Travel Log 10: “Encountering Globalization” By Ashley Moreau, Cork, Ireland.

This week’s movie was very interesting and unlike anything I have ever seen before.In my head, I just assumed that the clothes I donate I usually stay within the U.S. borders. I had never realized that this market was so vast. It’s sad because the people making the money off of this business are the ones who are importing it, and they mark up their product 300 to 400 percent. The locals, like Luka who then buy their bundles of clothes often aren’t even allowed to look at the product before they buy it and have to gamble when buying the clothes. Further, the video discussed with each bundle that they sell in the markets; they barely make enough money to have enough to buy another bundle and save some money. These people are selling the second hand clothes to survive, sometimes trading unsold clothes for fish. It’s sad because nations like Zambia who had to borrow money from the World Bank to expand their industries, education and healthcare are now spiraling downward because of this. With an insurmountable pile of debt owed to other nations and the World Bank, their government has run out of money. The people are then forced to leave school and begin work early to try to support their families. Even so, with no real industries and lack of jobs, many people in this nation lived impoverished. Further, the importation of second hand goods from the U.S. and Europe has taken over their textile market and caused any remaining Zambian textile companies to close. This puts to light one of the large negatives of globalization.

In Kevin Robbins’s article, “Encountering Globalization,” he makes two very important points about the complexities of globalization. The first point that he makes is “globalization may be seen in terms of an accumulation of cultural phenomena where new global elements coexist alongside existing and established local or nation forms.” What he is saying is that the globalization movement has not completely eradicated a nation’s old way of doing things; instead it has added to and blended into new cultural idiosyncrasies within these nations. The second argument that he makes is “ (Globalization’s) complexity and diversity (which make it particularly unamenable to ideal-type categorizations). The processes of global change are multifarious and they are also experienced differentially by all those who confront them” People are quick to define globalization into ideal categories but that doesn’t give an accurate representation of what it is. Robbins’s is so right in saying that everyone confronts with this issue differently. From watching the video, this became especially evident to me. Not all people benefit from globalization the way that we do as Americans. To us, its mean greater access to remote areas of the world by airplane, and a global economy that leads us to need to be more broadly educated. But to developing nations, this may mean that western countries’ economic interests instead of their own can now drive their economies.

As a study abroad student, I am contributing to globalization without even realizing it. When I travel to different countries and while I’m here in Ireland, I am exchanging ideas with people all the time. I’m learning how to be a global citizen and witnessing first hand in different countries how globalization has impacted them. One thing I have noted is that there is not shortage of McDonalds and Burger Kings in every country I have gone to, which is an awful representation of American cuisine. In class we defined the global community, saying, “ it is comprised of all living things who make up communities that are conjoined by the desire to achieve human rights.” I think this a good partial definition of it, but I think that we have to consider that not all countries see the issue of human rights in the same way, just as globalization is seen in different ways depending on what part of the world you are in.

The picture that I choose to include to show my developing awareness of globalization and travel is of two hands touching. The hands are shaded with a map of the globe and I think that it is symbolic of the importance of humanity being connected. Human rights and connection of all humans on earth should always be the forefront of globalization efforts. I think that we loose sight of this easily because powerful nations are greedy and see this movement as an easy way to exploit other nations and make more money for themselves.


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