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Grace Choi Issues in Contemporary British Politics and Culture 10/8/11 Is globalization inevitable and is it desirable?

Globalization has become an inevitable part of our lives. We are constantly surrounded by the effects of globalization- whether it is buying an imported product or learning a new language or working for a global company. Especially in cosmopolitan cities such as New York and London, billboard signs in various languages and restaurants of different world cuisines are not unusual sights. However, the question still lies in the desirability of globalization. Because our daily lives are dependent on globalization, we have no choice but to desire globalization. We often identify globalization as the source of the cultural melting pot. Due to factors such as immigration and technological advancements, the world has become a large mixing pot of different ideologies, cultures, ethnicities, and cuisines that originate from nations all over the world. However due to this process of integration, local identities, ideologies, and traditions are often challenged. As speaker Clive Bloom says, National identities and local ideas clash. For cosmopolitan cities like New York and London, it is hard to establish what exactly the national identity is made up of. Like New York, London is the home to many first and second generation immigrants. As of 2010, 12% of United Kingdoms population is foreign-born immigrants according to Bloom. This number is believed to become doubled in the next couple of years due to the unregulated influx of immigrants of the past couple decades. These immigrants bring not only themselves but their local identities with them. It is easier for some ethnic groups to

assimilate into British society due to the similarities of their ideologies and culture with that of the Britishs. Bloom mentioned how one million immigrants from Poland of last year were able to assimilate into British culture by learning to speak English quickly and by absorbing British values. Also, Hindu immigrants ever since the British Raj have integrated into British society fairly quickly and successfully. Like the Hindu immigrants, the Polish immigrants were able to get jobs in the British workforce. So, how do different local cultures thrive in cosmopolitan cities like London? Their success is mostly due to their capability to be resilient to the changes of their time and surroundings. According to Kwame Anthony Appiah in Cosmopolitan Contamination, cultures are subject to change based on the wants and needs of the people. Therefore, a culture shapes itself based on the changes and adaptations that come along with the beginnings and ends of eras. Appiah further mentions, Cultures are made of continuities and changes, and the identity of a society can survive through these changes. To Appiah, even longlived traditions were once innovations-products of change. Along with the economic, social, and cultural aspect of globalization, technology has played a significant role in reinforcing the connection between nations. Globalization and technology is interdependent. The ever growing interaction between nations serves as a catalyst for the production of new technology. Likewise, new technological breakthroughs of this century have played a crucial role in the economic, social, cultural integration of the worlds nations. In the technological aspect, globalization has made things that were deemed impossible 20 years ago, now possible as well as accessible. The Internet has proven to be a breakthrough phenomenon. The Internet has stripped the boundaries of nations to allow the endless flow of information and knowledge. News, media, and ideas that were once local to one area can

become global in a matter of minutes or even seconds due to the power of the Internet. News and media through technological mediums such as television and the Internet has led to a new era of an information revolution as Fareed Zakaria of The Rise of the Rest calls it. Information is at our fingertips 24/7 around the clock. We can receive news and images of a terrorist bombing in a city across the world from us just moments after the incident. However, Zakaria argues that because of the immediacy of the images and the intensity of the 24- hour news cycle, militant terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda have used this to their advantage by using videos to spread terror instead of doing acts of terror. On the latter, the Internet has allowed people from across the globe to connect and share information much quickly. Buyers and sellers of stock markets all over the world are able to track the fluctuations of stock prices within the comforts of their computers and cellphones. Businessmen no longer have to fly across continents to attend conferences and meetings in other countries but can have video conferences. NYU abroad students use software applications such as Skype and Tokbox to communicate with their friends and families back at home. Through the advancements of technology, we can feel much closer to places that are halfway around the globe from us. Technology is imbedded into the very composition of a society. We are always looking for ways to be timely efficient as well as cost efficient- whether it is finding new, faster methods of traveling or discovering efficient methods of production. As long as technology is present, globalization will be present. Due to the search for timely and cost efficient methods, countries like America and Great Britain has resorted to obtaining products through the import and export trading. Because of labor laws present in America and Great Britain, goods and services made within the countries would be far more costly than purchasing the same goods and services from countries like China

and India which do not have strict labor laws in place. Americans and British people are able to fulfill their wants by enjoying goods and services for a cheaper price and the Chinese and Indians are able to expand their mass production of consumer goods through export trading, therefore, creating a boom in their industrial and market economy. However, there are downfalls for both sides. America and Great Britain lose jobs within their countries as they grow increasingly dependent on cheap foreign labor. China and India turn to exploitation (child labor, harsh and unsafe working conditions, long hours, low incomes) of their workers as their main goal is to export as much as they can with the least amount of costs. Nevertheless, the shift of production to rising industrial countries leads to the creation of national identities. As the industrial countries flourish with their export trading boom, creation of new markets, and increase in employment, their economic progress and success leads them to wanting recognition and respect throughout the world. (Zakaria) Globalization is a means to an end for developing countries that were once impoverished to gain their recognition in the world. Through global trade and industry, they are offered a chance to make their countries into leading world economies. Especially for the developing countries, globalization is desirable due the beneficial effects to their expanding political, technological, and social roles in the world.