When thinking of how to begin this weeks Travel Log, only one word comes to my mind: thankful. I am thankful for the opportunities I am given, the ones I create and the ability to be an active member of the global community. This sentiment might be partially due to the video The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy or the article “The Global Transformation Reader” or the fact I am able to wake up everyday living what feels like a dream. I’m thankful that I get to be apart of this globalization and contribute, in the small ways that I do.
Specifically, when watching the Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy, the idea that you are given what is provided by your environment struck me. Theses people are given so little to thrive off of and make money that they do it in the only ways provided to them. Their particular way of globalization is through the food chain of clothing distribution—the clothing that you or I toss into the “give away” pile after sitting in our nicely refurbished closets for months on end. Their culture has flourished around this way of life since the beginning of the 1990’s. Many times when I think of Globalization I think of outsourcing and how companies try to make products with a bigger “bang for their buck”. However, there is so much more to globalization than just outsourcing for production purposes, it’s the way that we conduct our lives and influence more than just the global economy but global culture as well.
The people of Africa are given these clothes in which dealers will markup prices 300-400% just in order to make some profit to provide for their families. Often times, that isn’t even enough to sustain a healthy life style. Something that really struck me was the thought that these same people that are struggling and having to miss out on events such as their husband’s funeral because they can’t afford to lose a day’s worth of work, are also the people who built America from the ground up. These people in poverty, not only contributed so a successful nation that wasn’t their own but now allow part of their economy to be at the mercy of this same nation (talk about equal opportunity and human rights!!). Some might be asking, why not just make their own clothes to sell and help grow their own economy? Simple fix except for the fact that the abundance of second hand clothes coming in, there is literally no room for a clothing industry. This is exhibit of globalization poses the question and concern that maybe some are excelling in their economies at the expenses of other economies.
These are the thoughts that open my eyes to how much of an impact I too can have on globalization. Whether it’s every time I donate my clothes, buy new clothes or even take a trip to the grocery store. So many of todays products are grown, made or produced in different places than sold. For example, in my town we have a designated store called the “International Store” that sells products solely produced outside of France. Though, I find it kind of an oxymoron that we come across the world to experience new cultures in all aspects yet fall back on stores such as the international store to go get Lobster Bisque when we crave it. But that’s just one of the many influences of globalization that I am able to be an active participant in.
I am grateful and thankful that I live in such beautiful places, experience so many different things and am able to be apart of the global community. I feel like it not only deepens my knowledge but allows me to experience more than I would if I stayed in Hamden, Connecticut. Despite being a part of the global community even at home in Connecticut as many of my clothes and products I buy are imported, I had little awareness of this at home. Being able to travel and study abroad, I’ve noticed it in everyday activites. Every day I see something different, learn something new and have a different adventure. Even if it’s just noticing different focuses in the classroom than at home or trying a new restaurant.
A perfect example of this is this past Wednesday after class. My friends and I decided for our last month and a half we would start a new tradition, go to the store after class, buy a baguette (of course), various cheeses, spreads, vegetables and a new bottle of wine—always from different places and different kinds—and eat it on the beach. It’s a small contribution we can make towards being apart of the global community and globalization through trying experience new foods and tastes! Again though, how lucky am I to say that this is my new agenda every Wednesday afternoon?