this photo by the wires snaking throughout. Overall, for me globalization is about the world growing smaller through technology- and this picture perfectly captures that essence through the wires across the world map and the business men placed in between.

 

now that i know!

September 18th, 2011

Now that I have a handle on globalization and a general idea of what it means (took me long enough!), I’m noticing its elements everywhere. It’s very similar to the phenomenon of being involved in a theatre production and hearing lines from a show EVERYWHERE. Once you’ve rehearsed a play over and over a line spoken in conversation as simple as “now where did i put the…” can trigger a reflection back to an entire show or bit of dialogue. Globalization is similar in that now that I’m aware of its meaning I’m beginning to notice it everywhere and realize its strong presence in everyday life. For instance, one of my favorite bands “Beirut” gets their unique sound from combining “elements of Eastern European and Balkan folk with Western pop music”. Pre-globalization knowledge I just thought they sounded pretty sweet, but now I’m seeing how they’ve meshed different cultures and music elements to create their sound– very globalized. I’m sticking a link to one of their songs in here partly to demonstrate their mixed sound but also partly because they’re amazing.

Other places I’ve noticed globalization include other blogging websites- the realization that I can follow a girl in England and think nothing of it is so strange. My browser (Google Chrome FTW) offers to translate pages that aren’t in my language. I have access to people’s thoughts around the world through a few clicks of my mouse.  Overall, it’s impressive to just to think about how much access we have to the entire globe. The world is so physically vast– but globalization has made it so metaphorically small.

questions, questions….

September 13th, 2011

three questions concerning globalization that i think are most important…

1. What impacts, negative or positive, does globalization have on the environment?
      I’ve heard globalization and the environment often linked in general conversation, but not in a definitive way. When anything has a large, widespread impact on the world (such as globalization),  it is important to study its environmental impacts. Earth  is our setting, our backdrop, our home and without it we cannot survive. It is crucial that in times of rapid change we pay close attention to the environment. It is incredibly easy to get caught up in the exciting advancements of a new “age” that is coming about quickly, but we can’t forget the importance of taking care of our home.  This questions impacts everyone, and should be continually analyzed to bring about further globalization in a way that is as least harmful as possible to the earth itself.

2. How will conflict in a globalized world be different than what we’re accustomed to?
     Since we defined globalization as “the increase in interactions between people around the world that involves the sharing of ideas, goods, cultures, and businesses” we can infer that through increased interaction countries will become more dependent upon each other in several respects. What will this mean in terms of handling conflict? Will countries be more likely to avoid a conflict to protect the balance or will a world war be more likely due to the complex network of inter-dependence? How will technology and the spread of information bring more players into a conflict? With countries outsourcing business and increasingly depending on other nations for manufacturing and goods, it is important to understand how the interactions could/will change in the event of a conflict. In a “smaller” world more people can be involved in a conflict between nations and it could easily grow to a (potentially disastrous) global conflict. Conflict is fairly pervasive right now, in what some consider “the early stages” of globalization. It is important to formulate ideas about conflict in a more globalized world so that we can be prepared in the event of dispute and brace ourselves against the potential impact of a conflict spiraled out of control.

3. Does globalization pose a threat to individual cultures?
     Many people identify themselves through their customs and lifestyle. Your culture is you; the ideas, practices, traditions, and values of your society play a large part in your character.  In a world where you can get food from other countries down the street and understand pop culture references from places many miles away, is it a stretch to wonder how culture will maintain itself in a increasingly meshed world? Will people simply become more aware of other cultures while maintaining their own? Or like other facets, will culture become a single streamlined element throughout the world? To some it would be wonderful to be united in a singular culture (see my post about John Lennon’s “Imagine”) while others believe to lose sight of your own culture would be to lose sight of yourself. Are the boundaries of culture simply boundaries to be broken by globalization in order to further integrate the facets of our lives? Culture is important across the globe for many reasons, and globalization’s impact on culture is equally as important.

globalization: personal defintion

September 11th, 2011

globalization:

  •  an increased integration of the global “playing field”– how countries interact and do business
  • a new world system in which all aspects of life are brought closer together and to other countries– through different facets of technology individuals/businesses/governments are able to function and interact at increased speeds
  • a system in which basic elements of countries and individual societies– culture, business, etc. are being connected, meshed, and circulated around the world

“what globalization means to me”

September 5th, 2011

When I first signed up for this course, I had no idea what globalization was. As I asked around I began to loosely understand it as the economic impacts of our world becoming increasingly “smaller” as things across the board become more integrated. From then to now I’ve been reading Thomas Friedman’s book on globalization and seeing what the internet can tell me. At this point I understand globalization to be the system our world is slowly moving into. This system affects not only economics but our every aspect of our lives. I understand globalization to be a system in which the world is made smaller through the internet and faster means of communication. This has a strong impact on business in that more people can be involved and things can take place on a global level without mediation from government necessarily. It also has an impact on aspects like culture in that people around the world are accessing the same media and the same popular culture through resources like the internet. Globalization is a growing interconnected-ness throughout the world that can even bring the small individual into the big picture itself.

For me, globalization is still something of an enigma. It’s a giant concept to grasp, but it’s exhilarating to know that through our technology we’re experiencing massive across-the-board change throughout societies across the globe. It could mean a major shift in the world’s balance of power, which is both scary (where will the US end up?) and exciting (when is change not?). Globalization is breaking language barriers, bringing us all closer together, and ultimately shifting reality as we know it. For me, globalization is an interesting idea that represents a new future, and a huge realm of possibility. We can’t fully predict where this technology will take us or what it will mean in the end, but the conjecture is certainly interesting.

Hey There.

September 1st, 2011

Starting this blog for my FSEM Globalization class. We’ll see where it goes from here. So far I don’t know too much about the topic of globalization, but I’m starting Thomas Friedman’s book The Lexus and the Olive Tree. I’m on the first few pages and so far he just seems sort of arrogant (he tells the story of how he asked room service in a foreign hotel for oranges and had to send them back because they were sliced with this really pompous attitude) but I hope that subsides as he gets a little deeper into the topic. I’m excited to see where this class goes, I hope that we’ll focus slightly more on culture and people.

September 1st, 2011

Just scratching the surface of globalization and looking into what it can actually be defined as, this song keeps popping into my head. John Lennon seems to be trying to unify people through this song– “Imagine there’s no country, it isn’t hard to do”. That line alone could be interpreted as one promoting a single unified world, which so far is what I’m understanding as total globalization.


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