Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Globalization's march

We Are Globalized, But Have No Real Intimacy With the Rest of the World

With globalization, most anticipate an inter-connected world with greater understanding of multiple cultures more than ever before. Author Martin Jacques argues that this assumption is at odds with the tone of globalization, based on a “one-size-fits-all” model of western cultural imperialism. Whereas European colonialism included exporting self-defined values of civilization, it did not strive to refashion other cultures in the image of the West. Underlying globalization, on the other hand, is the belief that the world is moving toward a common culture. What is disturbing for Jacques is that the shift is taken to mean the mass export of US, neo-liberal and mass-consumption values at the expense of traditional mores and standards of other societies. Often, self-proclaimed experts on cultural exchange hold but a mere surface understanding of other cultures that are rapidly becoming receptacles for the transfer of western politics, economic models and lifestyles. In an age of connection facilitated by technology, a lack of respect for difference has emerged. Globalization has produced a worldwide intimacy that is, sadly, coupled with intolerance. Ironically, the non-West continues emerging as a world force. Jacques points out that the current hubris of the West hints that future reactions and conflicts will not be so benign. – YaleGlobal

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