Travelogue 10- Encountering Globalization – Mitchell Trulli Barcelona, Spain

Globalization is the formal interaction of people, from all over the world entangling themselves together. As I am studying and have always been interested in business I look at it through that perspective. The Travels of a T-shirt was very interesting because it dove into lots of specific details as to how the business of the “globalization” or a T-shirt around the world happens. America has had a history of dominating foreign business markets and influencing the world because its past as a superpower. In Barcelona I have seen American influence in almost every street corner. My parents visited Barcelona for the second time (20 years later) with me and they were astounded walking through the streets as they were not dominated by American businesses. Local shops were being taken over by Nike, Adidas, Mcdonald’s, and other large corporations. I see this globalization as great progress in business but also terrible for culture. Globalization business wise destroys authenticity and the unique culture that local shops and businesses add to a community. In the neighborhood that I live in in Barcelona called Gracia there is a big stigma against globalization and especially tourism which could be considered a form of globalization. There are occasionally signs hung up around the balconies which say “Ban the American District” or the Ramblas which is considered the most globalized place of Barcelona, 8/10 people on the Ramblas are tourists. There is a big stigma against tourists and the squatters house we live next to has big skull and cross bone stickers that say ban tourists all over the windows. I believe that being in a big and historic city in Europe comes with its pro’s and con’s and accepting that humans will evolve and popular culture will travel and take over most of the old culture is part of evolution. If we decided to keep every ounce of history and culture in the world there would be no progress, business rules the world and the bigger companies that appear come and swallow up the smaller companies. One additional example of Spain trying to prevent globalization is the banning of Uber. As technology advances and an American startup Uber looks to revolutionize transportation to minimize the number of cars on the road and employ more people easier many countries try to prevent this progress. Spain for one has banned the App in their country and refused to join the global evolution of ride sharing, this fear of becoming globalized prevents countries from progressing. In the near future there will be self driving cars and people will rarely own cars, shared vehicles will be the norm and traffic will be almost non-existent, but if a country deters this progress they will be left behind. When I traveled to France I was able to call an Uber and had an incredible conversation with a driver about his life and what he does and Uber in the US, this reminds me of what Robins said in his story. “dissolve the frontiers and divisions between different cultures” (Robins 242) I was able to take this globalized company and use it to meet someone new and as a talking point to learn more about his life. There are negatives to this business globalization, as one country dominates markets there is a monopoly which is bad for business “During the 200 years in which the United States has dominated this industry, sometimes it was possible to win on the high road and sometimes it wasn’t” (Page 6). The story ends with the T-shirts that were made all around the world being given to a entrepreneur in Africa who sold them to kids across his country. The T-shirt has supplied clothing, and jobs for people but also eliminated culture and spread America’s pop culture across the world, although I believe there is more positive than negative with globalization it will be hard to adjust to.

The picture below shows the incredible amount of American McDonalds that are across the world. McDonalds may stand as Americas flagship restaurant and is the second biggest chain in the world providing millions of Jobs but replacing authentic cultured food of many countries. macdonalds-worldwide

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