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Impact of Globalization: The Good &The Bad

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  5 Jun 2016 12:00 AM GMT

By Sanhita Saikia

We live today in an intensely interdependent global world which comprise of people with immense difference of culture and historical experience. The Era of Globalization is fast becoming the preferred term for describing the current times. Just as the Depression, the Cold War Era, the Space Age and the Roaring 20's are used to describe particular periods of history; Globalization describes the political, economic, and cultural atmosphere of today.Brand consciousness is becoming more relevant than self-consciousness. And above all social networking is defining the state of relationships.

Globalization is not a new concept in the world. It may be farther along and advancing at a faster rate than ever before, but globalization has been around for hundreds and, arguably, thousands of years. The Silk Road spanned one-sixth the diameter of the planet - literally connecting the West and the East - and began during the Han Dysty (roughly 200 B.C.). Integrating a global economy is nothing new, but the modern implications in global business are bigger and stranger than ever before.

On one hand, globalization has the potential to mobilize and empower people, provide a means for self-representation, employment opportunities and support a collective identity through socialization. On the other hand, it has the ability to disempower people by misrepresentation, provide a process for further colonizationd propel the loss of individualism and group identity. Technologyhas created a global culture and entertainment companies which shape the perceptions and dreams of ordiry citizens, wherever they live. This spread of values, norms and culture tends to promote western ideals of capitalism.Will local cultures inevitably fall victim to this global consumer culture? Will English eradicate all other languages? Will consumer values overwhelm peoples' sense of community and social solidarity?

Stroll into your local Starbucks and you will find yourself part of a cultural experiment on a scale never seen before. In less than half a century, the coffee chain has grown from a single outlet in Seattle to nearly 20,000 shops in around 60 countries. Each year, its near identical stores serve cups of near identical coffee in near identical cups to hundreds of thousands of people. For the first time in history, your morning cappuccino is the same no matter whether you are sipping it in Tokyo, New York, Bangkok or India. Of course, it is not just Starbucks. Select any global brand from Coca Cola to Facebook and the chances are you will see or feel their presence in most countries around the world. It is easy to see this homogenization in terms of loss of diversity, identity or the westernization of society.

Led by the mass media, the fashion industry and the education curriculum, the perception of self-image is increasingly being defined by western parameters. The inundation of western culture is undeniable as it has effects that are both beneficial and detrimental in our daily lives. There is a paradoxical dichotomy, a tangible undercurrent, when it comes to globalization and cultural diversity. Unconsciously and involuntarily, today teegers often suffer from the loss of their own unique culture. For instance in India, factors like great mobility, a demanding school system and mixed marriages are churning up a startling consequence: a generation of urban children is growing up largely monolingual - speaking and thinking only in English.Change and development is inevitable and tural anywhere. But change beyond limits ispernicious to one's diversity and individuality.

India has its own charm, as nowhere in the world with its culture, language and traditions. Our country has 22 official languages including English, with many colloquial dialects spoken by tive speakers. Yet parents today who speak to children only in English are content that it is a global language and that their children will learn other languages if they are interested in them.Though the language is unifying us with the rest of the world but at the same time it's also alieting us from our familial and cultural roots. A few years from now, will we be surprised if English becomes the single spoken language and kids go to special schools to learn India's regiol languages? We need to change the misconception that speaking ones tive language will hurt us socially and academically. In fact bilingual people have more mental agility, better social skills and many windows of opportunities to enrich their life.

The current era of globalization, with its unprecedented acceleration and intensification in the global flows of capital, labour, and information, is having a homogenizing influence on local culture. While this phenomenon promotes the integration of societies and has provided millions of people with new opportunities, it may also bring with it a loss of uniqueness of local culture, which in turn can lead to loss of identity, exclusion and even conflict.The beauty of culture is that there is always something for someone to learn about different groups of people and once we stop learning from each other, we gain little from our interactions.

We are now at a loss in the attempt to guard and cherish our enriching culture and identity. The random influx of ideology and lifestyles and unmonitored intercultural communication has resulted in the creation of a pseudo culture that is common across boundaries. The ibility to find one's self can lead to an identity crisis.Though today's society is pushing expectations in our faces; the best choice is to be an individual with traditiol and modern values. When we have both, only then can we truly find ourselves and be secure.Culture is very much like language and vice versa.We can master our own as well as western cultures at the same time and don't need to give up one for the other.

(sanhitasaikia@yahoo.com)


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