Globalization: Selling Pepsi in Vietnamese Jungle
There are around 200 countries in the world, of which a lot have their own culture, which brings us to the concept of cultural diversity. And exactly there is the threat. Globalization presents an idea of monoculture, as opposed to diverse cultures. The expansion of cultural products exchange increases the exposure of all societies to foreign cultures, mainly to western culture, and often brings changes to local values or traditions, therefore undermining cultural identity...
Globalization as we all know it, is the process of international integration and interaction, based on interchange of world views, products and other cultural aspects. In 21st century, we can all be witnesses of this occurrence, but this is not the first time in world’s history that this is happening. For example, Alexander the Great and the emperors of the Roman Empire, had a goal to unite the world based on mixed cultures as one. So although we had precedents similar to this process, this time it has gone further than ever, due to multiple causes, like high technology development or the fact that everything is happening so fast in modern day world. But what does this bring us?
So let’s start with obvious pros of globalization. First, there is increased wealth, mostly for developing countries, due to higher international trade with third world countries. Along with this, we have a rise of various political philosophies resulting in better political stability. Of course then there are also increased work opportunities, and opportunities to travel or work abroad, due to more liberal immigrant work programs. Apparently, no one can deny that globalization has an undeniable good effect on overall world stability, but as everything else, on the other side it comes with a price.
A set of norms, beliefs, behaviors or customs belonging to the population of a sovereign nation, is known as national culture. There are around 200 countries in the world, of which a lot have their own culture, which brings us to the concept of cultural diversity. And exactly there is the threat. Globalization presents an idea of monoculture, as opposed to diverse cultures. The expansion of cultural products exchange increases the exposure of all societies to foreign cultures, mainly to western culture, and often brings changes to local values or traditions, therefore undermining cultural identity.
Currently we have a trend, where Western ideals are established as universal, and many societies tend to aim for that, thinking that they might be better off. In that sense, we can talk about a “cultural imperialism.” The adoption of Western culture is noticed to be widespread, as many technologies and products are developed and marketed through Western markets, only to be presented later to wider cultures, resulting in their assimilation. Latest researches are proving that many societies are neglecting the beautiful traditions of their countries and are following fashion, music or food trends of the greater ones.
So now we have most of world’s population listening to R&B and Pop music, wearing jeans or converse shoes, eating McDonald’s or drinking Coca Cola. Isn’t it weird to see a woman selling Pepsi in the middle of Vietnamese jungle? Or why would Asian or African societies, while having an enormous option of natural ingredients and products, still opt for Western unhealthier food? Exactly because that is something that is presented as a modern way of living and of course no individual with ambitions in life would like to stay behind those norms.
So as it was already mentioned, cultural homogenization could lead to a single culture, eliminating all the other local ones. The main goal, or the tendency, here is to eliminate differences and maintain one-mind, one-world view. Although some might think that this is what is needed for the world peace, this course is instead regressive, and kind of detrimental. And this is achieved through brainwashing or putting a shame to the ones that are not accepting united world views, as if they are doing something wrong. The thing is that if there is no place for disagreement on certain issues, if we all share same opinion, we cannot discover our strengths or a vision, and we are steadily walking down the path to become a useless mediocre. This often creates a phenomenon of a blind leading a blind man, even if it is presented that it’s for the best sake.
Yes, globalization does open nations one up for another. But there is a petite line between using it to better the standard of living, and losing cultural aspects of one nation. Isn’t it better for an individual to travel around the world and meet with other traditions, experience other food, or amazing architecture, instead of seeing the same thing, over and over again, no matter how far are we from home. I, personally do not have a doubt. The best we as individuals could do is to raise awareness and educate others both on pros and cons of this process, to make best of both worlds!