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Concept of Globalisation and Cultural Diversity Essay


Introduction

This assignment is a discussion on the topic of globalisation. It looks at the history of globalisation and how globalisation has shaped the interaction between countries of the world. In the discussion, it will be argued that globalisation has both positive and negative impacts on various segments of the world’s population.

The discussion kicks off with an overview of the concept of globalisation and cultural diversity. It then goes on to discuss globalisation in terms of economic development, stakeholders and interdependence of countries. At the end is a conclusion which sums up the main points of the discussion.

Discussion

The Concept of Globalisation

Globalisation can be defined as the minimisation of the differences between people of the world and the maximisation of their similarities through interactions, cooperation and communication.

During the pre-world war period, the world was characterised by minimal interaction, communication, cross-border movements and language homogeneity.

However, after the world war, this situation changed. The changes were mainly triggered by the desire for nations of the world to unite in various spheres of development mainly the economy, education, employment, the environment and governance (Beck, 2000).

The main driving forces for globalisation was however the advancement in information and communication technology, improved transport systems, liberalised trade as well as liberalised immigration policies which have with time transformed the world into a global village.

Globalisation has made it possible for any person to work, study, marry and stay in any part of the world irrespective of his or her culture which entails things like religion, race, colour, social status, nationality, believes, sex, ethnicity and sexual orientation (Waters, 2001).

A good example to illustrate this argument is the United States which is known as home and destiny of almost all cultures of the world.

Despite the various cultural backgrounds of many United States citizens, it remains to be a leading super power of the world in virtually all aspects including science and technology, education, governance, economic stability, military capacity to name but a few (Steger, 2010).

The case of United States best illustrates that globalisation has got prospects of making a country or an organisation move towards prosperity. The main reason why the United States is a preferred destination of many people in the world is because it has liberalised its immigration policies.

There are also abundant education and employment opportunities. It also has polices which do not discriminate people based on their culture in the attainment of education or employment (Robertson, 1992).

Globalisation has made it possible for any person to do business in any country. This has increased the diversity of the workforce in many organisations.

The management of such workforce is therefore posing as a challenge to many managers because they are not in a position to understand the culture of each and every employee. However, the culturally diverse workforce can be transformed to an impetus for organisational success and prosperity especially in the service sector (Go and Pine, 1995).

Globalisation and Cultural Diversity

Cultural diversity is a variety of human cultures or societies which live in different parts of the world. It can also refer to the static representation of several cultures in a place and at a particular time, which must be interacting in carefully selected patterns.

Cultural diversity is characterised by the minimization of differences and inequalities as possible and the maximization of sameness and equality as much as possible. Due to globalisation, today’s society is becoming more culturally diverse day by day, meaning that we are moving towards sameness each day and moving away from differences as days move on (Chrysanthopoulos, 2010).

There are various authors who have written on cultural variations between different nations of the world. Examples include Dr. Geert Hosftede and Fon Trompenaars.

In his research on the influence of culture on values in the workplace, Dr. Geert Hofstede came up with five dimensions of differentiating cultures for different countries. For each country, he analysed and gave a report on five dimensions of cultural differentiation.

He also gave the average standards for all the dimensions of cultural differentiations. These dimensions include individualism vs. collectiveness, masculinity, power distance index, long term orientation and uncertainty avoidance index (International business centre, n.d).

On his part, Fon Trompenaars came up with seven dimensions outlining how people interact and what drives their interactions.

These dimensions include universalism contrasted with particularism, neutral contrasted with affective relationships, individualism contrasted with collectivism, specific contrasted with diffuse relationships, achievement contrasted with ascription, and time orientation (Gullestrup, 2006).

Globalisation in the Past, Now and in the Future (Trends)

Many scholars usually differ in describing the history of globalisation. While some argue that it is a phenomenon which started as early as the time of Greek civilization, others are of the view that it is a phenomenon which belongs to the modern era.

However, what is evident is that from the definition of globalisation, it must have started with the conquest of the Americas by the Europeans which was triggered by Christopher Columbus’ erroneous discovery of America on his mission to discover Asia (Fiske, 2007).

This qualifies globalisation as phenomena which started early before the industrial revolution of 1600 (Clark, 2008). The earliest form of globalisation also known as archaic globalisation can be traced back to the Hellenistic Age (Davies, 1989).

During this age, many urban centres sprung up in Europe and Spain leading to the establishment of cities such as Antioch, Athens and Alexandria. These cities were characterised by the integration of the Greek culture and economic modes with those of the new urban centres (Spielvogel, 2010).

Another pointer of early form of globalisation can be found in the integration of trade between the famous Roman Empire and other empires such as the Han dynasty and the Parthian Empire (Wyborny, 2004). This integration led to the establishment of what is referred to as ‘silk road’ stretching from china all the way to Rome (Wood, 2004).

This road is known to have intensified trade between nations which had not interacted in trade before. The period before the industrial revolution also witnessed the globalisation of agriculture, in which crops like cotton and sugar, which were initially grown by the Muslims started being adopted by other non-Muslim countries across the globe (Wood, 2004).

The discovery and colonisation of America and its subsequent declaration of independence in late 1700 could be described as the climax of the early forms of globalisation.

This is because at its independence, the United States was inhabited by three main peoples of the world namely the African, the Native Americans and the Europeans. The interaction of these peoples, that is, the Europeans, the Native Americans and the Africans gave the United States its unique societal configuration (Gills and Thompson, 2006).

The Europeans introduced education to the Natives and also trade as well as guns for warfare. They also came up with agricultural technologies like the ginneries for the manufacturing of cotton among others.

This may be seen as the reason why the United States has advanced a lot in terms of agriculture and warfare technology due to the continued research and intensive experimentation on various fields (Norton, Sheriff, Blight, Katzman, Chudacoff and Logevall, 2009).

The Europeans also embraced the governance system of the Native Americans thereby establishing two tier government system. There was also civilization of the Natives and the Africans by the different Europeans cultures, making the United States’ culture to be referred to as the western culture, which is full of diverse cultures and civilizations (Norton, et al, 2009).

The Africans as well learned the English language and also acquired education, which enabled them to intermarry with the Europeans and neutralize the intensity of discrimination thereby making the United States virtually a nation of all people.

This early form of globalisation continued until the world wars. The world wars are said to have destroyed all the benefits which had been made as far as globalisation was concerned (Norton, et al, 2009).

After the world wars, a new form of globalisation emerged. This was triggered by the new desire to unite the world through the three main development pillars namely the social, the political and economic pillars.

Many States thought that the world wars were mainly caused by poor interaction between the nations of the older world, arguing that many countries did not care harming others as a result of the old economic philosophy which pegged development on elimination of rivals rather than the cooperation between stakeholders (Buckman, 2004).

The contemporary form of globalisation is characterised by the liberalisation of trade, the emergence of multinational corporations as well as emergence of global institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other United Nations’ affiliated institutions.

It is also characterised by increased rates of immigration, technology transfer and the liberalisation of education systems to allow for people to study in any part of the world. Culture has also been globalised through the use of mass media which constitutes things like the television, radios, videos, music and lately the internet (Scholte, 2005).

The advancement in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has transformed the world into a global village. Through ICT and improved means of transport, people are more than ever able to do business with each other without any form of barriers (Scholte, 2005).

However, the trends in the international community show a threat to what is called a new world order, which is synonymous to globalisation.

The threat to globalisation is majorly based on the intensive campaign by civil society organisations and grassroots movements, which have been pushing too hard for the countries of the world to remain sovereign and autonomous in their political, social and economic development (Scholte, 2005).

The main argument by the civil society and grassroots movements is that the new world order is a tool for the rich nations like the United States and the EU to propagate their cultural, economic and political imperialism to the weak States so as to safeguard their interests. Analysts argue that it is a matter of time before the world witnesses a weakening influence of the powerful countries and global institutions over the rest of the world (Kelsey, 2002).

In Terms of Economic Development

Developed

The developed countries as I have mentioned earlier have been in the forefront in propagating the idea of globalisation. These countries led by the United States usually view the other countries as their imperial territories and want to ensure that there is in place rules and regulations which govern the conduct of all countries in their economic, social and political endeavours.

The rich countries know that with a global culture in place, they will always remain ahead because they will be using resources from the developing and the undeveloped countries for their economic, social and political progress (Aswathappa, 2010).

Developing

The developing countries are known as the markets of the western culture. Culture in this context being ideas in business, education, politics and internal governance.

Many developing countries in Africa are known to have embraced what is referred to as export based agriculture at the expense of subsistence agriculture. This has led to the recurrent food shortages in many counties in the developing world.

The trend begun in early 1980s through what were referred to as Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPS), which required countries in Africa and Asia to embrace economic development at the expense of social and political development.

This has led to the ever rising levels of poverty and population growth rates in the developing world, forcing them to comply with the policies of the new world order for the fear of economic and political sanctions from the developed countries (Agyemang, 2001).

Undeveloped

The undeveloped countries are those which have high poverty levels and illiteracy. Most of these countries are found in Africa and are described as living in the wrong civilization or being uncivilised. These countries are the best dumping sites for western culture.

Most of the undeveloped countries are known to be characterised by poor or no governance, ethnic strife and lack of basic social amenities. Many analysts however have argued that the poverty and lack of infrastructure in the undeveloped countries has been caused by the imperial nature of the relationships between them and their developed counterparts (Aswathappa, 2010).

In Terms of Stakeholders

Corporations/Businesses

Globalisation has liberalised the trade between nations through the removal of trade tariffs or licenses required to do business in a foreign country. Many organisations are opening new branches in foreign countries due to increased opportunities of doing business across the globe. This has been brought about especially by electronic funds transfer and convenient means of transport (Aswathappa, 2010).

Multiculturalism has also made it possible for any kind of business to survive in any country due to the preference of various items and products by many people across the globe. For example, many clothe fashions are popular across the globe.

This means that any multinational company dealing with fashion ware has a very big market to serve. Competition has also increased leading to further internationalisation of business so as to maximise on profits (Aswathappa, 2010).

Investors (Institutional & Individual)

Investors are also a very happy lot as a result of globalisation. The opening of countries for investment by foreign investors and institutions has made many individuals and institutions start business in many countries. Many of the investors are targeting the service industry which constitutes hospitality, marketing and logistics and processing.

The liberalisation of bank renting rates and terms and conditions for securing a loan has further made it easy for any investor to acquire capital to invest in any form of business in any part of the world. Most of the loans are usually insured to avoid massive loses. Some banks even go a notch higher to provide some basic training and logistical establishment of any investment. This ensures the success of as many ventures as possible (Aswathappa, 2010).

Unions/Workers

Many workers are now joining national and international labour organisations and workers unions. The high levels of understanding of labour laws and universal human rights by people as envisaged in the international declaration on human rights has empowered many workers and unions to push their employers to address their needs.

The Wealthy / Professionals

The wealthy and the professionals have also benefited from globalisation in the sense that there have been an increasing number of people requiring professional services. The professions which have benefited most include teaching, nursing, social work and technology.

Due to the similarity in the modes of production in many countries, it has become increasingly possible for the above categories of professionals to secure themselves employment in various countries, thus growing wealthier (Aswathappa, 2010).

The Middle Class

The middle class are the people who earn an above average salary or wages. The middle class are also beneficiaries of globalisation in the sense that they are able to access a wide range of lifestyles. They are able to work and study in any part of the world and establish social relationships with ease. They are mostly employees of multinational corporations most of which pay handsomely.

The Working Class

The working class are ranked below the middle class. These are the common citizens of a country or State. Most of them are found working in the formal and informal sectors of the economies of their countries. The working class are mostly the drivers of the economy of the world given that they do the primary production in various fiends like agriculture, mining and construction.

In most cases, this category of people is usually homogenous in terms of ethnicity, gender and age. This is manifested in form of vertical and horizontal segregation in the workplace. These people have nothing to benefit from globalisation because they earn nothing except their labour, which is exploited by the rich for their own benefits (Aswathappa, 2010).

The Unemployed

The unemployed are the people who are not employed or those who are unable to secure employment for themselves. Unemployment may affect those who are educated as well as those who are not. The unemployed are usually many in the developing and undeveloped countries.

This group of people are mostly poor because they are not able to meet their daily basic needs. Many unemployed people have become targets of outlawed sects and organisations like the Al-Shabaab and the al-Qaida, thus creating a world which is filled with the fear of terrorism.

This group of people mostly work against globalisation by targeting citizens of the western countries especially in the developing and the undeveloped world.

The Youth (18 To 25 Year Olds)

Many youths aged between 18 and 25 years have become the targets of globalisation. Most of them usually embrace the social medial technology; especially Facebook, twitter and my space. This has increased the networking of youths in many parts of the world.

However, the same has interfered with what is referred to as social skills because most of the youths rarely interact with their peers physically but rather do so in the space. This has created a generation of youths who are not cultured.

In Terms of Interdependence of Countries

Global warming

The interaction of countries has led to the exploitation of the natural resources in many countries in the developing world. This increased exploitation of natural resources like minerals, land through large scale farming and forests using modern technology has led to the eradication of forests and increased production of greenhouse gases which are known to cause global warming.

This has also led to the politicisation of environmental conservation, with the developed countries being blamed by the developing ones for lack of commitment in cutting the quantities of greenhouse gases or contributing equally to the amount of gas they produce in the mitigation measures of the same (Aswathappa, 2010).

Aging populations

Globalisation has led to improvement in healthcare which has led to increased lifespan especially in the developed world. This has led to an increased number of aged people who are not economically productive.

The availability of contraceptives has reduced the population of young people who are productive for the economies of the developed countries.

In the developing countries, the populations are characterised by many young people and few elderly people. In the Developing world, the youth form the bulk of the population but are not able to contribute towards economic development due to lack of skills and education.

This makes them migrate to other developed countries to do casual jobs which are not preferred by many citizens of the developed countries.

A good example is the United States, whose workforce is composed of big numbers of immigrants, who sometimes make the US citizens lack employment since the employers prefer the immigrants because they are able to accept low wages and work under poor working conditions.

Pandemics

Globalisation has been characterised by increased movement of people across the globe for various reasons like employment, education, seeking for greener pastures, asylum seeking as well as for leisure. This has been made easier by the removal of barriers in the movement of people across the globe.

Although this has impacted positively on many people across the globe, it has been a leading cause of the spread of pandemics like swine flu, bird flu among other communicable diseases. The reason is because many countries do not screen the foreigners entering their country for healthy concerns.

Global financial crises

Economic analysts attribute the current global economic crisis to the extreme integration of the world economy which they say has killed diversity. Many countries are opting at going it alone in social, economic and political undertakings so as to emphasize on autonomy instead of globalisation, which is viewed as being an enemy of cultural, economic and political progress (Aswathappa, 2010).

Global insecurity

Globalisation has led to the easy movement of people across borders. This has been made possible by the international policies which require the abolishment of immigration laws which make it hard for people to move across the globe.

This has led to global terrorism, which is orchestrated by religious extremists posing as genuine immigrants. The September 11 terror attacks on the US are believed to have been planned and executed by illegal immigrants mostly from Mexico. This is because the United States has highly liberalised its immigration laws to make them very friendly for any person to qualify to enter the country.

Conclusion

This assignment was a discussion on the topic of globalisation. It has emerged that globalisation started as early as 1400 but underwent various transformations, which culminated in the current form of globalisation characterised by liberalisation of trade, politics and society.

The key drivers of globalisation are the rich countries, who use it as a tool to propagate their idea of a new world order, which is a set of ideologies aimed at helping them meet their interests at the expense of those of the developed countries.

The idea of globalisations has however been challenged by civil society organisations and grassroots movements. The benefits of globalisation include expansion of economies, creation of wealth and convenience in communication. The side effects of globalisation include pandemics, draught, global warming and aging populations.

Reference List

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