Globalization is the process of businesses or other organizations operating on an international scale and gaining international influence. I had known that many fast food chains had become globalized especially McDonalds; however, I had underestimated just how many corporations had followed suit. As I sit outside on my balcony I can see signs for McDonalds, KFC, H&M, and Starbucks. However, if I walked down the block to the mall I would encounter many more globalized brands such as Roxi, Quicksilver, Rip Curl, Ben and Jerry’s, Billabong, to name a few. There is even a Hungry Jacks, which is basically the Australian form of Burger King. By far one of the most confusing aspects is the globalization of a company name yet the content in the store varies on location. For example, a Kmart in Australia is quite similar to a Target in the states, while a Target in Australia is much like a JC Penny at home. I often find myself walking into Target when I meant to go to Kmart or vice versa.
However, after watching the video “The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy” I saw the negative aspects of globalization. My family often donates clothing that we have seen outgrown; however, I never knew such donations ever left the states. The video follows a young man named Luka as he makes his living buying and selling second hand clothing. It was upsetting to me that this young man made his living off of what Americans had discarded as trash. Also, the selling of second hand clothing has grown so popular in Africa and that it has replaced the manufacturing business in the country. Sadly, this takes away so many jobs that could help to restore the poverty of this area.
In the article “Encountering Globalization”, Kevin Robins writes of “McDonaldization” and “Coca-colinization”. These two companies sell products that are terrible for the human body. There has seen been a study concluding that coca cola is just as effective as household toilet cleaner when disinfecting ones toilets. Yet we dump it down our throats and better yet sell it to the entire world to do the same. One of my roommates told me of a video she watched in her nutrition class that described how such companies affect those all around the world. It explained how the Coca Cola Company provided Mexican school children and their families a free or insanely inexpensive supply of coca cola, as clean drinking water is not readily available to these civilians. However, the drink has now become extremely popular in these communities and is often fed to babies instead of milk or formula. I would consider this to be a human rights issue, as these communities are not prepared to deal with the health consequences of over indulgence such as heart disease and diabetes. To make matters worse, they are not even being education on such heath risks.
As a class we defined a global community as all people around the world living by and fighting for similar social values and basic rights. I don’t think this definition needs any changing; however, we may want to add how we should treat members of our global community. Although this may seem like common sense, it was become quite apparent that many do not treat those within our global community with respect. Members of the global community should treat one another with dignity and should help fight to maintain the human rights of all its members. As a study abroad student I have opened my eyes to the extent of globalization. Even though many may see this as a negative aspect I think globalization can also help to bring us together as a global community. Maybe this will cause us not to fail it as we did with the Rwandan genocide. I chose the picture below as to me, globalization and travel have grown to symbolize a way to bring other cultures together.
Robins, K., 2002. Encountering Globalization. In: C. Held & A. McGrew, eds. The Global Transformations Reader. Cambridge: Polity. Ch. 20.
The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Community