Globalization literally refers to a process of transformation into a global phenomenon rather than a national or regional one. Globalization also implies the exchange of trade, communication and services between the members of the entire world, functioning as a community rather than merely being restricted to a single nation or country.
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Globalization has resulted in the establishment of a new world order, which functions mutually, irrespective of the barriers of culture, race or nationality, resulting in the convergence of the entire world into a single global community on a single platform.
Social and cultural diversity is an important aspect in the globalization process. Globalization has prompted the establishment of a virtual economy which has resulted in a spectacular augmentation of the volume in trade practices. This has resulted in the dramatic escalation of multinational companies, like McDonalds and KFC or other brands like Seven Eleven and Lifestyle to establish globally and create a greater consumer force.
The propensity of these brands to adapt culturally in order to make their presence felt and accepted is one of the major reasons for their success. For instance, the launch of the new chicken Mcgrill burger by McDonalds, priced at only $0.5 or Rs 20/-, specifically to cater to the Indian customers taste and pocket. This was done to provide competition to the local junk foods easily available in the Indian cities. Needless to say, the low priced ‘chicken Mcgrill’ was a runaway success. McDonalds could achieve this due to its cultural sensitivity and the cultural knowledge it possessed regarding the clientele it was catering to. Thus globalization enabled McDonalds to establish itself in a new setting by adapting to the cultural norms of that society.
Similar success stories have been created due to the social convergence in the Global scenario which has resulted in multicultural societies rather than national or regional societies. An excellent recent example of this social convergence is the unification of the sports like cricket, under a common brand. The most recent and famous being the Indian Premier League, (IPL) in which the cricket community of the entire world was drawn in together.
Players from each country were united under a single IPL banner and were teamed under various Indian state teams, irrespective of which nation they belonged to. This is a classic example of how globalization has enabled the convergence of the national cricket players under a single banner, and never in the history of sports has such a liaison been witnessed. IPL broke even and recorded profits in the very first quarter of the series, with franchisee companies recording profits to the tune of several millions and simultaneously setting the stage for a single global sports fraternity.
In another major move, the United States of America has made a crucial and important decision to unite with the World Trade Union, accepting to be part of the diverse global community.
One of the greater impacts of globalization has been the diversification of society as a whole. Although there is now a considerable convergence of the world community on a common platform, there is an ever increasing gap between the rich and the poor. The world community is effective by trade behaviors and by the generation of income via this trade. Communities that have access to or are able to the global trade scenario are achieving great success with the help of global trade practices.
There are however, certain barriers to these trade practices, for those communities who are not united or are a part of this global trade. Buying and selling behavior of people is by and large determined by their access and ability to take part in global trade, which in turn is largely impacted by the cultural norms of the society in which the person lives. For instance, the choice of a particular product by an individual will be largely dominated by his cultural background, availability of resources, traditional habits etc. Similarly, the manner in which goods are traded, either bought or sold is also determined by the cultural practices dominant in that particular area.
For instance, even though the internet has become a commonplace for trading goods and services in many parts of the world, particularly in the western countries, it is not a prime market for the consumers in developing countries like India. The cultural norms of India to a great extent determine the buying behavior of a consumer, where the practice of buying from small retail shops or vendors, is widely and highly prevalent.
As such culture plays a crucial role in impacting the trade practices of a person. It is this cultural impact which creates the great divide or divergence between the rich and the poor, and on a more serious level the rich and the poor nation. Certain communities may not adapt to or may not have access to the newer means and methods of global exchanges, as a result of which, neither can they buy goods nor sell their goods in competitive markets. This further broadens the gap. The monetary exchanges simply take place between those who have already benefited from it, leaving out those for whom the potential for success via these exchanges could be tremendous.
English as a language has played a crucial role in the convergence of the world and providing a single platform. The British impact on the world, by way of colonization is tremendous; as such more communities in the world speak English more than any other language. This helps in the unification of all those who speak English and aids the process of globalization. Societies have become bi-lingual and English ranks as one of the fastest growing languages of the world.
This linguistic convergence, has however lead to diversification of some societies, who feel threatened that English would usurp their regional and local languages entirely. In some cases, the fears have been substantiated. In the United States itself, several languages are dying due to the heavy impact of English. With more and more new generation families adopting English as the first language, mother tongues are slowly disappearing, giving way to monolingual, all English societies and cultures.
Thus, globalization impacts and is impacted by convergence and divergence, and it is up to individuals and societies to practice and protect their cultural, traditional and linguistic backgrounds while keeping pace with the rapidly changing scenario of the new globalized world.