The Sociological Aspect of a World Economy: Booms and Busts

by Samuel Slaten

Now more than ever our world is seeing an increasingly globalized economy that is connecting nations economically and socially. Many countries view this a lucrative time for expansion and development, while others see it as an undesired nuisance that is stripping them of their own culture. To gain a better understanding of this we are going to examine both of these outlooks and their effect on migrants and local peoples.

Before we can gain understanding of the varying views we must first look at the factor that gives birth to these issues; global cities and international companies. Multinational companies are becoming more and more essential to the job seekers every year and they can be found in most areas of the world regardless of country origin. This is bridging cultures together in ways never seen before. The top 500 companies worldwide originated in 37 different countries with the top 50 of those companies employing upwards of 235 million people (migrants and locals) combined (Rapp). Over the past decade we have witnessed a shift in the location of these companies moving from western countries to the east. North America has seen a drop from 215 leading companies to 146, whereas Asia has seen a rise 116 companies to 172 (Global). With this shift we have seen different cultures spread to many other countries via the initial workforce transferred, investments, and global cities. In this time of transition the world has also witnessed the greatest economical disaster since the world wide depression during the 1930’s. This has pushed the spreading and influence of companies even faster in-order to stay afloat in these turbulent times. This has in turn pushed the speed at which global cities are formed and, as a side-effect, is mixing cultures together faster than they can naturally adapt. Due to this varying views and opinions have been formed dealing with the wave of migrant workers following the corporate transition across the globe.

Next, we will examine one of these previously mentioned views; the boom. The boom is the period of time a global city or area is being formed and when the initial excitement and mixing of cultures occur. Change comes fast to these cities as exemplified in Bangalore India. The city has the highest growth rate in India and the companies that has transferred there have seen at least a 40% growth in the last couple of years alone (Goldman, and Longhofer). Following the companies are various investors and real estate firms, building the malls, roads, airports, new railways, and complexes that transform the cities. To the new migrant works this is a time of exciting change and of exploration. A time when they adapt to a new culture and help create a new one. We are also seeing the possibility of a cyclical effect being formed. Now we are seeing corporations in countries that have traditionally been the receivers of attention from international companies, due to various factors, begin to look to the previous corporate hotspots and begin focusing on their undeveloped areas as potential locations for expansion and growth (Goldman, and Longhofer). This brings up the possibility of, in the future, seeing the cultures that have been exploited begin to shift their cultural aspects to the previous cultural dominate nations where the same problems facing them now begin to appear in the “old” dominate nations. This can already been seen in Europe where a wave of immigration has steadily been in progress for the past decade. Many European countries are raising the same concerns that can be found in Bangalore. They are having an identity crisis and claim that the cultural aspect of their cities and countries are changing politically and socially due to this new immigration wave (Erlanger). Whereas these new citizens and workers are experiencing the boom aspect of this global city phenomenon.

This leads into the next view that exemplifies this cyclical effect and the issues in both “old” and “new” global cities; the bust. The local peoples of cities like Bangalore or in the various concerned nations in Europe are forced to adapt to these new and fast changes and at times they feel like their way of life is being threatened. Their culture is changing as more and more cultures mesh together and values are morphing. Along with this change of culture comes a change in scenery. Many locals re forced to move from their family land to accommodate the new rising industries and infrastructure. This can be seen by the concern of the locals in Bangalore; at one point of 90 thousand concerned citizens marched through the streets protesting the destruction of original buildings and beatifications in order to build the various new infrastructures (Goldman, and Longhofer). This can also be observed in the concerns of Europe where they claim their communities are socially changing from what they are used to and they blame crime and other problems on these observations (Erlanger). This occurs even if no justification for their allegations can be found. This is an issue because it further separates communities and leads to racial and ethnic prejudice. Along with these concerns there is also the problem of the rising number of slums and poor living conditions being forced upon low income locals. Its estimated that in Bangalore anywhere from 25 percent to 45 percent of its original population are living in slum like conditions (Goldman, and Longhofer). Thus, though there is boom in international recognition and investment there is also a bust socially as thousands are forced to move against their will and prejudice is rising. Until these global cities begin to address these issues the gap between the finical classes, living conditions, and ideologies will only continue to grow.

Bibliography

Erlanger, Steven. “Amid Rise of Multiculturalism, Dutch Confront Their Questions of Identity.” New York Times. 13 2011: n. page. Web. 21 Oct. 2012.<http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/world/europe/14dutch.html?pagewanted=all&gt;.

Global 500. 2012. cnn.comWeb. 21 Oct 2012. <http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2012/performers/companies/biggest/&gt;.

Goldman, Michael, and Wesley Longhofer. n. page. Print.

Rapp, Nicolas. A New Perspective of the Corporate World. 2012. cnn.com. Web. 21 Oct 2012. <http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/global500/2012/global-company-growth/iid=smlrr>.

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