Globalization this week was summed up best by Sinclair's opening sentence, "'a key idea by which we understand the transition of human society into the third millenium.'" (p. 65). This weeks readings tied together well, and I am going to give my overall synopsis of it all.
Globalization has been occuring for years now. Telegraphs, fiber optic cables, transatlantic telephone calls, Sputnik, AT&T, computers, satellites, and the internet have all created and contributed to the globalization of the world. Exposure is key, and the more exposure nations, people, individuals can gain, the better. Political agendas, record sales, etc all depend on globalization in some form.
Chapter three in Hanson's book began with a quote from Marshall McLuhan, a scholar who was way ahead of his time. McLuhan believed that the 'medium is the message" and the world would become a "global village." McLuhan's ideas couldn't have been more on the money. Technological advancements, especially dealing with the internet, have connected the globe in some unimaginable ways. From large super computers to minature, hand-held laptops and cellular phones, the internet has created a new media environment. As with anything new, explosive, and expansive regulations must be placed because certain groups will gain power and others' power may be limited. Mergers and acquistions formed due to new regulations against "powerful" monopolies. (i.e. AT&T) The Telecommunications Act of 1996 offered some deregulations that ended up opening the door for cross-media ownership and today's powerful media conglomerates. Chapter three also sheds light on the global media markets of Saudi Arabia (creation of Al Jazeera) Latin America (Televisa, which became Univision), and India (quick conception and availabilty of international television channels).
Then Hanson's chapter five raises questions and discusses globalization in terms of finance, trade, production, and information and communication technologies, etc. Some main points that stood out were how many countries are becoming more dependent on trade as an economic growth. A classic example today is China. In terms of production, outsourcing and offshore production is the trend. Wal-Mart and Nike are epitomic examples. Finance and the global economy is a very relevant to Americans today since we have borrowed tremendous amounts of money from the Chinese government. Other governments also have stocks and bonds invested in our economy as well.
I could discuss globalization and give examples for days based off of the last few readings, but what is important to remember is that for "every reaction there is an equal and opposite and reaction." Globalization offers some positives and negatives for all parties involved. Sinclair suggested that "globalization is a highly relative phenomenon..[because] one man's imagined community is another man's political prison. Especially if he's a woman." (p. 68). For instance, the invention of the internet was priceless. Many cannot imagine a successful world without it. However, a digital divide is relevant to some of India's poorest villages. Media imperialism does connect the world and provide a plethora of advertisements and entertainment; however, some feel that it forces an ideological influence on developing countries because a select few manage what content will be aired.
In the end, we are still faced with the similar questions of how to maintain cultural identities while globalization is inevitably a part of the human society. As time progresses culture becomes more and more mulit-faceted and macro-regional. Is globalization really the key to wealth and knowledge?