Throughout my time studying abroad I have encountered some form of globalization everyday, especially because I am studying in a first world country that has trade deals with many other countries. One of the most glaring examples of this is that Switzerland is a part of the Schengen Area which is what allows me to pass from one European country to the next without having my passport stamped. This fits in perfectly with Robins definition of globalization, “Globalization is about mobility across frontiers”. Robins goes on to explain that mobility includes, people, goods, money and ideas. Every time I watch a show on Netflix I am participating in globalization because that show was made in the US and is now being broadcast across the world. Just last night I was eating dinner at a restaurant and was curious about the supposed Tuscan water I was drinking. Although it said it was bottled in Florence, the company that it came from was Nestle Inc. which is one of the largest companies in the world and owns loads of food and drink companies from one country to the next.
Although Robins piece, The Global Transformations Reader is very in favor of globalization, the movie The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy was very anti-globalization. For example, Robins quotes Salman Rushdie who says, “The transformation that comes of new and unexpected combinations of human beings, cultures, ideas, policies, movies, songs; a bit of this and a bit of that is how newness enters the world.” This is a very common idea in today’s world where the blending of cultures and idea is encouraged in order for us to have one global identity rather than many individual identities. In stark contrast to this the movie expresses strong contempt for globalization and this was made abundantly clear in the final part of the movie. The movie cuts from shot to shot of local Zambians saying things like, “Globalization isn’t the solution for Zambia”; “The free market is failing there”; “We need to be more concerned with people than capital”. What this tells me is that Zambia, and other impoverished nations need more help than they need generated revenue. The narrator of the documentary continuously talks about the creditors in Zambia who will likely never get their money back. A possible way to end this problem is through more schooling that will give the people of Zambia and similar countries marketable skills that they can use to generate more revenue for themselves. The problem with this is, as the director mentioned, people cannot expect to get their money back. This is a long process that will take many years and possibly several generations before a population can be seen as self-sustaining. Only then should a country and market like Zambia be concerned with entering fully into globalization because right now they are unable to contribute and are only being taken advantage of. It is interesting to see these two different points being made and while neither one can be faulted they are both applicable to different situations and in the same way people shouldn’t be generalized, neither should markets or countries, they all have different needs.
Referring back to our definition of a global citizen I do think something needs to be added in relation to the book we read and movie we watched. Currently the definition is “All people around the world living by and fighting for similar social values and basic rights…” I think what should be added is, “…with respect to the needs and wants of different cultures and countries.” I think this would help countries like Zambia who do not currently need globalization to function and yet it seems like globalization is being pushed everywhere around the world. Taking out some of the generalization in the definition would help address what is required and where.
-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 Economy