Globalization has brought significant advantages in our day-to-day life but has raised certain serious concerns as well
Globalization can be defined as a system of very complex connections among countries. It happens at various levels: economic, social, cultural, etc. Globalization not only influences culture by importing and exporting products, services, etc. but also influences our day-to-day life. It is often argued that globalization has brought significant advantages in our day-to-day life but it will not be odd to add that it has raised certain serious concerns, which need to be dealt with.
Before globalization, there was a gradual change in the cultural transformation and economy. According to Amartya Sen, globalization is not a recent phenomenon initiated by the West, but a cultural and intellectual exchange within all mankind that has been ongoing for ages. So giving the credit of globalization to the West is somehow doing an injustice to the concept of globalization.
How our elders judged globalization? Though it is a lengthy discussion, however, it would not be odd to mention here that for them, it was a two-fold concept. They judged it with both aspects: either positive or negative. However, when we talk to our elders about globalization, firstly they are grateful because they consider globalization as a precious gift that has removed all the hardships they faced in the past. It means that it has resulted in a major shift or transition in the present civilization.
For them, there was no such developed communication system in the past times. People were living in a kind of darkness as compared to the current times. There was no one in the village to read or write a letter. The communication system was not as advanced as it is today. People would have to walk very long on foot, to get any information. As per them, there used to be a single radio (a rare case) for more than one village that used to serve as a source of minimal information to cater to their needs and updates. Villagers used to meet either in the morning or evening to get updates regarding internal as well as external affairs.
Culture too, for them, has gone through a major shift/ transition. Culture, which was once static, has now become a living and dynamic entity. Indeed, the ability to change and adopt one’s culture is an intrinsic part of human survival. The influence and impact of one culture over another is not a new phenomenon, but a historical fact. That is, it has been part of the story of humankind since time immemorial. It’s now the best example that now everyone takes on Western names, wears different clothes, plan their functions differently as compared to the past, even organize their work day totally differently, and celebrates ceremonies as per the new mixed culture. The media and mass communication have also had profound effects on the culture in every country.
The youngsters now listen to music in different languages and of different cultures (English, Korean, Arabic, etc.); they watch international web series. Now in our homes everyone knows/ understands a foreign language: be it English, Chinese, Korean, Arabic, etc. Our mothers now start their day with English, for they use English words for the basic/ necessary items/ commodities such as matches (match box) soyabean oil, dustbin/ trash can, bread, butter, green tea, etc. These are now commonly used words in our homes. If we ask anyone, say, what is the Kashmiri word for matches/matchbox, most probably s/he will hesitate to answer. Though it is a common word, which an uneducated person too uses now, it is originally an English word.
The point to highlight here Is that globalization in a broader sense has taken civilization from their native cradle and has put them in a field filled with vast diversities and competitions that have molded the whole of civilization in one way or other. Despite this, there are certain dilemmas related to the same concept that it has posed threats as well to the indigenous sense.
For example, when we enquire from our elders about the old customs and lifestyle, their reply is that they used to live a simple life. There was no dining table in homes and not any cake ceremony on special occasions. In those days they used homemade and local food items. Now it has changed; people now relish different dishes from different countries. Today a person can taste each and every foodstuff of the whole world while being in his own country. This also results in what sociologists call the “hybrid culture.” But they argue in that era everyone not makes difference because of financial problems, lack of business units, and fewer exports and imports of goods. Now it has changed, everyone is in the race for wealth. And it is the need of the hour to acquire wealth so that they overcome their daily needs, otherwise idle person goes in depression and destruction.
They argue that globalization has made it possible that every disease is cured well and medicine is available at large, while in old days, people used to cure through traditional ways. Take the case of the recent pandemic of Covid-19 which is itself the best example of globalization. It not only spread all over the world (resulting in a pandemic) like globalization, but its vaccine was made using the concept of globalization.
Furthermore, fair sharing of globalization is a must. Globalization deserves fair sharing, protection and reformation. This reminds us of the Nobel laureate and renowned economist, Amartya Sen’s essay “How to judge Globalization”. He talks about the issue that we need to balance the system so that each stratum of our economy and social class gets its fair share. He insisted that we must not focus on the matter that globalization has made the rich richer and the poor poorer. Despite this, we need such kind of institutional reforms at the international, national and local levels so that the poor, who has been exploited since the long past, should get a fair share, that is just for them. So accrediting globalization as a curse or western philosophy and colonial mindset will be detrimental as far as our progress, growth and development are concerned.
It will not be odd to add that globalization must be understood in a moral sense, and the concept must be taught in a broader and flexible perspective.
Globalization in different sectors: Globalization has been an all-round concept that has impacted each and every sector of the economy and every stratum of our society. In the contemporary era, the political social and cultural barrier and physical boundaries have become invisible, and the whole world has become a global village. There are a lot of concerns with the political, social and economical sovereignty of a nation, after being a member of the global village.
After adopting the LPG reforms in the post-1990 era, the Indian market has made it open to all the outsiders who have made efforts to the next level. It has further intensified the competition of our local market with the international which has aggravated our native income. In fact, it has also mechanized our senses with the high technology developed outside.
Studies also suggest that globalization may contribute to income disparity and inequality between the more educated and less educated members of society. This means that unskilled workers may be affected by declining wages, which are under constant pressure from globalization.
As a coin has two sides, and we see only one side at a time, so has globalization both aspects: positive and negative; but the fact remains how the world is going to cope with this concept that is global in nature to make this world more connected, inclusive and better as possible.
Danish Bashir & Fayaz Ahmad are 6th-semester students of Govt Degree College Sogam (Lolab), Kupwara