There are many factors that influence the development of technologies, fashion, food industry, and other aspects of everyday routine constantly changing the modern world. However, one of the main factors that bring crucial changes to the lives of everybody is globalization. Sometimes people do not realize that the changes caused by globalization inevitably modify their lives. By aiming at removing the barriers between different countries and nations, globalization has changed people’s lifestyles and made all cultures more or less similar to one another. People all around the world drink Brazilian coffee and French wine, watch American movies, eat fast-food and Chinese take-away, visit Italian pizzerias, utilize Japanese electronics, drive German cars, travel to Dominican Republic, use Internet to communicate with friends living miles away, and invest money abroad. All these activities are treated as ordinary routine, although they would not have been possible without the globalization process which we all are involved in. Thus, globalization is a powerful mechanism that results in different cultures starting to dissolve and mix with each other making the world move towards the development of a single global culture.
Analysis of the main trends and consequences of globalization requires having an understanding of its background. Thus, many researchers define globalization as the elimination of borders that separate different countries in the economic, political, social, cultural, and technological spheres. This process has a purpose of encouraging free movement of goods, services, capital, and labor force between countries. Globalization is sometimes called an extreme form of internationalization that leads to liberalization in the international trade as well as movement of the workforce and capitals, due to its removal of certain borders and restrictions.
After being introduced about fifty years ago, the term `globalization` has become involved in every sphere of people’s lives making it impossible to neglect the impact of its powerful force that caused major changes in business, technologies, culture, and other spheres. The most obvious results of globalization are connected to stimulating countries to actively participate in the international economy, build stronger relationships between countries and international businesses, and join international organizations.
Globalization and a global culture
Every person and every business are influenced by the strong force of globalization nowadays. Its impact can be equally noticed in internal operations within a country or a region as well as in international relationship between different countries and their representatives. Positive impact of globalization is enormous in terms of development of the international trade, capital flow, labor force migration, cultural exchange, and international organizations’ activity, etc. Supporters of globalization argue that it is beneficial for the society by developing and spreading technologies, raising living standards, and promoting economic integration amongst countries by exchanging capitals, products, and workforce.
Nevertheless, one of the main consequences of globalization is the way it changes the world and adjusts different cultures to a single standard. This trend is often referred to as a creation of a global culture that is accepted and followed by all the nations in the world. Culture is one of the most important components that allow understanding the impact of globalization on people’s lives, since it enables developing relationship and understanding between people with different background. Our lifestyles, cultural traits, music, food, preferences in clothing, and other routine practices are the main indicators that demonstrate how standardized and global culture has become.
The current state of the global culture development shows that cultural diversity disappears, and cultures of different countries start resembling one another. Some scientists call it a phenomenon of cultural diffusion to explain the process of global standardization of various cultures. People all over the world become a part of this global culture by consuming the same goods, choosing identical styles, listening to the same kinds of popular music, and admiring similar forms of art. They start acting and even thinking in the same way, which is no longer determined by cultural differences or specific characteristics of their countries.
The causes of a global culture development
A number of aspects connected to globalization lead to the development of the global culture. The most influential factors include labor force mobility, the development of technologies, intensification of international relationship such as international trade, capital flow, and international organizations’ activity.
First of all, the increased mobility of the labor force, which became possible with the intensification of global processes, was one of the factors that allowed a quick spread and mixing of different cultures. People who were travelling or migrating from one country to another with a purpose of finding employment inevitably shared the culture of their country and adopted certain aspects of a new culture. Additionally, the international trade was another lever that intensified the spread of various cultures all over the world. Thus, the two factors mentioned above play the crucial role in increasing cultural diffusion.
Moreover, the development of technologies was another factor that contributed to the creation of the global culture. Progress in scientific development that increased as a result of globalization has stimulated countries to exchange their innovations and technologies. Countries have got a possibility to apply international experience and knowledge that maintains technological development and contributes to the formation of a new technology-based culture. These days, people across the globe have a demand for the same mobile phones, computers, and other devices, which demonstrates how similar people’s tastes and preferences have become across various countries due to globalization.
Additionally, the technological boom and information exchange have enabled globalization processes and cultural exchange between different parts of the world. Electronic communication systems like the Internet and telephone as well as the mass media in the form of radio and television contribute to cultural exchange and raises people’s awareness about other cultures. Thus, access to information from all over the world is the most crucial factor enabling the development of global processes and the formation of the global culture.
Positive effects of a global culture
The world moving towards creation of the global culture influenced by globalization can be considered from two different points of view: in terms of the positive and negative results. There are a significant number of positive aspects related to the fact that world countries have developed stronger cooperation with each other and became united with the common global culture. For instance, quite often the world is called a global village, which points out to the idea that it is becoming smaller. It does not imply that physical boundaries have changed, although the way people comprehend them has definitely became different. These days people feel that the world is not so immense anymore due to it being relatively easy to get from one part of the world to another, communicate with someone who is located thousand miles away, and judging by how easy different products can be accessed far away from the country of their origin.
Moreover, the development of information technologies enabling easy communication has led to people perceiving geographical distance in another way. Individuals from all over the world can easily get in touch and share their experience even without a need to be physically close to each other. It contributes to people getting to know more about other cultures and sharing their cultural values. Exchanging cultural experience results in people adopting some features of other cultures. Hence, quite commonly people from different countries do not feel that dissimilar from each other, since they have had similar life experiences, watched the same films, read the same books, may have worked for local branches of the same transnational companies, ate the same food, and so on.
Some researchers claim that globalization imposes certain standards and trends in culture, since it encourages all countries to adopt a certain kind of music, literature, or other forms of art, which is supposed to stop the development of the one’s traditions at certain locations. However, Saldivar argues that globalization encourages the development of art by involving different countries in the process. Hence, popular culture is not passively received by consumers from various countries. In fact, more often than not the main idea of the cultural product received from original sources is adopted by other cultures; it is then transformed and perfected by adding some elements of a local culture. As the result, a whole new cultural product is created on the basis of a few different cultures.
Moreover, the process does not stop at this stage, since newly transformed cultural forms are introduced to the world culture and become popular even in their original sources. Thus, one of the main positive aspects of the global culture is connected to it contributing to the development of new cultural forms such as music, art, and television, etc.
Negative effects of a global culture
The overall effect of globalization is rather contradictory since it has many negative consequences such as causing inequality inside and across the countries, barriers for economic development of poor countries, rise of crime levels in those countries, and harm to the environment. The gap between least-developed and highly-developed countries has risen dramatically due to wealthier countries exploiting poor countries’ resources and facilities. Moreover, the increase of the transnational corporations’ role in the international markets results in small companies being pushed out, and, consequently, unemployment rates skyrocket.
Nevertheless, the development of the global culture is one of the most threatening tendencies caused by globalization. It has certain positive aspects, as it can be seen from the previous chapter, although many critics view it as a tremendously negative process. Globalization is present in every sphere of the economy and people’s lives, which is particularly obvious in the way it changes different cultures. The most noticeable consequence of globalization is the total standardization or universalization that occurs in every country of the modern world. Unfortunately, it results in local customs and traditions, which are unique to certain regions, being wiped away. It is impossible not to notice that nowadays people in all parts of the world tend to have identical fashion for clothes and technical devices, eat similar food, and listen to the same music, etc. This list can be prolonged demonstrating how similar people’s lifestyle and habits have become all around the world. However, the main idea is that cultures in different countries have become more dependent on each other and, therefore, homogeneous.
Furthermore, unique cultural features of some places are lost forever, languages disappear, and people do not mind the fact that things are very similar in the majority of cities and countries. Thus, the society and cultures become standardized, which has started to be a synonym to `global`. However, the changes do not happen randomly; there is a specific direction of universalization – promotion of `Westernization` or `Americanization` of all countries (Scholte 2002). The way people live in the Western countries is commonly accepted as a pattern that others need to follow in order to be developed and modern. The global culture seems to be the only acceptable way of developing all cultures, which requires countries to adopt the same traditions and lifestyles. Hence, cultural uniqueness is not encouraged any longer and is less valued.
There are many examples of culture becoming global. For instance, movies that people watch in different countries are basically the same. Hollywood movies have become the most popular and the most viewed across the globe even though the amount of movies produced in the USA is not higher than those released in Europe or Asia. American movies have become very successful due to the popularization of American culture, which many people all over the world try to follow. Thus, many people mention that the global culture is a threat to the world of cinema in countries other than the USA, since an American movie has now become an etalon?
Furthermore, the media have a crucial impact on involving people from all over the world in a single culture. The media promote mono-cultural education that shapes people’s behavior and preferences mostly on the basis of commercial pressures. The negative aspect of such participation is that the media is often linked to imposing general standards of the new global culture on people that they are supposed to accept and follow. It is incredibly difficult to resist such powerful force as the media which means that it continues to persuade people in accepting the values of a single global culture.
Therefore, there is an obvious tendency of the world acquiring a single culture that is common for every country. The global culture replaces the majority of traditional cultural aspects substituting them with single standards and ideas. The main concept of culture has changed by moving away from old customs and traditions. Nowadays, the lifestyles of people from different countries tend to resemble one another or be completely identical. Everything has become similar, even such cultural aspects as festivities and beliefs in various societies. Cultures have lost their distinctive features which differentiated them and made every culture unique. Hence, the most dreadful result of globalization has been that the world indeed has become a global village where everything is standardized, and uniqueness is not welcome.
Thus, the impact of globalization can be noticed in different sectors of the economy and every-day life. The way the society is influenced by globalization is rather contradictory. On the one hand, the global culture allows people to understand each other better and all countries to develop closer relationship. On the other hand, despite bringing positive changes into the technological and economical spheres, increasing accessibility of different products all over the world, and encouraging an exchange of experience between the representatives of different countries, the development of the global culture is quite often seen as a negative consequence of globalization. The threat of all cultures mixing up together is mainly connected to countries losing their unique features and life becoming identical in every part of the world. Moreover, the changes in the culture are based on `Westernization` of `Americanization` of the society. Thus, it is unfair that the culture of few countries has started to dominate in the rest of countries pushing their local traditions and customs away. The way the world is changing toward global universalization and standardization makes people of all countries a part of the global society, which means that they are restricted by the rules of the new global culture. Hence, the global culture fails to support the main idea of culture which is not to be restricting but to encourage uniqueness, cultural variety, and creativity.