According to Kevin Robins in Encountering Globalization, “Globalization is about growing mobility across frontiers – mobility of goods and commodities, mobility of information and communications products and services, and mobility of people” (Robins 1). With every passing moment, the world is becoming more and more globalized. Even though I have been living in Florence for over two months now, I am still surprised when I come across a chain restaurant or store. It is the weirdest thing to be walking down cute, little roads lined with building that are over two hundred years old then out of nowhere a McDonald’s or Subway pops up. I was not expecting to see this mass amount of chain companies here. With that being said, my feelings toward globalization are mixed.
I come from a small town back in the United States. We have town laws that prohibit big chain companies from trying open a location in my town. We only have local, small business in my town. Surrounding towns do not have this same laws as we do and have a multitude of chains in them. Before I learned more in depth about globalization, I did not think much about this contrast. However, now that I am more aware, it is refreshing to see my small town is trying to stick to it’s roots and not let the globalizing world change our hometown. With that being said, there is still a little comfort in globalization. Over the past two months I have traveled to nine different countries, fourteen different cities, and at every single one I have seen a McDonald’s. Although I am not a huge fan of McDonald’s, there is a little sense of comfort in the fact that I know like some of their food and that they always have WiFi so if all else fails I can use McDonald’s as a last resort. However, not all aspects of globalization are positive.
As I mentioned before, I have become much more aware of globalization and its effects from this module. One example of the negative effects of globalization that I was surprised to learn about was from the T-shirt video. Every year when I do a big clean of my room, I always end up with a few trash bags full of clothes that I end up donating. Honestly, I did not realize that those clothes ever left the United States, let alone that there is an entire industry around selling used clothes. I mean, who could ever imagine that donating clothes could have a negative impact? I soon learned that because selling used clothes became such a big thing people in Africa were actually quitting their jobs just so they could sell used clothes. This put clothing companies that were already in Africa about of business and ultimately slowed down their economy.
Below is a picture of a small town outside of Salzburg, Austria. I traveled to this town, that is nestled away in the Lake District, one weekend. We had to drive across mountains and pass many different lakes in order to get there. However, once we got there I was shocked to see that big chain companies such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola made their way to this town. Then right next to big chains you would be a small, local business. This can be said for many of the places I have traveled too and I think it really portrays just what globalization is.
Robbins, K (n.d.).Encountering Globalization