by Samuel Slaten
Globalization; it is a term thrown around loosely in today’s societies. However, when people say “globalization,” what do they actually mean? Increasing employment from foreign companies? The spread and mixture of cultures; or could it the growing interdependency between the current nation-states of the world? Well, according to an entry in the Oxford dictionary it is in a general sense, “the increasing worldwide integration of economic, cultural, political, religious, and social systems” (Black, Hashimzade, and Myles). So as one can see the term is very vague. However, due to the growing number of complications caused by this phenomenon (globalization), it is becoming increasingly important to narrow down globalization and focus on each aspect independently so we can address the unique problems each one causes. So how can one separate the positive aspects of globalization from the negative? I believe the solution comes from a popular principle known as the Goldilocks Principle. According to Bill Tierney, the Goldilocks Principle “states that something must fall within certain margins, as opposed to reaching extremes” (Tierney). Thus, in the following paper I will focus on the cultural aspect of globalization and by using the Goldilocks Principle analyze different problems associated with the mixing of cultures.
The first extreme that needs to be balanced is the degree to which cultures are introduced. Instead of replacing whole communities with new foreign strip malls or putting one culture’s products on a lower tier than another, we should slowly mix foreign cultural products with indigenous products. Building a global market which would sell imported goods along side domestic might be good way to for a community grow accustomed to the idea of foreign products without totally removing their own cultural identity. However, if the demand for slower cultural spread is too great, the possibility of censorship or negative stereotypes being implemented is ever present. Thus the idea would be to allow for a steady flow of culture yet at a pace that suits each society’s needs.
However, closely tied with culture are the social norms of a society. These can vary greatly even between regions within a country, let alone countries themselves. Take my own country for example. America has greatly different values just based on the regions one is from. For example, what may be considered normal in the western United States might be viewed entirely different in the southern or northern United States. We can see this with such topics as gun control, abortion, the environment, and much more. So if different regions can differ so greatly about their own country’s cultural norms, how can they be expected to adapt to another country’s cultural influence in the same manner as each other? Thus, I think each region (based on each country) should be balanced according to their rate of acceptation while catering to the needs of the migrant populations, who are helping to speed along this phenomenon of globalization.
However, balancing cultural globalization can at times encroach on the productiveness of the other aspects of globalization, such as the economic and social aspects. So then the problem becomes how do we balance between the difference in ideals between the categories of globalization? The answer is not easy because what might benefit one aspect might hurt another. Thus once again I believe the answer relies on regional-based analysis. Not only can we cater to a region’s cultural needs more efficiently but we can also cater to their economic situations. Just as regions have different social norms such as family values, each region has different social standings and economic situations. We can observe negative impact caused by this in India, where the standard of the economic gains are being standardized based on more prosperous cites like Bangalore while affecting the less developed cities’ cultural standards and self-identity. Here is a good example of different aspects of globalization affecting one another. This happens because instead of basing economic aspirations on the region’s cultural adaptability, people are basing it on the the more prosperous and faster growing regions which usually have a more global population than the other regions, or, in other words, are the less traditional regions.
Thus, in the end I think the best approach to cultural globalization is trying to find a balance between regions and catering to each in a different way.
Black, John, Nigar Hashimzade , and Gareth Myles. “Oxford Index.” http://oxfordindex.oup.com. Web. 23 Dec 2012. <http://oxfordindex.oup.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095855259?rskey=vi9FKm&result=0&q=globalization>.
Tierney, Bill. “21stcenturyscholar.” http://21stcenturyscholar.org. University of Southern California, 25 2012. Web. 23 Dec 2012. <http://21stcenturyscholar.org/2012/07/25/the-goldilocks-principle/>.