Effects of Globalization

Effects+of+Globalization

Kaitlin Albarran, Casual Contributor

When one thinks about the concept of globalization, the effects that are primarily considered are economic in nature. We’ve all heard about the economic benefits for multinational corporations and the positive effects concerning the ease of communication between people in different parts of the world, but a widely neglected consequence of globalization has to do with its influence on individual cultures and societies. In some ways, this influence can be positive, such as the increased exposure to different cultures through avenues such as music, literature, and other aspects of popular culture. However, the influence also has a dark side, mainly for smaller cultures in developing countries that seek to progress economically.

One big fear with globalization would be a significant decrease in cultural diversity and the corresponding advent of what would be known as a “monoculture,” or a conglomerate of cultures primarily based on those of the leading economic powers which would grow in influence as the global economy becomes more interconnected. The introduction of consumer culture can drown out cultural values that have remained important in certain societies for centuries and replace them with a Western concept of individualism. Alarmingly, with the expansion of the internet, speakers of certain languages (especially those that are specific to a single country or region), like Hungarian, Alsacien, Basque, and Quechua struggle to stay afloat in a world dominated more and more by the influence of the internet and other mainstream media mostly consisting of languages like English, Chinese, Spanish, French, and Arabic. Indigenous cultures, especially, get the short end of the stick in most cases, as tourism brings Westerners into the equation as a source of income which then results in their influence and targeting by corporations. 

While it certainly is beneficial that cultures can share traditions and other information with people from around the world, there is still the risk that stereotypes and other negative perceptions of certain groups of people can spread more rapidly. The internet, although an important tool that unites many humans, can also serve as a dangerous way to spread disinformation and other negative information such as forms of religious extremism. Take China’s treatment of the Uyghurs as an example. According to a report from the Uyghur Human Rights Project, there is ample evidence that China has put out false and misleading information considering the country’s treatment of the ethnoreligious minority through methods such as using the justification that detaining Uyghurs is to protect against terrorism in the region of Xinjiang, painting centers that have been likened by others to concentration camps to be cheerful “vocational training centers,” and forcing Uyghurs to record videos that are released through state media in which any Chinese wrongdoing is denied (Uyghur 2).

On a positive note, globalization has also allowed for an increase in interest in some of these lesser-known cultures. Language apps like Duolingo allow for users in any part of the world to learn languages with less native speakers, such as Gaelic and Navaho, and the internet acts as an archive for these cultures which, additionally, allows them to document their history and share their concerns—in other words, their voices can be heard. As our world becomes more interconnected and globalization runs its course, it is necessary that we collectively work to keep cultural diversity alive and well.

 

Sources: 

Gibson, Svetlana. “Globalization and Its Effect on Cultural Diversity.” Globalization and Its Effect on Cultural Diversity – ETEC 510, 29 Jan. 2017, etec.ctlt.ubc.ca/510wiki/Globalization_and_its_Effect_on_Cultural_Diversity. 

Uyghur Human Rights Project, 2020, “The Happiest Muslims in the World”: Disinformation, Propaganda, and the and the Mass Detention of Uyghurs, docs.uhrp.org/pdf/Disinformation_Propganda_and_the_Uyghur_Crisis.pdf. 

Wani, Hilal. (2011). Impact of Globalization on World Culture. 2. 33-39.