Globalization has increased the mobility of goods, information, communication and technology around the world. It has blended our world into one, making it somewhat difficult for each country to maintain its own sense of identity. Since being abroad, many people have asked me what Australians are like and if I have experienced any culture shock. Truthfully, I have a difficult time answering this question. Due to globalization, I am still able to get my coffees from the Starbucks across the street, eat my favorite brands of food from the grocery store, and shop at Target when I have something to buy. I remember the exact moment when I realized brands and stores in America were not just isolated to there. I was on the bus being brought from the Brisbane Airport to my apartment now on the Gold Coast. As we were driving on the highway, there were multiple “Hungry Jacks” (Burger King), “McDonald’s” and “KFC”. I was shocked they had this all, but assumed fast food chains had already spread all over the globe. What really got me was when we drove by a Mobil gas station that had a 7/11 attached to it. That was the moment I realized how small this world really is.
Being an abroad student and having classes with people from many different countries, it is extremely clear how globalization has hybridized our world. We all wear the same clothes, say the same things and watch the same television shows. Everyone I meet reminds me of people back home in America. On page 242 Robins says, “ … can the meaning of what it means to be British ever again have the old confidence and surety it might once have had?” This quote can be attributed to many other places as well besides just Britain. In the reading, it says how Iran blocked American satellites to avoid being westernized. Europeans believe this “Americanization” that is occurring in our world is a threat to its culture. Personally after traveling to many different places and meeting new people, I have to agree with this. Almost anywhere you go, American brands and stores are everywhere. There is even a nail salon in the mall called “American Nails”. Globalization is not an equal and even thing. As much as our world is Americanized, we do not have every other country bombarding our country with their television, music and ways of life. Referring back to the reading, it is clear America is on the receiving end of globalization, whereas much of the world is imprisoned by it.
Although many places are afraid of becoming Americanized, others rely on it. The video “The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy” shows how civilians in Zambia use our donated clothing in order to make a living. This information completely shocked me. I frequently donate trash bags full of clothing and never thought that clothes I used to wear every day go to children all over the world. This second hand clothing business in Africa has caused globalization through giving these people clothes from America.
The definition of a global community is always a work in progress. Globalization is a huge piece of our global community because it brings our world together as one. This does not mean each country has to lose its own identity in the process, but by creating a blend of cultures makes our world more whole. A global community must also provide support for basic human rights for all. If each country supports one another, then poverty, malnutrition and oppression can hopefully diminish.
I chose this picture of an area I go to frequently on the Gold Coast to portray globalization. This strip has many shops and restaurants that we have back home. This place is called “Surfers Paradise” and is the spot on the Gold Coast every tourist goes to visit. Since this area is so populated, that means so many people are getting a taste of American culture as well as Australian while visiting here.
Robins, K., 2002. Encountering Globalization. In: C. Held & A. McGrew, eds. The Global Transformations Reader. Cambridge: Polity. Ch. 20.