Globalization and Society

Globalization is a ‘trigger’ for cultural conflict but not an underlying cause highlights and exacerbates tensions among groups.- Jeffrey A. Hart & Aseem Prakash Globalization is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. This process has effects on the environment, on culture, on political systems, on economic development and prosperity, as well on human physical well-being in societies around the world. Anglo-Saxon-style capitalism, the proponent of neo – liberalism, has played the leading role in the spread of globalization.

Thomas Friedman in his book “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” has used the metaphor of the universally admired Lexus car for the force of globalization and the metaphor of ancient olive trees for the force of history and identity. Perhaps in some distant future people would forget what they are. It delivers a double blow to social cohesion by exacerbating conflict over fundamental beliefs regarding social organization and weakening the forces contributing to national debate and deliberation.

There is an alarming concern about threat to culture and loss of national identity with opening up of economies. Friction and clashes occur between the global market and the host society. These are possible because the systems and organizations that constitute societies are inherently different according to the local culture, and they do not easily adapt to globalization, leading to a severe process of selection. This is where the momentum for anti-globalization sentiments begin to gather pace.

Change for many cultures may mean escape from oppressive traditions, bringing new opportunities for individuals to mingle in creative ways. The forward progress of markets which favor the few and marginalize the immense majority of humanity is tearing apart societies and generating new inequalities. Unchecked consumerism and extreme individualism, unleashed by the marketplace, have considerably weakened the influence of the family, the community, churches, associations and even the State on individual citizens. The market has unleashed forces which are devouring its sponsors.

Society tends to consider this institute as criminal, not only because of its conduct, but also because of the way in which the authorities, politicians and the media react to the market. The process of globalization weakens the uniqueness of national ways of living, local cultures and non-capitalist values, but also encourages a convergence of communication and style among diverse people throughout the world. The police, in particular, consider their lifestyle as the precursor to a life of crime. In fact, a confrontational attitude is the most obvious way to encourage them to behave like criminals. The accumulation of wealth in few hands will produce countless victims, among them even the very same privileged individuals who benefit from globalization. The principal enemy of a State of law is globalization. That ideal cannot become a reality as long as the majority of the people are marginalized and impoverished.

In a free regime, certain influences affect domestic economy so powerfully that it becomes difficult to cope with them. Structural unemployment which is a consequence of both the loss of competitiveness of certain sectors of the economy which were formerly protected by almost unassailable tariff or non-tariff barriers and the enormous productivity gains per work unit. The Pew Global Attitudes report, 2007 showed that people in the developed countries such as Britain, France and Italy are losing their enthusiasm towards globalization.

Since it constantly loosens the civic glue that holds society together, can’t we say that social disintegration is the price for economic integration? The primary feature of global consciousness is to reduce perceived social distance among nations and peoples. This involves an understanding that we are all humans sharing a common destiny on a planet with finite resources of air, water, space, and whatever else nature provides for human survival. Our common needs, joys, and sorrows bind us together as the human family and perhaps globalization is totally against it.

Bhumika Sharma
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